Interior Minister refuses Toto speedy citizenship

18-year-old Betar Jerusalem forward has lived in Israel since he was three, but is only considered temporary resident.

toto tamuz 298.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
toto tamuz 298.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
The Interior Ministry has turned down Betar Jerusalem forward Toto Tamuz's request for a short cut to an Israeli citizenship and has told the High Court of Justice he will need to go through all the regular procedures. Tamuz is the son of Nigerian foreign workers and has lived in Israel since the age of three. He turned to the High Court after the Interior Ministry rejected all his requests for full citizenship. The 18-year-old has already played for the national team as a temporary resident, but had recently decided that he will not play for the blue-and-white again until he receives a full citizenship. "The petitioner was illegally in Israel until the end of 2005, when he was given a temporary resident status," the Ministry told the High Court. "The fact that the petitioner is a known soccer player who played for the national team doesn't guarantee him the right to Israeli citizenship." The ministry has told Tamuz he can appeal for a renewal of his temporary resident status and that in three years time he will be able to receive full citizenship. The forward will be able to serve in the IDF as a temporary resident, but will not get an Israeli passport and will need appeal for an entry permit whenever he wishes to travel abroad. Tamuz's attorney Maksim Lipkin insisted on Monday that his client should be given citizenship. "The judgment of the interior minister isn't reasonable and contradicts other cases in which people were given citizenship even though they met far less criteria then Tamuz," Lipkin said. "This decision of the Interior Minister damages the principle of equality and it seems as though Tamuz's fame has hampered his efforts."