Brothers of fallen soldier lose their court battle to stay in Israel
The step-brothers have lived in Israel since 2017, but government says they must return to Ethiopia
The two step-brothers of the late-First Sergeant Solomon Gavriya, who gave his life trying to stop a terror attack in 2017, have been ordered by Israel's Population and Immigration Authority to leave the country by next month and return to Ethiopia.
Yohannes and Deslaigan Meheret-Molt have been living in Israel since 2017, having arrived shortly after their step-brother’s death to support their father, Mihit, along with his second wife Yeshimevet, both of whom were granted permission to stay in Israel under the Law of Return.
In 2018, then-Interior Minister Arye Deri approved the request for the step-brothers to remain in Israel, having been deeply moved by the mourning father’s request.
Both brothers are now well-integrated into Israeli society, having become fluent in Hebrew and gaining employment. One brother is married to an Israeli, with a daughter born in January, and the other brother lives with their father. Both men made attempts to convert to Judaism, but their request had been denied by Israel's Conversion Authority because of their legal status.
This decision to expel the two brothers was appealed by Attorney Nicole Maor, head of the Legal Aid Center for Immigrants, which is part of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism.
The matter was first taken to the Humanitarian Committee but received no response, and was then appealed in court. After a few days, the men were told they were required to leave Israel within one month.
The Population and Immigration Authority’s decision is based on the fact that the paternity of the brothers is unproven, their father only became an Israeli citizen later in life and that they were born from different mothers who had never married their father. In 1999, when their father came to Israel, both brothers stayed in Ethiopia with their respective mothers.
Their step-brother, fallen hero Solomon Gavriya, was present for two terror attacks during his military service.
In September 2017, an armed terrorist attempted to enter the Israeli settlement of Har Adar and opened fire. Solomon, who was stationed in the area, attempted to engage the suspect and was shot dead. A year later, he was awarded a posthumous award for bravery, which was accepted by his father and step-brothers.
In the previous terror incident, Gavriya was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist, but fought back and insisted on returning to active duty as soon as he recovered.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.