Tuesday, December 19

Eight "ghosts", alive but not well, in Jaffa

Eight small children grow up in Jaffa, although they do not really exist on paper. Eight minor children, all of them hungry & without medical insurance! Eight small children not attending school in any normal way. Eight children who "do not really exist", as far as Israeli burocracy is concerned.

R. was born and raised in East Jerusalem. She always had a blue ID card as many other East Jerusalem Muslim residents, implying she is a resident of the state of Israel, not a citizen.
She married D. and for about 3 years after her marriage she lived with him in Bir Zeit (West Bank) where her 2 oldest children, 2 girls now 15 and 13 years old, were born.
After about 3 years the family moved back to Jerusalem, where 5 more children were born.
For a strange reason, the Ministry of the Interior cancelled her residency permit, but she has no other citizenship or residency, as R is Jerusalem born.
The two oldest girls were registered in the father's West Bank ID.
The other children were NEVER EVER registered anywhere.

Her husband assisted the Israeli security forces in some way or other, and as a result the family's home in East Jerusalem was torched. After a lengthy legal battle, D, R's husband, was given a status as "threatened" person and allowed to settle and work in Jaffa. D. was abusive and after another small girl was born (now 4 months old), D and R divorced. In the divorce agreement (made by the Jerusalem Sharia Court) D does NOT have to pay any alimony for all of his small children who are all left in the care of R.
R lives illegally in Jaffa. But then, she's illegal anywhere in the world, as the only residency she has, that of Jerusalem, her place of birth, was cancelled.
Her younger children have never been registered anywhere as she had no money to pay the hospital costs when they were born. Only the small baby has a sort of release letter from the Bat Yam Wolfson Hospital, where she was born.
The other children "just do not exist" ,anywhere, on paper. They have no ID numbers and as a result no registration, no health fund, nothing.
The Israel Ministry of the Interior is simply not answering her requests. The strange thing is that her residency was cancelled in an illegal way, because she never lived for a long period in the Occupied Territories. But as she is waiting for their answer, for a long time now, there is nothiong she can legally do.
Since her divorce, she has no income what so ever.
The family tries to live on hand outs.
Only the oldest three children have managed to go to school, where they do not officially attend.
At school, in addition to education, they receive food.
Often there is no baby formula, so the little 4 month old girl is fed things unsuitable for her age. Some friends of mine have been donating cans of Materna Formula and toys, but it's not a solution. Doctors for Human Rights will start providing medical assistance to the family.
But the simple question remains: how on earth can there be 8 children in Israel, who simply do not "exist".

One woman, 8 young children, hunger, illness and distress.
Jaffa 2006


Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking story Yedit and thanks for highlighting it.

To recap:R is a divorced woman with 8 children.She is a Palestinian and not an Israeli citizen with no blue card living illegally in Jaffa.R lived in Bir Zeit (West Bank) where her 2 oldest children were born.

Since she is not an Israeli citizen nor does she classify herself as Israeli ,the solution is for her to go back to West Bank and find work there or apply there for UNRWA help.The UNRWA has a budget of over $330 million-a-year .

However attractive it is for non-citizens to come live in Israel,the bottom line is that R is not Israeli and she is illegally staying in Jaffa.Look what Egypt did to the Sudanese migrants in Cairo:


But then Israel is a moral and kindhearted society

Btw... isn't it normal in Arab society for the extended family or clan to help out when there's a problem??

yudit said...

Not only inhumane, but leggaly you 're in the wrong as well.
She was born in Jerusalem, lived all her life (except for 2 years) in Jerusalem.
Even by Israeli law, she is a Jerusalem resident (her residency would have expired after she had lived 7 years in the West Bank)but by mistake (perhaps not naive) it was cancelled after 2 years. As she is NOT a resident of the West Bank UNWRA would NOT recognize her.
So first of all, your grasp of ISRAELI law appears to be rather incorrect. As she is by ISRAELI standards and law a Jerusalem resident, she can and may legally anywhere in the country.
the same goes for 6 of her children, whowere all born inside Jerusalem or in Bat Yam.
Due to insensitive burocracy, she and her young children are stuck.

By Israeli law also any minor in the country is under the law for protection of minors and the education law.

As tothe comparison with Egypt, well do you really think that's a standard?

ee said...

Nothing changes, because the priorities are fucked. In Givatayim, municipality elections in a week or so. One of the candidates was some big shot in the army. OK, fair enough, but that's his ticket to ride. Vote for me, 'cause I've brass on my shoulder. Keep your shoulder, Sir.
/end rant.