After a nearly three-year battle for citizenship, Renate Kaufman (previously referred to as Rose Keller), a Holocaust Survivor who was unlawfully denied aliyah on the basis of holding Messianic Jewish beliefs, received some exciting news last week. The Ministry of Interior has granted her permanent residency with citizenship to follow!
The remarkable victory came less than 24 hours after the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) strategically turned to the media in an attempt to avoid a potentially long and tedious Supreme Court battle. Her unique story and fight for citizenship, including a personal interview via video conference, was aired during primetime on Channel 2 News, Israel’s leading news program (although in Hebrew, there are parts in English). The newscast opens by describing Renate Kaufman’s desire to return to Israel for the remaining years of her life and the Ministry of Interior and Jewish Agency’s refusal to grant her this right due to her faith.
In the broadcast over video conference from her home in the United States, Renate Kaufman, age 75, said “I am a Holocaust Survivor, and Ben Gurion said that every Holocaust Survivor has the right to claim Israel as their homeland and that’s what I want to do.” She further explained how she survived the Holocaust by being hidden for two years in a house in southern Germany, which belonged to a family aquaintance. Her father sadly, was murdered in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) Concentration Camp. Adv. Michael Decker, JIJ's chief counsel, remarked, "Her father was Jewish enough to be murdered by the Nazis yet, he is not Jewish enough for the Ministry of Interior here in Israel."
Less than 24 hours later, Channel 2 News received a letter from the Ministry of Interior stating that although Kaufman still resides in the United States, they are granting her permanent residency through which she can directly apply for citizenship. The fact that the Ministry of Interior immediately responded indicates that the story elicited such a public outcry, that it placed immense pressure on the government to grant justice on her behalf.
This is certainly a tremendous success and victory for Renate Kaufman and the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. We want to thank you for choosing to partner with Renate and JIJ to bring about this remarkable breakthrough. With your continued support, these victories will only increase.