Two Cubans who immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return have had their citizenship revoked, with authorities claiming a mistake in their paperwork.
Anna Salomon was raised as a Jew in Cuba, with her family attending a Havana synagogue, she told Channel 12 news in a report broadcast Thursday.
In 2017 she visited Israel as a tourist and applied for immigration under the Law of Return, which grants citizenship to people with at least one Jewish grandparent. She provided authorities with notarized documents showing that her grandfather was Jewish and had been born in Israel in 1945.
Her three nephews had immigrated to Israel seven years earlier, settling in Beersheba.
She received approval from authorities to immigrate within a year and moved to Israel with her husband, Jorge. The couple received standard blue Israeli identification cards, registered for health care and national insurance, opened bank accounts and started working
Three months after they entered the country they received a letter from the Population and Immigration Authority revoking their status.
“On the same day that we were supposed to start language school, they told us that our immigration documents had been canceled, that we didn’t have the right,” Salomon said.
The Population and Immigration Authority told the couple that there had been a mistake, that the documents they had provided to authorities were not acceptable for immigration, and that they needed to return the identification cards they had received months before.
“Everything was done according to the law. To be told today that tomorrow I don’t have the right to live in the country, it’s really hard,” Salomon said.
Shortly thereafter, the couple was arrested and detained for 52 days.
Salomon’s nephews, who trace their Jewish ancestry through the same grandfather, remain in Israel and have had no problems with their citizenship.
“Even if the Interior Ministry says there’s a mistake, and we doubt there was, it would need to call them in for a meeting, to give them an explanation, and ask for evidence. Not just one-sidedly arrest them for deportation,” said Tomer Warsha, Salomon’s lawyer.
The couple petitioned their district court to reverse the decision and allow them to remain in the country as Israelis with Salomon’s relatives.
The Population and Immigration Authority said in response to the report that “due to misinformation, the couple was granted immigrant status. As a result, the couple was asked to return their identification cards, which they refused to do. They continued to stay in Israel without status, and after some time were arrested following an illegal stay.”