Hearing on September 20 will address the appeal of a Jewish anti-Zionist against the rejection he received in from the UK Home Office.
A 21-year-old Jewish anti-Zionist, who fled Israel in 2017, is pleading his case for asylum in the UK.
The hearing, scheduled for September 20 at a First-tier tribunal in Manchester, will address his appeal against the rejection he received in December last year from the UK Home Office
The rabbinical student, who has been granted anonymity order from the court on security concerns, and his lawyers believe his personal views, including his refusal to join the Israeli army, would expose him to persecution if he was to return to Israel.
His lawyers said he could be “deemed a deserter and liable to serve a prison sentence of up to 15 years for [military] desertion”.
The student has said he vehemently opposes Zionism and Israel’s existence due to religious and political reasons – views that are generally not welcomed by authorities or the wider Zionist Israeli public.
Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews believe they should not be permitted to return to the land of Palestine en masse until the coming of the messiah.
“What the Zionist movement has done is sinful because it has returned Jews to the Holy Land against God’s will and in the process has forcibly displaced the indigenous Palestinian people and stolen their land,” he said in his witness statement which will be used as evidence for the court’s decision.
“The Zionists have engaged in theft and mass killing to create their Zionist state. They have rebelled against God in the gravest way. I am afraid of being forcibly conscripted into the military which would go against everything that I stand for … the State of Israel practices apartheid and is routinely involved in war crimes against the Palestinian people. I cannot serve in such an immoral army that carries out such atrocities on a daily basis.”
He was arrested and beaten up in 2015, aged 17, by the Israeli police during a protest by the Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem against forced military conscription.
According to his lawyers, during the protests and while in police custody, the teen was “handcuffed, pushed to the floor and dragged around by the handcuffs, spat at and beaten with a stick”.
He was also sprayed with skunk water – a foul-smelling chemical compound created by the Israeli military and used for crowd control.
He left for the UK in 2017 on a tourist visa after receiving a conscription letter and has not returned since, his lawyers added.
Setting a precedent
The Home Office rejected his initial asylum claim on the ground that he could have avoided military service on mental grounds.
But his lawyers argue the appeal must be looked at in a political framework and “it is simply not possible to properly consider our client’s case without addressing apartheid, which is a legal concept codified in the 2002 Rome Statute and the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid”.
His lawyer, Fahad Ansari, told Al Jazeera that the court must look at the case “in the framework of Israel being an apartheid state” and “not in a vacuum”.
“It would be unconscionable for them to say that he should be sent back and be forced to serve in a military that practices apartheid,” said Ansari before adding that “protesting against Zionism is so fundamental to his Jewish identity and his political views” that he also risks being persecuted by authorities again.