An Iranian Jew who escaped the country after being persecuted for years and moved to Israel is begging the government to help bring his wife to the Jewish state, fearing her life may be in danger as Turkish authorities prepare to deport her to Iran.
According to a Thursday report by Channel 12 news, Rahamim and his two children moved to Israel about six years ago after experiencing continued persecution that eventually led to Rahamim’s incarceration.
The details of Rahamim’s arrest and the circumstances leading to the incident were not mentioned in the report.
The report only named the man by his first name and blurred out the couple’s faces to protect their privacy.
Unlike Rahamim, who was granted Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return — which recognizes Jews and those with Jewish parents or grandparents — his wife is not eligible for Israeli citizenship as part of the law, and has been denied access.
For years, Rahamim pleaded with Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority to allow his wife to join him and their children in Israel, to no avail. Only recently, the authority began processing their request, according to the report.
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) June 30, 2022
Israel generally allows family reunification for Israeli citizens and their non-Israeli spouses, but places limitations in certain cases when the spouse is from an “enemy state,” such as Syria, Lebanon or Iran. However, even unusual cases may be approved for humanitarian reasons.
The family has occasionally met in Turkey over the past six years, before Rahamim’s wife decided to remain in Turkey, fearing being targeted in her home country since she has an Israeli family.
Earlier this week, she was alerted by Turkish authorities that her visa was set to expire within 10 days, meaning that she might soon be deported back to Iran.
“She’s in danger, real danger,” Rahamim told Channel 12. “If she returns to Iran, I don’t know what will happen to her. As far as the Iranian regime is concerned, there is nothing worse than someone being married to an Israeli citizen,” he argued.
Rahamim’s wife said she was “scared to not be able to see my husband and children anymore.”
“I’m begging Israel to allow me to come and live alongside my children. I will die without them. Please help me,” she pleaded.
The family has hired an attorney to try and help expedite the process of convincing the Immigration Authority that their case is a humanitarian one, in hopes that their request is approved before the woman is deported.
“This is clearly an extraordinary humanitarian case,” said attorney Dor Panek, who specializes in immigration law. “This is the place to exercise some discretion and approve her entry to Israel.”
The Immigration Authority said in a statement: “As is customary, before granting status to foreign spouses, both partners need to be interviewed. In case one of the spouses is abroad, the interview is held simultaneously in Israel and in a relevant Israeli embassy. We will provide an update once the results are in.”