Israel’s immigration authority has ordered the deportation of a Swedish woman, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, over claims that her father converted to Christianity.
Israel's Population and Immigration Authority told Rebecca Floer, 64, she has until November 26 to leave Israel after her request to remain in the country on the grounds of the country’s Law of Return was denied.
Floer’s claim was rejected as the Israeli authorities claim both that her father converted to Christianity and that she was a member of a missionary organization, Haaretz reported.
Israel’s Law of Return was enacted in 1950 and gives Jews the right to gain Israeli citizenship. In 1970 the right to enter the country and settle in it was extended to individuals with a Jewish grandparent or individuals married to a Jew.
Floer, a Swedish national who grew up in Austria, said her father never converted or denied his Judaism. She added that she had never been a member of a missionary organization but had been associated with one Christian group at a one-off event in her professional capacity as a psychologist. Floer was herself baptized but left the church and considers herself to be Jewish.
The papers she filed two years ago when she applied to live in Israel have attested to her Jewish roots. The application included copies of documents from the Yad Vashem Holocaust archive and records of Floer’s relatives killed in the Holocaust.
Her rejection by Israeli authorities cited Floer’s belief in Jesus as a prescriptive factor in her application.
She has said one of the driving factors behind her decision to emigrate to Israel has been the rise of antisemitism and the extreme right in Europe. Floer explained how in Vienna in 1938 her grandparents had sought to flee the Nazis but could find no country of refuge.
Now she questions how Israel can reject her when neo-Nazis are marching on the streets of Gothenburg.
Shira Schwartz Meirmam, the attorney representing Floer has said her client meets all the criteria under the right to return. “Her father was Jewish and was persecuted in the Holocaust and lost some of his relatives because they were Jewish,” Meirmam said.
However the Population and Immigration Authority has said its decision has been made.
“This is the daughter of a Jewish man who according to information conveyed to us converted to Christianity, proof of which was presented,” the authority said in a statement.
“The daughter was baptized. Thus in keeping with the Law of Return, the restriction to the Law of Return applies to her as [it would to] one who is a member of another religion.”
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