Opaque Requirements and the Burden of Proof

Opaque Requirements Lead to a Lack of Transparency in Consulates

The Israeli consulate in Moscow lists this set of required documents that an applicant should bring in order to prove their Judaism. Compare this with the second, “unofficial list” below, which is never mentioned on the website or by phone. ​ Not only is the first list sometimes challenging to come up with, but to make matters worse, random items from the second list are demanded of applicants, who have to wait several months for a second appointment. Often, a third appointment is required when applicants are asked for further items from the “unofficial list.”

The Official List: All passports in your possession Birth certificate Parents’ marriage certificate Both parents’ birth certificates Marriage certificates of your Jewish grandparents Jewish grandparents’ birth certificates Employment records Military ID Educational records The Israeli IDs belonging to any of your Israeli relatives The home addresses of your Israeli relatives The telephone numbers of your Israeli relatives Exact repatriation date of your Israeli relatives

“Documents must be presented in the original.”

The Unofficial List:

Passport photographs of applicants Parents’ divorce certificates Parents’ death certificates Photographs of Jewish gravestones of parents Parents’ employment records Parents’ military records Grandparents’ divorce certificates Grandparents’ death certificates Photographs of Jewish gravestones of grandparents Grandparents’ employment records Grandparents’ military records Photographs of Jewish gravestones of great-grandparents Certified Red Cross archive records of resettlement during WWII Letters from Rabbis attesting to applicant’s involvement in community Police reports attesting to applicant’s non-criminal background Photographs of family members engaging in Jewish customs. ​ We help Jews find lost documents in official state archives, all the while demanding that the consulates stop being a barrier to Aliya from the former Soviet Union.

Learn how you can support our programs here.

“Essentially, all Jews everywhere are Israeli citizens by right”

Israeli Parliament, 1950