Dima, a girl from the Arab-Israeli village of Sheikh Danun accidentally took her aunt’s passport, but the Israeli police in Ben Gurion Airport did not notice the woman in the photo was not her. Following the incident, Dima has been deprived of all her rights as a citizen of Israel.
It doesn’t take long to realize that the woman in the passport photo and the girl holding it are not the same person. Dima, a student in the Arab village of Sheikh Danun, is the niece of the woman in the photo, Lubna.
“Even in school, they said I am not officially registered in Israel,” says Dima. Six months ago, Dima visited her Aunt in Germany and accidentally took her passport before returning to Israel. No one noticed at the passport control at Ben Gurion Airport and she entered Israel. “The woman checking the passport was busy eating, she barely looked at me, stamped the passport and said, ‘Welcome to Israel’.”
Because Dima never officially returned to Israel, she is not registered for school or other rights as a citizen. Her parents have repeatedly tried to explain this to the various authorities. Her mother Iman adds, “It is a nightmare, we don’t sleep at night because of worry.”
The Airports Authority responded that if this is true, it is a serious case of negligence in their system. Her father, Abbed, is surprised that in a highly organized country which is very security conscious, such an incident could occur. A lawyer has filed a petition to straighten out Dima’s case. In the meantime, she just wants to get back to her normal life.
“This woman is religious and clearly much older than me,” she says. The immigration authority responded: This case is being investigated. The family will be instructed as to how to advance the case.