A teenager and her mom have been ordered to leave Israel even though they are permanent residents of the country.

Eighteen-year-old Liza Kozmina – a 12 grader who plays for the Israeli national handball team – was legally admitted into the country after her mom, Oksana Kozmina, married an Israeli citizen.

But following the recent death of her step-dad, Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority has  revoked the residency of the mother and daughter, and, in addition to denying them a claim for citizenship, ordered them to leave the country within two weeks and go back to war-torn Ukraine. That is after residing legally for 10 years in the country.

According to Channel 12, the Israeli interior ministry said Oksana’s marriage to the Israeli appeared to be “fictitious.” 

The duo have been ordered by authorities to return to the Ukrainian city of Kherson, currently under intense fighting between Ukraine and Russia.

Oksana’s son is currently serving in the Ukrainian army in its battle against Russian forces.

“In February, a few hours after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, we had a meeting with the Population Authority. My son serves in the Ukrainian army and I was under immense stress that day,” Oksana said. “We waited half a year for an answer and now we received a message saying that within 14 days we need to leave Israel.”

Liza said she considers herself Israeli and had intended to perform her mandatory military service in the country like her friends.

“I really want to continue living in Israel. My life is here, my childhood was here and I can’t see myself in any other place,” she said, adding that her friends who had received their first military draft notice kept asking her when she would get her’s.

“I don’t know what to answer, I don’t know what will be.”

A letter signed by Hadas Driks, an immigration official responsible for managing humanitarian cases, read: “A prolonged stay in Israel does not constitute a humanitarian reason that justifies staying in Israel. Oksana does not have family in Israel except for her daughter, and on the other hand, she has her son and sister, to whom she has maintained a connection, waiting for her in Ukraine.”

In a separate document provided to Oksana and Liza, the Population Authority, part of the interior ministry, said the two were “required to leave the country within 14 days of receiving this letter.”

Meretz MK Mossi Raz called on authorities to intervene, saying, “A student in Israel who goes to an Israeli school with Israeli students, who doesn’t know any other country, is concerned she or her mother will be deported.”


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