Gisha files revised High Court petition after the Ministry of Interior made superficial corrections to the procedure that allows Israelis’ personal status to be kept as “under review”
Revised petition filed, December 8, 2015
On June 8, 2015, Gisha filed a principled petition to the High Court of Justice
against the “Procedure on Amendments and Corrections to Marital Status (Marriage/Divorce/Widowhood), Procedure No. 2.11.0001 of the Population Authority” (Hebrew) (HCJ 3987/15 Gisha v. Minister of Interior, (Hebrew)). The petition was aimed at Section C(2) of the procedure which allows population registry clerks to delay updating the marital status of an Israeli citizen who marries a foreign national and keep it as “under review” for a period of six months.
On October 22, 2015, the Ministry of Interior issued an update stating that it had conducted staff work to correct the procedure and that the petition should therefore be withdrawn. A review of the corrected procedure (Hebrew) has revealed that the correction was no more than superficial and cosmetic. The procedure still allowed for the registration of the personal status of Israelis married to non-Israeli partners to be kept “under review”, but shortened the length of time that it may appear “under review” from six to three months. During these three months, the procedure permits clerks to conduct various examinations and verifications of the couple’s documents before the Israeli partner is recorded as “married” in the Population Registry.
Gisha maintains that the new procedure does not correct the flaws of the original procedure. The section that permits the Ministry of Interior to delay the registration of a person in the Population Registry as “married” even after he or she has submitted a genuine public document authenticating the change in status – such as a marriage certificate or a ruling from a religious court – is illegal.
For this reason, Gisha asked the court not to erase the petition but to consider it on its merits. Following the court’s ruling, on December 8, 2015, Gisha filed a revised petition focusing on the central arguments against the sections of the revised procedure.