Israeli citizens or residents with foreign or Palestinians partners are entitled to request that the Ministry of Interior grant their partners a visa (or permit) that will allow them to reside with them legally in Israel legally. These visas or permits are granted in accordance with the procedures of the Ministry of Interior and subject to the Ministry being convinced that the relationship between the two partners is sincere and genuine, and also that the center of the partners' common livelihood is indeed within Israel. Provided that these conditions continue to be met, the foreign or Palestinian partner can continue to hold a visa or a permit allowing them to remain in Israel.
But what happens when the relationship ends due to domestic violence or at the initiative of the Israeli partner? In general, in such a case, as also in the case of the Israeli partner's death, seeing as the the original terms that allowed the issuance of the visa in Israel have "expired", the foreign or Palestinian partner is then required to return to his/her homeland. However, according to the directives of the Ministry of Interior, there are some cases in which the foreign or Palestinian partner may request to remain within Israel, despite the termination of the relationship:
1. If the couple has common children who reside with them in Israel, and the foreign partner has remained in Israel with a visa for at least one year, and the allegation of violence has been demonstrated under one of the recognized methods detailed under the directive.
2. If the couple did not have any common children, but the foreign partner resided in Israel with a visa for more than half of the so-called "gradual process" period, and the allegation of violence has been demonstrated under one of the recognized methods detailed under the directive.
The purpose of this directive is to prevent harm to the foreign partner who has already relocated the center of his/her livelihood to Israel and suffered violence from his/her partner, from now being compelled to return to his/her homeland against his/her will. In addition, the purpose of the directive is also to prevent a situation in which foreign partners, especially women, will be discouraged from lodging complaints of violence against their Israeli spouses, out of fear that their visa will be revoked. Otherwise, these women might continue to fall victim to a violent and a harmful relationship, simply because it is this relationship that makes their life in Israel possible. As the Israeli Supreme Court stated, the concern is that:
"These victims, or at least some of them, will choose, or perhaps will be forced, to bear their suffering in silence, and remain in a destructive and abusive relationship for fear that its termination will also be the termination of their stay in the State of Israel." (BRM 7938/17 Plonit v. the Ministry of Interior (September 13, 2018)
It is important to know that under the appropriate cases, it is the duty of the relevant Immigration Authority bureau to assign the matter to the review of a special committee, and it cannot consider itself compliant by simply instructing the foreign partner himself/herself to submit an application to the committee. Also, even if the committee should reject the request, a petition can be submitted to the court challenging its decision.
If you are residing legally in Israel and have been separated from your partner as a result of domestic violence (God forbid), something can be done! Contact our office today and we will be happy to assist you in resolving your legal status in Israel.