The basic legal dictionary that every Filipino in Israel should know
The Law of Jewish Return, 1950
Enacted in 1950, two years after the foundation of Israel. The law states that any Jew has the right to emigrate to Israel along with their family (wife, children, grandchildren), and receive an Israeli immigration certificate. The law was amended in 1970 to allow anyone whose father, grandparent or spouse is Jewish, and even those whose spouse is the son or grandson of a Jew, to emigrate to Israel. The law does not apply to anyone who was formerly Jewish and converted to another religion voluntarily.
Citizenship Law, 1952
Enacted two years after the Law of Jewish Return. The law defines who is entitled to receive Israeli citizenship; for example, a Jew born in Israel or who emigrated to Israel is entitled to automatic citizenship. Anyone who was a resident of Israel when it was founded in 1948 (citizens of the British mandate) and who was living in Israel after the War of Independence ended is also entitled to Israeli citizenship. Anyone who becomes a citizen according to this law is entitled to Israeli citizenship if they meet the requirements of the Population and Immigration Border Authority.
Entry into Israel Law, 1952
Enacted two years after the Law of Jewish Return. The law defines who is allowed to enter Israel and who is allowed to stay in Israel.
Entry into Israel Regulations, 1974
Enacted as part of the Entry into Israel Law. It states the types of visas and licenses needed to enter and reside in Israel. For example, a B/1 visa defines the conditions for a foreign citizen wishing to enter Israel as a tourist and work in the country. A B/2 visa defines the conditions for a tourist who is just visiting Israel (no pay/non-paid work in Israel) The regulations also cover permits with specific purposes such as studying (A/2), taking up a religious post (A/3), visiting relatives (A/4), and temporary residency (A/5).
The Population and Immigration Border Authority (PIBA)
A bureau in the Ministry of Interior. PIBA employs over 2,000 staff across 4 departments: the Population Department, the Employers and Foreign Employees Service Department, the Enforcement Division, and the Border Crossing.
- The Population Department: Deals with the registration of passports, citizenship and status, visas, family unification, immigration and Jewish return. The department has 28 chambers, seven sub-chambers and 225 authorized registration stations scattered throughout Israel.
- The Employers and Foreign Employees Service Department: Deals with the registration and employment of foreign workers. In charge of licenses for employing foreign workers and visas for foreign workers in accordance with the policies and work quotas set by the government.
- The Enforcement Division: Enforces laws regarding foreigners and their employment in Israel, as well as those concerning migrants and refugees.
- The Border Crossing Manager: Manages Israel’s 23 international border crossings.
PIBA acts in accordance with certain regulations (the Law of Return, the Citizenship Law, the Identity Card Carrying and Displaying Law, the Entry into Israel Law, the Names Law, the Foreign Workers Law). It enforces these laws as well as the decisions of the government and courts in the different areas it is responsible for (e.g. identification, passports and documentation, visas and status in Israel, foreign workers, citizenship and residency, border crossings, etc.)
Citizenship is granted in accordance with the Citizenship Law and the rulings of the Israeli courts. An Israeli citizen can vote for Israeli parliamentary (“Knesset”) candidates and can also be elected to the Knesset. An Israeli citizen is also entitled to an Israeli passport with which they can enter and exit Israel without restrictions (except for in special cases). Israeli citizens are also obligated to serve in the Israeli army.
An Israeli citizen or someone who has a permanent residency permit in Israel is considered an Israeli resident if they live in the country. However, the definition of residency can change depending on the relevant authority. For example, the definition of residency in the Population and Immigration Border Authority within the Ministry of Interior is different from the definition of residency in the Institute of National Insurance. An Israeli resident who goes abroad does not lose their residency status, but if they live outside the country for a long period of time they might lose their residency status.
Relationship Agreement-living together/family
An agreement made by both partners that determines the list of responsibilities and privileges between them, for example division of property, child support, taking care of the children, place of residency, etc. There is no pre-determined form for the agreement, and the couple can include different subjects that relate to Israeli law.
The Inheritance Law, enacted in 1965, states that when a person dies all of their property will be given to their successors. In the event that there is no will, the property will be given to the deceased’s partner (spouse), children, grand-children, parents and/or siblings depending on the division of assets that is specified in the law.
Making a will allows people to determine how and to whom their property will be distributed after they die, without having to follow the conditions of the Inheritance Law. In your will you can give the property to any individual or any group, including a company (firm, corporation).
A couple that wants to give their property to each other and rely on their partner to distribute the property can make a mutual will. You can’t undo a mutual will with only one of the partners who created it – both parties will need to agree to undo it.
Dealing with inheritance
After a person dies, their successors can distribute their property. It’s important to distribute the property according to Israeli law in order to prevent legal issues or high taxes.
Registrar of Succession
The registrar of succession is a unit in the general custodian that is responsible for requests to register wills, requests for an order to execute a will and deciding on an estate manager. In Israel there are 5 registrars of succession (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Be’er Sheva, Haifa). The family court handles any cases in which there are legal issues.
This court handles only family matters, such as custody of children, child support, family accounting, divorce arrangements, determination of age, inheritance and wills, family arguments and domestic violence, etc.
This is a low-ranking court in Israel. Magistrates’ courts handle civilian lawsuits up to 2,500,000 NIS, lawsuits regarding use and possession of land and ending joined possession of land. Magistrates’ courts also deal with criminal cases which involve a punishment of up to 7 years in jail.
The District Court
District courts handle civilian lawsuits exceeding 2,500,000 NIS, land ownership and related matters, and criminal cases in which the punishment is 7 years in jail or more. District courts also handle appeals of magistrates’ court rulings.
Another role of the district court is to take care of issues involving government offices and citizens. In the past, these cases were handled by the Supreme Court. In recent years, however, the law has been changed and many cases have been transferred to the administrative court. An appeal from the administrative court ruling is handled by the Supreme Court.
Court of appeals under the Entry into Israel Law
Appeals against decisions of the Population and Immigration Border Authority are handled by the court of appeals, which was established in June 2014. Since then this court has handled thousands of different cases (refugees, family reunification, common-law partners, citizenship, residency, etc). Appeals court decisions are submitted to the administrative court.
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the highest ranking court in Israel. It handles appeals against decisions of the district courts, as well as appeals against government offices (when acting as the High Court of Justice).
The Decision Execution Authority
This is the authority in charge of implementing a court’s decision.
A couple in a relationship who live together in a joint household. Common-law partners have similar rights to married partners (spouse), but may sometimes have fewer rights than a married couple.
There is no civil marriage in Israel. Many countries in the world have civil marriage, without religious interference. Israel recognizes civil marriages that were conducted abroad, provided they were conducted in accordance with that country’s laws. The marriage certificate must be shown to the relevant Israeli offices.
Israeli law allows only religious marriage. For example, Jews are married by a rabbi in accordance with Orthodox Jewish practice.
Who is a Jew?
According to Jewish law, a Jew is someone whose mother is Jewish or who converted to Judaism. Being Jewish in Israel gives you many rights and benefits, including citizenship, as per the Law of Return mentioned above.
There are several types of religious conversion. The Israeli government only recognizes Orthodox Jewish conversions. Religious conversions conducted outside Israel within a recognized Jewish community are also accepted in Israel via court rulings.
The Committee For Humanitarian Affairs
This committee advises the minister of interior on cases in which the requester doesn’t meet the standard criteria required by the Ministry of Interior. This committee considers any special claims and humanitarian factors that are part of the request and then advises the minister of interior on whether or not to grant the request.