Israel refuses to let Barbra Streisand's cousin make aliyah
Dale Streisand, 57, was reportedly denied new immigrant status on the grounds that his Facebook profile indicated he had been involved in Christian missionary activity in the past.
The Interior Ministry and the Jewish Agency rejected a request from singer Barbra Streisand's cousin to come and live in Israel.
Dale Streisand, 57, was reportedly refused new immigrant status on the grounds that his Facebook profile indicated he had been involved in Christian missionary activity in the past.
Streisand, who is Jewish, lived in the United States until a year ago, when he moved to the Philippines after getting married.
Last August he submitted a request to live in Israel. Streisand told Haaretz he had been thinking about doing so for three years, but his wife is now pregnant and he wanted the baby to be born in Israel.
In November, he was told his application was under consideration but that there was a problem because he had married a citizen of the Philippines. He was then told that there was not any problem with his wife, but that his application had been rejected because he believes that Jesus is the messiah. Evidence of this, they told him, was found on his Facebook profile in the form of a link to a Christian missionary website.
Streisand said the Jewish Agency wrote him in an e-mail telling him it respected his right to hold any religious belief he choses, but that his request would have to be relayed to the Interior Ministry.
Streisand said he did not know how the link appeared on his Facebook page. He said he has also deleted his entire Facebook profile, including the links in question. He created a new profile, in which the Israeli flag served as his primary profile photo and he lists Chabad of the Philippines and the right-wing settler radio station Arutz Sheva among his Facebook friends.
His previous Facebook page, he claims, was taken out of context. He explained to Haaretz that one of his friends had sent him a link titled "Click if you love Jesus," and that there were a few other things from his past that were found, but they had no connection to who he is today.
He said he is a Jew and has a right to live in Israel.
Streisand also told Haaretz that he is a newly Orthodox Jew, is studying Torah and that he wants to live in Israel and raise his children here.
He also cited the reputation of his famous cousin, iconic singer Barbra Streisand, and her proud identification with Judaism and contributions to philanthropic causes in Israel.
However, earlier this week Dale Streisand said he received a laconic letter from the Jewish Agency saying the Interior Ministry had concluded that he is not entitled to immigrate to Israel.
According to the Law of Return, the interior minister may deny a Jewish person the right to immigrate if they have a criminal record, endanger public health or state security, or if they "work against the Jewish people." The High Court of Justice has in the past upheld the decision not to grant immigrant status to a Jewish person who has been proven to have converted.
The Jewish Agency released a statement saying the Interior Ministry determines individuals' right to immigrate according to the Law of Return.
"The Jewish Agency, which assists the Interior Ministry in examining the right to immigrate, referred Mr. Streisand to a meeting with representatives of the Interior Ministry, who were not persuaded that he bears the right to immigrate," the agency said. "It was never claimed that Mr. Streisand is not a Jew by birth. Obviously, an individual's relationship with Christians does not revoke his right to immigrate."
The Interior Ministry issued the following response: "The Jewish Agency has been authorized by the Interior Ministry to approve immigration requests for those who claim they have the right to immigrate and can prove it. Only in cases where the Jewish Agency encounters issues that it cannot solve on its own, are the documents and the agency's recommendation transfered to the Population and Immigration Authority. We then make the decision based on that information."
The ministry added that the right to immigrate is determined by Israel's Law of Return.