Prof. Ruth Katz, an eminent Jewish scientist and professor of pathology, has finally been granted Israeli citizenship following a two-year ordeal in which the Interior Ministry placed numerous obstacles in her way.
She obtained her citizenship on Wednesday at her local branch of the Population and Immigration Authority of the Interior Ministry
The Jerusalem Post reported on Katz’s difficulties and the severe bureaucratic roadblocks she faced in immigrating to the Jewish state at the end of December last year.
“Everything has turned out well in the end,” said Katz excitedly on Wednesday afternoon.
“All my documentation was processed easily, there were no objections to any of the documents, and I was just asked some routine questions such as how many years of education I’ve had,” said the professor and author of over 400 scientific papers and other academic works.
“I’m so happy. It means a lot. I’m an ‘olah hadasha’ [new immigrant], I can go to ulpan, sign up to a health provider instead of using private health services, and the other things which people take for granted. It’s an amazing thing,” she said.
Katz, 73 and born in South Africa, was a professor at the University of Texas until her retirement in 2018, was appointed a professor of pathology at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer that same year, and moved to Israel from the US on a temporary visa.
Since then, the Population and Immigration Authority demanded she produce unobtainable documentation regarding her late second husband and rejected several letters from her Orthodox rabbi in Houston, Texas testifying to her Jewish status.
It also rejected Katz’s marriage license document from her third marriage issued by Harris County, Texas, saying it required a marriage license and not a marriage certificate despite the fact that Katz presented a letter from the Israeli consul in Houston confirming the state of Texas only issues marriage licenses, as well as a letter from the Harris County clerk stating the same thing.
Katz was assisted in her struggles with the Population and Immigration Authority by the Itim religious services advisory organization which helped liaise with government officials and provided her with guidance during the process.
“I am gratified that Itim, played a role in bringing Ruth’s saga to a happy conclusion, and that she can now live a full Jewish life in Israel with full rights,” said Itim director Rabbi Seth Farber.
“Alongside the satisfaction we feel for Ruth, Itim is redoubling its efforts to ensure that Israel is respectful and responsive to the needs of Israeli Jews and Jews around the world. Ruth’s resilience reminds us that the Israeli government still has to make significant efforts to make Israel a homeland for Jews.”