Our Current Legal Issues 

Deportations, stateless children and lack of acceptance of the House of Israel

After 54 years and many improvements in our relationship with the Israeli government, we still find ourselves with several outstanding legal issues:

Deportations

There are currently 51 individuals who have received deportation notices, another at least 102 are in danger of receiving the same notices. These persons were not discovered in Israel by the authorities and found to be illegal residents, but voluntarily came forth to seek proper status after years of trusting to the Dimona leadership to properly handle their situations, many of which were created by a failure of said leadership to include the names of individuals who were present when the original status agreement was reached between the government and the Dimona leadership.

 

Difficulties in acquiring Israeli citizenship

The Israeli government currently makes it very difficult for individuals to transition from permanent resident status to citizenship, demanding that said individuals also relinquish any other citizenship they have, in spite of the existence of an Israeli law which states that individuals may hold dual citizenship if the second country is one with whom Israel has an agreement to that affect. The current law is only granted to Jews, which is religiously discriminatory and also confusing because in 2018 a citizen of Georgia applied to emigrate to Israel under the law of return and the Rabbinate of Israel approved her request, in spite of the fact that she was an active Christian and refused to undergo conversion. Even though our children honorably serve in the IDF, they must still apply for citizenship and then undergo a protracted process in order for them and only their parents to receive Israeli citizenship.

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Stateless children

Because of the on-going refusal of the Israeli government to adjust their policy regarding the granting of citizenship to our members who were born here, have only lived here but not served in the armed forces without giving up their American citizenship, we have a very large number of children who are growing up in Israel without any citizenship al all because the current American laws make it financially prohibitive for their families, as these children would need to travel to America with their grand parents (which would require special visas from the American government, since the children don’t have passports!), and spend a year in America before being able to apply. In my family alone there are 13 children in this situation.

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Acceptance of our identity as the returned of the House of Israel

Who are the "Hebrews from Dimona" (Black Hebrews)?

At the end of 1969, a group of dozens of American citizens unexpectedly landed at Ben Gurion Airport seeking to immigrate to Israel claiming to be entitled to it under the Law of Return. The group arrived on a flight from Liberia in West Africa and Interior Ministry officials were embarrassed in front of the group, which was different from the usual profile of immigrants from the United States until then, since all its members were of African American descent.

 

A few months later, another group landed, this time including the group's leader, Ben Ami Carter. Ben Ami was a member of the community of African Americans in Chicago who were tired of American society's discriminatory treatment of blacks. At age 26, Carter claimed that the angel Gabriel was revealed to him in a vision and instructed him to lead his congregation to the "Promised Land." According to the community's belief - they are direct descendants of the original "Hebrew people", or in their more familiar name "Black Hebrews", or today the "Hebrews of Dimona".

 

Are they Jews or entitled to the Law of Return? 

“When the first group arrived in Israel at the end of 1969, Interior Ministry representatives did not know the members of the community, who had American citizenship who arrived on flights from Liberia in West Africa. Therefore, it was decided to give them an absorption basket and a residence in Dimona until this becomes clear. At that time, they were granted only work visas and not citizenship. It soon became clear that the members of the group were not Jews, were not entitled to return and did not even claim to be Jews.

 

On the contrary, they claim to be the true descendants of the children of Israel who returned to the Promised Land "in which at this time the State of Israel now resides" [1]. Members of the community were even offered to convert, but they refused on the grounds that they were the original Israelites. From then on the state began to oppose the entry of more groups.” [1] בג''ץ 482/71 (High Court)

 

https://israeli-ipc.org.il/blackhebrew/   

 

The Israeli Immigration Policy Center in their reply to the first question claims

 

“According to the community's belief - they are direct descendants of the original "Hebrew people", or in their more familiar name "Black Hebrews", or today the "Hebrews of Dimona".

 

Yet, in the answer to the second question in the quote from the Israeli High Court document it says:

 

“… the members of the group were not Jews, were not entitled to return and did not even claim to be Jews. On the contrary, they claim to be the true descendants of the children of Israel who returned to the Promised Land "in which at this time the State of Israel now resides.”

 

We returned as true descendants of the children of Israel, that is, the seed of the Kingdom of Israel, which was conquered by the Assyrians in 723 BCE and whose inhabitants were taken into captivity. We never claimed to be Jewish, as stated in the quote, but the law of return was changed in the year of our leader’s arrival to only apply to someone with a “Jewish grandmother”, why? Because the law of return at the time of the arrival of the first group in 1969 was not only for the return of Jews; it also was for the return of “the exiles”, i.e., the returned of the House of Israel, as stated in the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.

 

This was the reason for offering the original arrivals to “convert”; if they had come under the religious laws of Judaism they would have been recognized as “Jews”. Being an Israelite is not religious, but rather a nationality that supersedes being Jewish and practicing Judaism. The existence of the Northern House of Israel and the Southern House of Judah is a historical and Biblical fact that clearly implies that there is also a separation in their religious practices and the only common ground would be the instructions given to Moses. The remnant of that Northern Kingdom has as much claim to this land as the returned of the Southern and the scriptures clearly say that a reunification must take place in this land, implying that there must be recognition of the Northern Kingdom, and we represent the Northern Kingdom of Israel!

 

In light of all of the above, we may have to challenge the Jewish State Law.

See also our more in depth writings on this subject:

Reclaiming our Heritage as Hebrew Israelites

There is no Israel Without Joseph