Israel denies Episcopal Bishop visa renewal

Israel denies Episcopal Bishop visa renewal

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the Rt. Revd Suheil Dawani was denied the renewal of his “Temporary Residency Status” in Jerusalem, effective 24 September 2010. This action was taken when the A-5 permits held by himself, his wife and youngest daughter were revoked by the Ministry of the Interior of the government of Israel.

Bishop Dawani replied to the Israeli Minister of the Interior denying all accusations and requested the restoration of the residency permits for himself and his family to provide for his ongoing leadership of his Diocese and residence for himself and his family. Israeli authorities did not produce any proof of the allegations made against Bishop Dawani.

This situation continued for over six months as Bishop Dawani attempted to resolve this with restraint and without causing the government of Israel any embarrassment. The lack of resolution, despite diplomatic, ecclesiastical and inter-faith cooperation in support of Bishop Dawani required Bishop Dawani to seek legal counsel.

Bishop Dawani’s legal advisor sent a letter to the Attorney General of Israel seeking an explanation of the allegations against him which was the basis for the denial of the residency rights for himself and his family. After waiting one month without an explanation of the allegations from the Attorney General and upon the recommendation of legal counsel, Bishop Dawani filed a petition with the Israeli court in late February seeking redress through the Israeli legal system.

A court date was assigned for 18 May in the District Court in Jerusalem. This court date has been cancelled due to a change of venue, in accordance with Israeli law and at the recommendation of the Attorney General of Israel, for this hearing to take place in the Supreme Court. A new court date will be assigned. Bishop Dawani’s lawyer has requested as early a date as possible for this case to be heard and resolved.