A Tel Aviv District Court judge issued a ruling Monday directing Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority to give Ukrainian refugees who are ruled ineligible to stay in Israel 48 hours to appeal the decision.
District Court Judge Michal Agmon-Gonen, whose ruling is effective immediately, also took the Population Authority to task in the harshest terms for what she claimed was an attempt by the agency to avoid judicial oversight.
This was the first decision of its kind since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The case was appealed to the district court after the Population Authority refused to allow entry to a boy, 14, and his sister, 18, whose mother is in Israel illegally.
Last week the district court judge issued an interim order in the case, in which she was critical of the immigration magistrate at the Population Authority for ordering the siblings expelled without holding a hearing in the presence of either side in the case, without hearing the Population Authority’s argument in favor of expulsion and without appointing a guardian to represent the boy’s interests.
At Monday’s hearing, Agmon-Gonen halted any attempt to expel the siblings until their case is heard on its merits. In appealing their case to the district court, the legal counsel for the siblings also cited data reported by Haaretz showing that many of those facing deportation proceedings are unaware that they have the right to appeal the decision or to file a request for asylum in Israel. In some cases, they have also been deprived of access to legal counsel.
Agmon-Gonen ordered the Population Authority to inform Ukrainians subject to expulsion of their right to legal counsel and their right to appeal. According to the court order, written notice is to be provided to them in both Ukrainian and Russian.
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The judge concluded her decision with a quote from the Book of Exodus and, referring to next month’s Passover celebration, noted: “If we would only remember the commandment regarding treatment of the oppressed on the Passover holiday, the festival of freedom.”