asher63 (asher63) wrote,
asher63
asher63

Yehudah Kimani's Aborted Israel Visit

My friend Yehudah Kimani wanted to visit Israel. The authorities had other ideas.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Tempers-flare-in-Knesset-hearing-over-deportation-of-Kenyan-Jew-532751

'Kimani belongs to the Abayudaya. He converted to Judaism in 2010 through the Conservative movement and became active in the rural mountain community where he lives. The community is recognized as Jewish by the Jewish Agency.

During the Knesset hearing, ministry official Amos Arbel explained that Kimani was expelled because he stated in his visa application that besides touring the country, he would also be studying at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Despite this, Kimani was issued with a visa that stated specifically on it that he would be visiting the Conservative Yeshiva. But Arbel said that Kimani nevertheless needed a student visa, not a tourist visa, which was why he was expelled.

And when questioned by committee chairman MK Avraham Neguise about the vagaries of the ministry bureaucracy, Arbel responded: “What do you mean that it was written on his visa that he was coming to study in yeshiva? Is he Jewish?” asked Arbel rhetorically. “Do you want half of Africa here?” Despite Arbel’s explanation, the ministry previously gave a different reason for expelling Kimani, stating to the press that the ministry was concerned that he would seek to illegally remain in the country beyond the time period allowed on his visa. ...'

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Kenyan-Jew-deported-by-Interior-Ministry-despite-valid-visa-518589

'He spent a summer at the Brandeis Summer Institute in Los Angeles studying Judaism, and earlier this year he applied to study to study at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Kimani applied for a threemonth tourist visa through the consulate in Nairobi, while a prominent member of a Masorti (Conservative) synagogue in Jerusalem agreed to be his sponsor in Israel, signing a bank guarantee for his presence in the country and agreeing to cover all of his costs, including flight, housing and tuition.

The Interior Ministry, however, denied his visa request.

He reapplied in November, and following checks conducted by the Nairobi consulate, including confirming with the Conservative Yeshiva that Kimani had been accepted to study there, his visa application was approved.

Kimani’s visa was stuck into his passport and signed and stamped by the Israeli ambassador to Kenya. He flew to Israel on Monday and arrived in the evening.

Despite his valid visa, Kimani was detained by the border authorities and held at the airport until Tuesday morning, when he was expelled and deported to Ethiopia.

The Interior Ministry said Kimani’s second visa application had been “fraudulently obtained,” since he had not stated that his first application had been rejected, and there was “a concern he would remain [illegally]” in the country after his visa expired.

The Interior Ministry said his first application was rejected because there was a concern he would remain beyond the three-month duration of a tourist visa. But it refused to say why it thought this was a possibility. ...'

From Yehudah's Facebook page:

'No!would not have stay beyond the time/period limit on my visa and not only in Israel but to all others countries.i was not going to live in Israel either.I have a family and community back home who needed me back home for support and religious study acquired from the yeshivah.This article says it fully.Only God give honest judgements especially who is very righteous/Tzadik and who is much observant who will have more merits on Olam haba.All this is bringing encouragement,give strength and more hopes to keep going and Hakhadosh Baruch is watching.For those following and interested will keep you updated.
Thank you our supporters all over.'

For regular followers of my journal, you may remember that I had the honor and pleasure of being Yehudah's guest during my visit to East Africa in 2016, and was able to return the favor by hosting Yehudah during his visit to Portland a few months later. I am very sorry that he had such a poor welcome from the Israeli authorities, and pray that the issue may be resolved speedily so that he can visit Israel soon.
Tags: africa, hebraica
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