As a child, I thought that Israel was the only state that respected humanity and human rights. The only country where no human rights are violated and everyone is equal. Because according to the Torah, the Jewish state should behave like this. As it is written in the Torah: “Treat strangers who come to your land, like the inhabitants of Israel and the Jews, and be just”.
When I saw the anti-Israeli propaganda on TV, I did not believe it and said that the Israeli government could not harm a human being! And as I always heard from my father, I believed that all anti-Israeli talk was a lie and that the Israeli government was acting according to Judaism and Zionism! Therefore, I chose the same path myself. To love and defend Israel as my ancestral land. I could not do that in Iran, but I was happy when I was in Turkey and thought I had the freedom to speak without fear of my belief and interest in Israel. Without any punishment that I would have in Iran.
Despite repeated interrogations and threats by the Turkish government, I did not give up and continued to defend Israel as the land I believed in. The Turkish government expelled me, but I believed that the God of Israel would help me and save me. I did not know how, but I knew he would save me. As he promised King David, “I will save you and all your children from your enemies, and I will bring you out of the mouth of the lion.” I had read this sentence many times in the Tehillim and I believed in it.
And God kept His promise. The Israeli government gave me a visa to enter Israel without me ask them for any help. And the Minister of Interior (Aryeh Deri) said in the media and wrote on Facebook and Twitter: “I granted political asylum to Neda Amin. Welcome to Israel Neda!”
I told Israel’s embassy In Turkey that I didn’t have my father’s document with me to prove I’m Jewish (from father’s side) because I’d had no plan to come to Israel and no time to take that document with me because I had to escape from Iran. But they told me that you don’t need it; the Ministry of Interior accepted you as a refugee!
And of course I was sure that behind this invitation was the will of the God of Israel and his power.
I went forward with confidence and believed that Israel would protect me! After a month, someone from an Interior Ministry office contacted me and asked to go to their office in Tel Aviv to renew my visa. They said it is just a formal process to do your residency work. And I still trusted Israel! As a Jew and Zionist, I never thought that Israel would harm me. But they did!
Six months later, I realized that all the documents I had signed were for starting an asylum case! That means I was not given any asylum, and not given any accommodation! I was given a temporary visa that I had to renew every three months! This had to be done in another city, which is an hour and a half away from where I live in Jerusalem, and I can boldly say that it is a desert! And this even though the Ministry of Interior has an office in Jerusalem and they can easily extend the visa here.
It is also stated on the visa that this is not a work visa! I was shocked. How could the government impose such a disaster on me after its promise and all the human rights propaganda it did on my name?! How can that be?! It is impossible! Israel never lies. Israel never plays with one person’s life.
Hundreds of Israelis and other Jews in different countries protested and tried to help me. And everyone, like me, was shocked at how the Israeli government could treat me like this — keeping a human without the slightest social and citizenship rights, with an expired Iranian passport. And a visa that must be renewed every three months, and if not, there is no guarantee that I will not be expelled from Israel! Was this really the Israel I knew, or was I wrong all my life?
After a few months, the Israeli internal intelligence service (Shabak) raided my house and for no reason they searched my whole life and interrogated me for 9 days! No guilt. After that, in writing to The Times of Israel, they announced that I had not committed any crime! Of course I hadn’t! Yet I was interrogated for 9 days! They even threatened to deport me to Iran!
I was so shocked that I could not believe I was in Israel. I thought I was in Iran and these are the agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. It was a nightmare to be treated like this in Israel. No guilt.
Four years have passed and I still live in the same situation. No ID card, passport, social services, insurance, work permit. No residency… And the Ministry of Interior has written on my file that “Neda Amin is from the enemy country”! I do not know why Mr. Interior Minister, when he wanted to propagate human rights on my behalf, did not say “Neda Amin is from the enemy country.” Now that they have benefited the most from my name and activities, I have become a citizen of an enemy country?!
Mr. Aryeh Deri, why did you give a visa to a citizen of an enemy country to behave in such a racist way now? It’s been 4 years since I came to Israel and I still have no rights. Even as a mother who has an Israeli child by her Israeli father, I cannot do any of her administrative work because my name is not registered in any system in Israeli government organization and I do not have an identification number.
Now I have to go with a 15-month-old baby to extend my visa. The last time I went, on August 1, they told me that they would extend my visa for only a month and I have to come again on the first of September to renew it. This while they were watching my little girl restless and crying in the sun in that desert! And they also saw that I had a surgically injured hand. If my friend had not come with me, I would never have been able to manage that situation. And I can definitely say that this is a shame for Israel.
It is a shame to lie that you have given refuge to someone but to harass her. It is a shame to keep someone in a country without identity and social facilities. If it weren’t for the help of David Horovitz and The Times of Israel, I wouldn’t even have a roof over my head. I worked for his website for three years in Turkey as a journalist and blogger, and he was so human and responsible that he supported me in return. But the Israeli government was neither grateful nor responsible!
And, of course, it is a shame for Israel that I cannot see and touch my mother after four years. This behavior has nothing to do with Zionism or Judaism. The Israeli government knows nothing about Zionism or Judaism! Because if they read the Torah even once, they would realize that all these behaviors are considered sinful. Separating a child from her mother is a sin, it is a shame. And thinking about all this, I just feel how the souls of Herzl and Ben-Gurion are tormented! How their bodies tremble in the grave! Because this behavior was not the goal of Zionism.
And now, at the age of 36, I say this as a Zionist, while I am no longer that adventurous journalist. For all the harm that the Israeli government has done to me, it has made me a depressed, helpless, identity-less, displaced and nervous girl. I can say with complete confidence that I was wrong all my life! I was wrong to believe that a government rules the land of God that believes in Judaism and Zionism. I was wrong to believe that no human heart is harmed in this land. And I am sorry with all my heart to say this. Speaking against Israel really breaks my heart. And I never wanted to express all this pain, so as not to make the enemies of Israel happy.
I suffered for 4 years and remained silent so that I would not give a chance to the enemies of Israel to speak out against it. But I can no longer remain silent while I see that the government itself does not value its international policy! Why should I care more about Israeli policies than they do?! The policies of a country that does not value even the most natural human rights.
This is the damage they did to me. Who knows what other people are suffering in different parts of this land? I see the reality and I cannot close my eyes and deny it.
And now I ask you, Mrs Ayelet Shaked, the Minister of the Interior, do you agree with this behavior of the government? Is this the real Zionism and Judaism that you know?!
When you were the minister of justice, I complained many times about the Ministry of Interior to the court under your control. But your judges cooperated with the Ministry of Interior and have postponed dealing with my case time after time. Is this the way to treat someone who defends Israel? Psychological torture?
I guess maybe you did not know all this, Minister Shaked. And I do not want to judge you. But do you want to continue this behavior now that you do know about it?
I’m sure you will not answer me, and I will go from Israel. But you, as a mother, a Zionist Jew, I hope you live with a clear conscience, while you now know how a mother suffers.