UK man decries ‘filthy’ tampering after Israel rubbed out on baby’s birth certificate

Father says Home Office worker should be fired and banned from handing sensitive documents after he received daughter’s certificate with his country of birth scribbled over

Screen capture from video of Israel Weinberger, a Jewish man in London whose daughter's birth certificate was defaced to remove a reference to the State of Israel, during an interview with Sky News, February 20, 2024. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of Israel Weinberger, a Jewish man in London whose daughter's birth certificate was defaced to remove a reference to the State of Israel, during an interview with Sky News, February 20, 2024. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A Jewish man living in London has described the moment when he received his UK-born six-month-old daughter’s birth certificate partially ripped and with the word “Israel,” his own birthplace, blotted out.

Israel Weinberger, a married engineer father of three from Edgware in north London, told Sky News on Tuesday it was “horrendous.”

He said it appeared a Home Office employee decided to act out “his filthy thought… maybe he thought revenge or something.”

“I don’t think my five-month-old baby did anything wrong to anybody,” Israel said. “I felt horrendous when I saw it for the first time. It took me a few more times to look at that and just understand what’s going on.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly has promised “appropriate action” in the matter.

Weinberger applied for the birth certificate two weeks earlier but when the document arrived, he found it defaced, with his birthplace “Israel” scribbled out with a pen. The document, which was also torn, making it invalid, showed his daughter was born in London.

Jewish UK parents receive child’s birth certificate torn, with ‘Israel’ scribbled out as the father’s birthplace, February 20, 2024 (Screenshot X; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

“My baby is five months old. What does it have to do with where her father was born? This is horrendous,” Weinberger told Sky News.

“This person immediately needs to be sacked,” he continued, while calling for the government worker to be barred from handling “sensitive documents.”

The incident comes amid a worrying rise in British antisemitism following the Palestinian terror group Hamas’s brutal October 7 onslaught on Israel and the ensuing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, the Community Security Trust, an Anglo-Jewish security advisory body, published a report that said the number of antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2023 had more than doubled since 2022. Speaking in the House of Commons Monday, Policing Minister Chris Philip called the report “deeply disturbing reading.”

Weinberger said that antisemitism has changed “big time, it’s like a sharp rise,” since the war started.

He noted that he wears a kippah on his head and that when he walks in the street and people see it, they tell him “Free Palestine.”

“What does that have to do with my religion?” he said. “I’m not going to any Muslim in the street and telling him, ‘I have a problem with you because of what happened on October 7.’ No, because I know not everyone is the same.”

The incident of the ruined birth certificate gained headlines after it was reported on social media by the Anglo-Jewish organization Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) in an X post on Monday, with a picture of the defaced document.

“We are asking the Home Office to investigate how this happened. The Home Office has responsibility for law enforcement and the security of the Jewish community,” the CAA wrote.

Cleverly, the home secretary, replied to the post two hours later, saying, “I have asked my officials to investigate this urgently and will see that appropriate action is taken.” Minister of Security Tom Tugendhat seconded Cleverly an hour later in a separate exchange on the social media platform.

Weinberger praised Cleverly for his “very swift” response, saying it gave him “hope” but that he still fears for the future of British Jewry.

“The situation here is not good,” he told Sky. “To be Jewish in the UK is very hard. And it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse and worse. I think my daughter, in 20 years, that’s her future, because London is not London anymore, and I literally feel unsafe.”

“You can debate if what Israel is doing is legitimate or not,” he said. “But firstly you cannot debate if Israel is legitimate as a state or not. Scribbling it out is like saying, ‘No, I’m not legitimate.'”

Support in the UK for the Palestinians in the war, Weinberger said, is fueled by antisemitism. “It’s not been driven by a special feeling for the Palestinian people. No, this is antisemitism.”

Referring to the weekly anti-Israel rallies in the British capital since October 7, he pointed to the dearth of similar protests against other humanitarian situations around the world.

“When the Jewish people are involved, everything has changed,” he said.

At a protest rally Saturday, an exiled Iranian protester was attacked when he held up an anti-Hamas placard, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

The crowd in central London pelted Niyak Ghorbani, 37, with bottles, sticks, and clods of earth, the report said.

Police who intervened forcibly removed Ghorbani from the scene with video of the incident shared on social media.

The placard Ghorbani held up asked, “Do you agree; Hamas is terrorist organisation, yes or yes?”

Britain has designated Hamas a terror group.

“I protested because the people of Iran have suffered for years from Hamas and similar terrorist groups,” Ghorbani told the Daily Mail.

He warned that the UK is in “serious danger” if police permit Hamas sympathizers to rally, but prevent him from protesting against it.

“The police should justify their use of force. What I wrote on the placard is a fact and accords with the law in England, yet the police violently confiscated my placard,” he said.

A Met Police spokesperson said the force had reviewed bodycam video of the incident and that officers had a priority to “de-escalate the situation to keep everyone safe.”

“The most proportionate way to do that was to ask the man to move away from the protest,” police said and noted officers used “minimal force.”

“While the wording on the man’s sign was an accurate reflection of the law in relation to Hamas, it was also apparent he was there to provoke a reaction from the passing crowd,” the spokesperson noted.

Police arrested 12 people during other scuffles at the rally.

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