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Keeping Israeli Families Together: An IRAC Petition

Tzedek-tirdofToday, I signed a petition to Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Interior Minister. At the request of our Israel Religious Action Center, I wanted to help send to him a strong message that we should support Israeli families by keeping them together, not by tearing them apart.

Dear Minister Erdan,

We are supporters of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). We petition you, as Israel’s Interior Minister, to grant residency status to Valentina Gofer, so that she and her two Israeli children, David (14) and Michal (8), can continue living together in Israel.

David and Michal’s father Gershon died unexpectedly from a brain tumor in 2007 while waiting for his wife’s naturalization process to be finalized. His dying wish was for his wife to raise their children in Israel together. The Interior Ministry has since denied even temporary residency status to Valentina, and has directed her to leave the country. The practical effect of this decision is that, in order to stay with their mother, David and Michal will be forced to leave their homeland and their extended family.

As you know, the Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the Interior Ministry must write and implement rules allowing widows with children to seek residency in Israel.

Children should not be punished by the mere accident of their father’s tragic and untimely death. David and Michal are Israeli citizens. Valentina would have been naturalized as a citizen if her husband had not died. David and Michal deserve to live in this country together with their mother, their grandmother, their half-siblings, and the other family members who love and support them.

It is in Israel’s interest to keep its citizens’ families together, not to tear them apart. Please take immediate action to grant residency status to Valentina so that Gershon’s dying wish can be granted.


Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Read the full tragic story yourself. Then, if you are so moved, sign the petition in your own name.

Israel is a gloriously wonderful country. Let’s help her stay focused on social justice.

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