US Jewish convert ends hunger strike after gov’t promises citizenship by 2023

David Ben Moshe has ended his hunger strike to be recognized as an Israeli citizen after being assured he will receive full citizenship by January 2023.

 David Ben Moshe hunger strike. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
David Ben Moshe hunger strike.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

David Ben Moshe, a convert of African-American descent who started a hunger strike last week in an attempt to be recognized as an Israeli citizen, ended his protest on Tuesday after receiving assurances that he would receive full citizenship by January 2023.

Ben Moshe has been living in Israel for more than four years. He is married to an Israeli woman, has two children, and has been battling for years with the Interior Ministry to receive citizenship under the Law of Return.

On Tuesday, he received a letter from Tomer Moskowitz, head of the Population, Immigration and Border Authority, who informed Ben Moshe that he would receive an immigration certificate on January 1, 2023.

“It is frustrating that the ministry is continuing to delay my citizenship, but we are happy that we finally have a written commitment for an end to this nightmare,” Ben Moshe said.

Ben Moshe launched his hunger strike on Thursday in front of the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem to protest what he called the continued discrimination he has suffered at the hands of the government of Israel.

 David Ben Moshe (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) David Ben Moshe (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Under the Law of Return, Jews who ask for citizenship can be denied if they have a criminal record, as in Ben Moshe’s case. That is what happened in November 2020, when the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority rejected his request for citizenship.

In December 2020, after a report in The Jerusalem Post, Ben Moshe gained recognition of his conversion by the Interior Ministry and received a temporary residency permit.