Wednesday 7 October 2015

Israeli siblings 'fearful of military service' lose bid for asylum here

Published 29/07/2014 | 18:12

A BROTHER and sister who are Israeli citizens have lost their legal challenge to being refused asylum.

The High Court ruled they had not established a "well-founded fear of persecution" due to being conscientious objectors to compulsory military service in Israel.

The siblings, now aged 23 and 21 respectively, are of Russian ethnicity and became Israeli citizens after they and their parents left their home in 2006 and moved to Israel. They qualified for citizenship due to having a Jewish grandparent.

The family spent just over a year in Israel and alleged they left in summer 2007 due to being subject to severe forms of discrimination while there because of their Russian Ethnicity and Christian faith. The parents also expressed concern the two siblings would have to enter military service once they turned 18.

The entire family later came to Ireland and claimed asylum but all were refused.

In the case of the siblings, a Refugee Appeals Tribunal  accepted both have a "genuine and absolute" objection to military service but found they had not established a well founded fear of persecution on grounds including they had not exhausted remedies in Israel available to them as conscientious objectors.

Rejecting their judicial review challenge to that decision, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said, from the materials available to the Tribunal, the Israeli Minister for Defence has a discretion to exempt a person claiming "full" conscientious objection from service in the Israeli Defence Forces. Israeli law also provides certain categories of persons may be exempt, including ultra orthodox Jews and sport prodigies, he said.

The judge upheld the Tribunal's finding the siblings, who left Israel before reaching the age of 18 when they become eligible for periods of compulsory military service, had not established a well-founded fear of persecution based on being conscientious objectors and had not exhausted the domestic remedies available to them in Israel, including via the Israeli courts.

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