Israel Bars Entry to British Woman Visiting Her Partner, a Somali Asylum Seeker

The London resident claims that she has no intention of settling in Israel, but the Population Authority said she told airport personnel she plans to remain in the country

Passport control at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Eyal Toueg

Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority is preventing a British woman who landed in Israel on Wednesday to visit her domestic partner from entering the country, Haaretz has learned.

The Population and Immigration Authority said she was denied entry because she told airport personnel that she intended to remain in Israel and live with her partner, an asylum seeker from Somalia. For her part, the woman, Faiza Amin Mohammed, said she has not been given an explanation for being denied entry into Israel over the past two days, during which she has remained at Ben-Gurion International Airport. She denied any intention to remain in the country.

Faiza Amin Mohammed

On Thursday, staff from the Population Authority, which is part of the Interior Ministry, tried unsuccessfully to put Mohammed on a flight back to Britain, efforts that she claimed included the use of force. A London resident who works in the hospitality and event sector, Mohammed is seeking to appeal the authority's decision but said she has not been allowed to meet with her lawyer, Asaf Weitzen.

She claimed that her intention was to pay a short visit to Israel to spend time with her partner and told Haaretz that she has no interest in living in Israel. She has been a British citizen for 20 years and has a business and children in England, she said.

Mohammed recounted that she met her partner in Somalia 20 years ago and reconnected with him about a year ago, and said their intention is to submit an asylum request for her partner in Britain. She noted that this is her second visit to Israel this year, having arrived in January and having left two weeks ago to tend to work obligations even though she had a three-month tourist visa.

“Indifference, racism and stupidity led to an offensive decision in my client’s case,” Weitzen said. “The Interior Ministry is showing contempt for the law, and not for the first time, and the ones who are suffering are those whose only sin is their Somali origin and the color of their skin. It’s no longer surprising, but it's still sad to rediscover what Israel has become.”

The Immigration Authority said in response: “The passenger landed in Israel two weeks after she had left, with the intention of living her with her partner, according to her. An examination of the facts revealed that her partner is a foreigner residing in Israel and no organized invitation was arranged [for Mohammed], as procedure requires. Under questioning, it turned out that she intends to settle in Israel even though she arrived with a tourist visa. Given all this, in addition to other facts, it was decided to refuse entry to Ms. Faiza Amin Mohammed.”