Israel is seeking to revoke the citizenship of a Ukrainian-Israeli whom it claims forged his mother’s birth certificate.
Boris Redko, who made aliyah in 1995 from Ukraine with his daughter, was granted citizenship under the Law of Return – based on the Jewishness of his mother as the birth certificate he presented revealed.
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Before Redko entered Israel, he declared that he was aware that his immigrant status could be annulled if it turned out that it was given under false pretenses. However, Redko told Haaretz that all the documents he presented are real and that there had been a mistake.
In 2014, Redko asked the Interior Ministry to allow his wife to come to Israel from Ukraine. Two years later, the Ukrainian government sent Israel documents revealing that the papers Redko had submitted as part of his aliyah request do not match the Ukrainian records and that his mother was not Jewish.
The ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority therefore turned down his request, and recommended revoking his citizenship, arguing that the document he submitted had been forged.
In its request to revoke Redko’s citizenship, the state prosecutor’s representative told the Be’er Sheva District Court: “During examination of the relationship of his new marriage [as part of] the request for a gradual process [of citizenship] of his wife, Tatiana Redko, a suspicion emerged that Mr. Redko’s immigration to Israel had been under false pretenses, and he had presented forged documents. The reconstructed birth certificate of the respondent’s mother was sent for testing abroad and was found to be false.”
In an interview in the Population and Immigration Authority, Redko claimed that his mother and his grandmother on his mother’s side were Jewish and that they were in Ukraine and did want to move to Israel. Redko said the papers he submitted were not forged, and he would go to court to prove they were real.
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Following the interview, the Population and Immigration Authority changed his status from “Jewish” to “non-Jewish.” Redko refused to sign that he agreed to the change.
In 2018, the advisory committee to then-Interior Minister Arye Dery recommended revoking Redko’s citizenship and for two years the prosecution investigated whether this could be done. After the investigation was complete, it was decided last year to move ahead with the revocation of citizenship of a number of people charged with fraud in obtaining citizenship, including Redko.