Legal help for aliyah family

The Israeli High Court has been asked to intervene on behalf of a black family from south London who have been waiting to go on aliyah for more than 18 months.

Israel’s Ministry of Interior has so far offered no explanation for delaying the emigration of Carl and Maleka Levy, and their five daughters.

The family, who converted under Reform auspices in the UK, had hoped to begin a new life in Ashkelon in August 2007.

Now the Israel Religious Action Centre has filed a petition on behalf of the Levys to the courts.

Anat Hoffman, the centre’s executive director, said the petition’s aim was “to defend the Levy family from blatant discrimination by the Ministry of Interior which has engaged the family in an exhaustive battle hoping that they will give up their dream of aliyah.”

She added: “It seems obvious that the state’s behaviour — sending a family of seven back and forth and leaving them in the dark regarding their right to aliyah — is based on the fact that the Levys are black.

“Our offices have seen a regular pattern of suspicion and rejection on the part of the state whenever the olim are black. We believe that converts, who have joined their fate to the fate of the Jewish people, should be welcomed to Israel regardless of race or ethnicity.”

    Last updated: 3:35pm, February 5 2009