Don’t Rely on Government Releases!
Israeli Shortcut has been in contact with numerous government offices for the sake of improving regulations and ending legal lacuna for the benefit of foreign citizens living in Israel.
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Government offices recently published two press releases that we warmly saluted for improving conditions for foreign citizens, but upon closer scrutiny and after Israeli Shortcut’s careful follow-up, we realized were nothing more than hot air.
A week ago the Knesset’s Bureau of Public Inquiries (headed by a Knesset member) solemnly announced, “Good news for yeshiva students who are foreign citizens. From now on, yeshiva students will get a discount on public transportation when they get a Rav Kav card.”
Israeli Shortcut called the Ministry of Transportation to ask for details of the discount for foreign yeshiva students, and were told that the discriminatory practice had not changed.
Then two days ago, the office of the Interior Minister released this wonderful news: “The minister has improved conditions for foreign citizens married to Israeli avreichim and from now on they will get the same social rights like every other resident. Until now, foreigners could not get a A-4 family member visa for a student because their husband was not defined as a student but an Israeli citizen which prevented them from getting social benefits. According to the minister’s new directive, foreigners married to Israelis will here on have A-1 status which will immediately give them all the social benefits including an identity card, Kupat Cholim and more…”
We were pleased with the news, especially since just a month ago we had sent the Interior Ministry a letter asking them to deal with the discrimination against foreigners married to Israeli citizens who came to study in the country.
But after we called to clarify the exact situation, it turned out that the foreigners married to Israeli citizens would still get A-1 status with all its discriminatory procedures.
If so, what was the celebratory press release all about? Maybe someone is taking a course on creative writing in the Interior Ministry? Or maybe the ministry wants to get some free propaganda by publishing notices that will be picked up by the networks and published all over by the press who rarely bothers to check things out and whose purpose these days seems to be the proliferation of “fake news”?
We look forward to sharing with our target audience genuine good news what it happens.
In the meantime, we hope Israeli government offices will take a lesson from the new president of the U.S. who actually carries out what he says he will do.