According to the Israeli Law of Return, the Jewish people, Jewish children, Jewish grandchildren, Jewish spouses, and Jewish widowers/widows have the right to repatriate (immigrate) to Israel and automatically receive Israeli citizenship as a result. Difficulties arise when a person is aware of his/her Jewish roots, but cannot document it. To prove a Jewish origin, it is usually necessary to submit original documents stating that you or your relatives are Jews. First of all, the birth certificate of the applicant for repatriation (also ”Aliyah”), the marriage certificate of the parents and other documents as the case may be. Israeli consular agencies are very strict regarding documentary evidence of the relationship. They may require clarification and more substantial evidence of Jewishness or relationship and usually do not allow resubmission of the documents.
If your documents did not convince the officials of your Jewish roots and you were denied to immigrate to Israel, do not despair as you have a way out to prove you are a Jew via a DNA test. This is not a popular myth about the “Jewish gene.” The possibility of repatriation to Israel based on the DNA test suggests that the applicant for Aliyah has Jewish relatives who are already citizens of Israel.
The father became a citizen of Israel in 1991, but his son remained in one of the former republics of the USSR. Later the son had a need to be closer to his aging father and decided to move to Israel. But the son experienced some issues to prove his Jewish roots because he was born at a time when his parents were officially divorced. In the former USSR, the practice was used quite often to receive two apartments and other benefits. Indeed, no one could even imagine then that in the future it would have any consequences, for example, create obstacles for the children of Jews in matters of repatriation to Israel. The fact is that, according to the Israeli law, a child born out of wedlock cannot be considered a child by law, despite being acknowledged by his father at birth. But the situation is not hopeless. One can use the proof of family roots via a DNA test. Legally, this is a complex and multi-stage case which is not possible without accompanying a lawyer on citizenship specializing in this field. An experienced lawyer will avoid procedural errors and prevent from delaying the stages or spending extra money. This procedure is officially issued as filing a claim against the Attorney General. The plaintiffs are relatives, for example, father and his son, who request to confirm their blood ties, and the defendant is the Attorney General of Israel. The only authority that considers such claims is the Family Court in Tel Aviv. Its jurisdiction comes into force at the moment when one of the plaintiffs is not an Israeli citizen.
In general terms, the procedure of proving Jewishness based on a DNA test is as follows: an Israeli citizen issues a special power of attorney to his lawyer. In parallel, his relative, who is applying for repatriation, appeals to the notary at the place of residence and issues a power of attorney to the same Israeli lawyer. This power of attorney, birth certificate and other necessary documents are sent to Israel by a special courier. All accompanying documents such as birth, marriage, divorce, and other certificates are translated into Hebrew. The lawyer prepares declarations of the plaintiffs that are signed by a citizen of Israel in the presence of the lawyer, and by a citizen of another country in the Israeli embassy in his country of residence. After the plaintiffs file the claim, the Attorney General has 30 days to file a response to the claim. Normally, if the minimum confirmed documentary blood relationship of the plaintiffs is declared, the Attorney General does not oppose the progress of the case. In this case, he responds to the claim that he has no objection to the DNA verification of the blood relationship of these people. The court issues an order for the DNA test.
N.B. It should be noted that in this case the DNA test should be only carried out by the laboratories accredited by the Family Court. The results of the DNA tests of other laboratories, especially those carried out before the relevant court decision and outside the procedure adopted and described below by Israeli law, are not recognized. In other words, you cannot come with your ready DNA test and give it to the court. Approximately within 30 working days after the court order to conduct a DNA test, materials are taken for analysis. The first analysis is assigned to an Israeli citizen. He arrives at the selected laboratory and undergoes the necessary procedures for this. He must have an identity card and court order (issued to the client by a lawyer). One of the quickest, most effective and pleasant for carrying out such DNA tests laboratories is the laboratory at Tel Hashomer Hospital (in Tel-Aviv). That’s where we try to carry out DNA tests for our clients. The cost of a DNA test for confirmation of paternity is about 4.5 thousand shekels and, according to the technological requirements of the laboratory, includes the verification of three persons. In this case, they are the father being a citizen of Israel, his son being a citizen of the former Soviet republic and the mother (if she is alive). To confirm other family ties via a DNA test, the cost of the test and the list of relatives tested may vary. Sampling for the DNA test is absolutely painless and does not require any prior preparation. As soon as an Israeli citizen has his samples taken, a special diplomatic package is sent to the consulate of the country where his child lives. It usually takes about 10-15 business days for the package to arrive at the consulate. After receiving the package, the local consulate contacts the child and his mother for getting their samples to be tested. At the embassy, special equipment sent by the Israeli laboratory is used for sampling. Samples of the child and the mother are sent to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and they then send the package to the laboratory. It takes about 10-15 business days for the package to return to Israel as well. In the laboratory, a comparative analysis is performed based on all collected samples. The results of this analysis are sent by special mail directly to the court. The DNA test results are not analyzed in court. In fact, the results are a verdict. The decision of the court will have the following wording: on the basis of the DNA test results, the relationship of the plaintiffs has been confirmed. The original verdict is sent to the child of an Israeli citizen, and already with this document, he goes to the embassy and this document gives him the right to repatriate.
The cost of a lawyer accompanying this procedure is estimated from 8 to 10 thousand shekels, depending on the complexity of the case. The proof of Jewishness based on a DNA test does not necessarily require the relation “parent-child.” This test can be conducted for any relative, including the deceased. Such a procedure is more complicated and expensive to implement and involves exhumation. If you are planning such a case, we recommend you to contact a lawyer, state the essence and, through a lawyer, consult with laboratories regarding the possibility of carrying out such DNA test and its legitimacy to obtain the right to repatriation.
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