Congolese Israeli model talks about becoming a citizen, made to feel unworthy

Model and actress Fatima Fay Jakite was born in Israel and spent her entire life in the country. Despite that, it was only recently that she finally received her long-awaited citizenship after a tedious battle with the Israel Population and Immigration Authority because she is not Jewish and her parents are migrant workers from the Congo.

Jakite, 25, who served in the Israel Defense Forces, was happy to see the long saga come to an end. “Too long have I waited for this moment!” wrote on his Instagram account.

“I love Israel and its people so much, but during all those years here, I felt that I had no right to live in this country. And it hurt a lot because I was born here, and this is my home,” he added. model.

Last week, Jakite pledged allegiance to Israel and in the next few days he is expected to receive his passport and his first flight destination will be Paris. “The promise was very exciting for me, it gave me the final approval that I am Israeli,” he said in a special interview with Ynet.

“Now that it is official, I can do what I do with all my heart, without feeling any discrimination or having a bitter taste in my mouth. This state is obvious to everyone, but it is significant to me. It limited my options and made me feel like a second-class citizen in a place that I consider home. “

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Fatima Fay Jakite

(Photo: Gilad Sasporta)

Just before setting out to conquer the world, a unique fashion production created by photographer Gilad Sasporta marks the return of the glamorous events in his life. “This production symbolizes my identity. It shows how much I have experienced here in Israeli daily life during my childhood, until today,” he said.

The two embarked on a journey between the different events of their lives in the Jewish state, filmed with photographs from their private album, such as their fifth birthday with their father, their first day of school, their military service and the mermaid of the Memorial. Day, as a backdrop. “I live the Israeli culture with every square inch of my organs and I hope the message passes through the images,” says Jakite.

About three months ago, Jakite’s citizenship was caught between the wheels of both the Israeli and Congolese bureaucracy. In the last stage of the process, Israel asked him to disregard his Congolese citizenship in order to receive Israeli citizenship.

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Fatima Fay Jakite with the background of a childhood photo

(Photo: Gilad Sasporta)

This type of application is not required of Jews who came from other countries, and they can maintain dual citizenship under the “Law of Return,” which gives Jews the right to come to live in Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship. “I was very upset that I had to renounce my Congolese citizenship, it was the last document that connected me to my roots, even though I was born here,” she said.

In 2019, the removal of his citizenship began in the Congo, but like many countries in Africa, he encountered a particularly difficult and complicated bureaucracy. “Cancellation of a citizenship can only be done through the Department of Justice in Congo, not through the embassy in Israel.”

As a result, he hired a local lawyer, who took the money and disappeared and even paid bribes to Congolese officials to expedite the case. But then, the COVID-19 pandemic started and the Congo replaced his government, and he had to start the whole process all over again.

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Fatima Fay Jakite in the background of the Memorial Day mermaid photo

(Photo: Gilad Sasporta)

“At one point I gave up and thought about canceling the whole process. Today, I don’t seek acceptance like I once did, but in the past, all I wanted was to be a part of the culture, be it joining the IDF or win first place on the Tel Aviv quiz, or be a young black woman who knows more about the history of Israel than the Israelis. My story is similar to that of other people in my situation who love Israel and can contribute a lot to it.

“It is important that the country recognize and give an opportunity to these people, as well as the community of Hebrew Israelites in Dimona, who have enlisted and contributed to the country.”

From the time Jakite lived in Israel as a permanent resident. It granted him an identification card, but no other civil rights. She was also ineligible for an Israeli passport, which prevented her from leaving Israel and entering other countries, and she had to apply for a special visa every time she had to do modeling work abroad. Furthermore, he was not allowed to vote in the general elections (but he was allowed to vote in the municipal ones).

Jakite is the first member of his family to become a citizen, which will likely make it easier for the rest of the family to go through the process in the future. “I hope I can help my parents obtain citizenship as well,” he said.

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Fatima Fay Jakite

(Photo: Gilad Sasporta)

“After the colonial powers left Africa, the continent was wounded and bleeding, and no one took responsibility for their actions. People came here because they wanted to survive.”

However, Jakite understands that the country has its reasons for making the process of obtaining citizenship so burdensome.

“There are immigration problems and Israel wants to protect itself, but I did not choose to be born here, it just happened, Israel is my home. I live and work here, I represent the country as a model, and I have been here for 25 years.”



Reference-www.ynetnews.com

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