Aliyah for family members – immigration for non-Jewish descendants
Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.
I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.
Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
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Alexander P Gutterman
EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.
I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.
We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.
Courteous, clear, efficient service.
We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
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I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.
I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.
Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.
Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.
We were very pleased and content with the services of this law firm. They supported us 100% and solved our case successfully, we couldn't be happier.
If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.
The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them
I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.
Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.
Very knowledgeable and professional
The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.
competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended
A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!
Marce Ruth St. Rey
Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.
Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.
We have been working with Decker, Pex Ofir & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.
Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.
Michael and Ariellah Waizman
For Advocate Joshua Pex.
We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.
The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!
The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.
We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!
Dongdiet & Nellie
We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.
The team at Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!
We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.
Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!
Immigration to Israel for non-Jewish family members?
The Law of Return (1950) is considered one of the fundamental laws of the state of Israel as a Jewish democracy. The Law of Return establishes the legal basis to the ideological Zionist project that allows Jews and their non-Jewish family members to immigrate (make Aliyah) to Israel. In this article advocate Michael Decker, an Israeli immigration lawyer at our law office will explain who is eligible to make Aliyah to Israel and receive Israeli citizenship, focusing on Aliyah for family members of Jews, Messianic Jews and members of other religions.
“Who is a Jew” according to the Law of Return
Section 1 of the Law of Return determines that every Jew shall be entitled to immigrate to Israel, and obtain immediate citizenship. Section 4(b) of the Law of Return defines a Jew as an individual who has a Jewish mother, or as a convert to Judaism, and who is not a member of another religion. In the Israeli Supreme Court ruling 265/87 Beresford v. the Israeli Interior Ministry, it was decided that Israeli law equates Messianic Jews with Christians, therefore legally considering a Messianic Jew as member of another religion, and not Jewish. Given that Jews who have converted to another religion are not entitled to immigrate to Israel, in accordance with the Jewish definition given in Section 4(b) of the Law of Return, Messianic Jews (or people suspected of being Messianic Jews) are routinely denied the right to make Aliyah. In fact, any person who is Jewish according to the orthodox Jewish religion (child of a Jewish mother) and wants to make Aliyah, but actually practices a different faith, will not be legally eligible for Aliyah.
Aliyah for family members of Jews regardless of their faith
The Law of Return states that “a family member of a Jew” can mean a child or grandchild of a Jew, or the spouse of a Jew, or the child or grandchild to a Jew. The law does not provide for the immigration of other family members, such as siblings or half siblings and grand-grandchildren.
Section 4a(a) of the Law of Return permits non-Jews to immigrate to Israel, if they are family members of Jews (as defined above), but prevents an individual who was once Jewish, but then willfully changed his or her religion from exercising the Right of Return.
Therefore, if a non-Jewish member of another religion only has a Jewish father, or Jewish grandparents, and does not have a Jewish mother, he or she, would be entitled to immigrate to Israel legally, in accordance with the Law of Return allowing Aliyah for family members. It is important to note that hundreds of thousands of people have made Aliyah to Israel as family members of Jews, despite not being considered Jewish by the law of return, but were eligible for Aliyah as a family member of a Jew.
In fact, in the Supreme Court verdict 2708/06 Steckback v. the Interior Ministry (Court ruling from the 16th of April 2008) it was clearly determined that a Messianic Jew would be entitled to immigrate to Israel, as a family member of a Jew, according to Section 4a(a) of the Law of Return, provided that he or she does not have a Jewish mother.
The same logic would seem to apply to a Messianic Jew/Christian, whose mother converted to Messianic Judaism, or Christianity, or any other religion, before the birth of the person in question. As the mother had converted before the birth of the Aliyah applicant, this individual was not born to a Jewish mother, and would therefore not be defined as a Jew, according to Section 4(b) of the Law of Return.
Aliyah to Israel for Messianic Jews – Israeli Ministry of Interior problems
The Israeli authority responsible for approving or denying requests of Aliyah to Israel is the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The Jewish Agency and its subsidiary Nefesh Be’Nefesh, assist in the Aliyah process for those who apply for Aliyah outside Israel. These authorities help Jews and family members of Jews in immigrating to Israel. However, workers of these organizations are instructed to ask Aliyah applicants if they are of the Messianic Jewish faith and if so, to deny their application. In any case, regardless of whether an Aliyah applicant has a Jewish mother, or whether the Aliyah applicant is a convert to Judaism, and despite the precedent of the Steckback Case, the Interior Ministry immigration agents deny most applications submitted by Messianic Jews or Christians. If the clerks at the Interior Ministry discover that the individual in question is a Christian or a Messianic Jew, the process will be delayed indefinitely, until the applicant’s appeal is submitted and processed. It is important to note that many employees as the MoI assume that all Messianic Jews engage in missionary activity, which under certain circumstances is illegal in Israel.
A family member of a Jew who is also an active missionary may not make Aliyah
In more recent years, the State Attorney’s Office (which represents the Interior Ministry before the Supreme Court of Justice in cases regarding Aliyah and Israeli citizenship), tried to convince the Supreme Court to adopt an essential interpretation of section 4a(a) of the Law of Return. According to this broad interpretation the legal counsels of the State claimed that the objective of the Law of Return in allowing Aliyah for family members is based around the objective of allowing Jews to return to the land of their fathers, along with their family members. The ultimate goal is the hope that the family members in question shall return to the Jewish faith (This objective is demonstrated in the explanatory notes on Section 4a(a) of the Law of Return).
According to this position, which was accepted by the Supreme Court of Justice, a family member of a Jew who is intent upon actively distributing Christian literature in Israel should not be entitled to immigrate to Israel, since such activity would contradict the objective of the Law of Return (Israeli High Court of Justice ruling number 8320/10 Zev Isaacs v. the Interior Ministry).
Aliyah to Israel for the daughter of a Muslim mother
This Supreme Court ruling on the Zev Isaacs case was stretched even further, in the case of HCJ 10535/09 Jane Doe v. the Interior Ministry. In the Jane Doe Case, Supreme Justice Hanan Meltzer rejected a petition that was submitted by the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel. In their petition, the Movement for Progressive Judaism requested that the Supreme Court order the Interior Ministry to grant citizenship to a certain grandchild of Jewish grandparents, even though the mother of the petitioner may have converted to Islam. The conversion of the mother to Islam was due to the fact that she married a Muslim man in a Sharia court and raised her children (including the petitioner) in accordance with Muslim values, in the Arab city of Shechem (Nablus). The petitioner identifies as a Muslim (according to her own declaration on the application form which she submitted before the Interior Ministry) but she claimed that she had the right to make Aliyah as a family member of a Jew, according to section 4a(a) of the Law of Return.
The Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel argued that the petitioner is eligible to make Aliyah in accordance with the grandchild clause of the Law of Return (section 4a(a) of the Law of Return), being both the daughter of a converted Jew and the granddaughter of a practicing Jew.
The administrative factual findings of Justice Hanan Meltzer led him to the conclusion that the mother of the petitioner did convert to Islam, and that the petitioner leads a Muslim lifestyle. Therefore, the legal conclusion of Justice Meltzer was that the petitioner is not eligible to immigrate to Israel as a non-Jewish grandchild of a Jew, in accordance with Section 4a (a) of the Law of Return.
In this significant decision made in by Justice Meltzer, the precedent set in the Zev Isaacs Case was extended, since the petitioner in the Jane Doe Case, according to the verdict itself, was not a Muslim “missionary”, but was still denied permission to make Aliyah.
Request for an additional hearing at the Supreme Court
This Supreme Court ruling would have far-reaching consequences for the right for Aliyah for family members of Jews, therefore the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel submitted a petition for an additional hearing with a large panel of judges. They appealed the new legal precedent which was determined in both the Isaacs Case and the Jane Doe Case, and which seemed in contradiction to the modus operandi of the State of Israel during the past decades, as it relates to its immigration policies, their interpretation, and application, of Section 4a(a) of the Law of Return.
However, on the 9th of November 2016, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein rendered his verdict in regards to the Request for an Additional Hearing. The Supreme Court ruling made clear that there are two options for denying an application for Aliyah for family members of Jews in accordance with section 4a(a) to the Law of Return. The first, is if the family member’s religious activity contradicts the objective of the Law of Return (which would be the case only if the family member is an active missionary). The second, is that if the family member is a son/daughter of a Jewish parent that changed his/her religion, and has a Jewish grandparent that did not change his/her religion, then the most recent precedent determined that this family member cannot ignore the parent that changed his/her religion, and claim Aliyah rights based on the Jewish grandparent (the logic being that if the parent is not entitled to immigrate to Israel due to a change of his/her region, than the child of the parent in question should also not be entitled to immigrate to Israel).
Aliyah for family members – legal counsel
The issue of Aliyah to Israel may be very simple for those who easily qualify for the conditions and are assisted by the Israeli state agencies. On the other hand, for those wanting to make Aliyah but who encounter resistance from the Ministry of Interior, the Aliyah process may be very complicated. We are a law firm that has a great deal of experience with various issues related to immigration to Israel, including Aliyah for family members according to the Law of return. Please contact us if you have any questions or are in need of legal assistance.