German partner of slain youth will not be deported

Following public outcry, Interior Ministry reverses decision to expel partner of Nir Katz who was killed in attack on gay community center .

Nir Katz (photo credit: Courtesy of the katz familly)
Nir Katz
(photo credit: Courtesy of the katz familly)
The Interior Ministry on Thursday reversed its decision to deport the German partner of a man killed in a shooting at a gay community center in Tel Aviv.
Thomas Schmidt, 27, was in the process of registering himself as the partner of an Israeli citizen when his partner, Nir Katz, was killed when a gunman opened fire on the Bar Noar in July 2009.
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A masked gunman opened fire in 2009 at a meeting of gay and lesbian youth, killing two: a 17-year-old girl from Holon and 24-year-old Nir Katz, then Thomas Schmidt's partner. Police are still searching for the assailant.
The Interior Ministry decided to extend Schmidt's temporary residency status pending further debate on his case following public outcry.
A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry said Wednesday a special humanitarian committee decided last year to allow Schmidt to extend his stay in Israel because of the unique circumstances, but that he would have to leave this month.
Gay community leaders and an Israeli lawmaker are calling on Interior Minister Eli Yishai to allow Schmidt to stay in the country.