Staff members 'sacked' after 'Israel' is scrubbed off Jewish baby's birth certificate on passport application

22 February 2024, 00:23 | Updated: 22 February 2024, 00:30

The baby's birth certificate was damaged in a passport application
The baby's birth certificate was damaged in a passport application. Picture: Handout
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Members of staff from a private company working for the Home Office have been 'sacked' after a Jewish baby's UK birth certificate was defaced.

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North London parents Israel and Dorin were applying for a passport for their daughter and were shocked to see his place of birth, Israel, had been scribbled out, and part of the certificate ripped.

The Passport Office, which is responsible for issuing passports in the UK, is a division of the Home Office. The birth certificate is now invalid and the couple have to wait to have a new version sent.

The Home Office launched an investigation after it emerged that the document had been defaced, with some members of staff now suspended as it continues.

The couple have three children together
The couple have three children together. Picture: Handout

Israel told LBC News that his wife's first reaction was: "'Why my baby, which is not six months old yet, needs to suffer such discrimination because of where her father was born?'

"She felt very upset about that," he said.

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Israel said that the episode had made him and his wife, who have three children, consider their future in the UK.

He said: "We are here in the UK, it should be a place for everyone....what came yesterday to our post made us think, maybe this is not the right place for us? Maybe we just need to pack up and go to our only land?"

Israel said that he wanted a formal apology from the Home Office to his daughter. He added: "She's not six months old yet and she's already suffered discrimination on her ethnic background."

He said that the person who defaced the birth certificate person "decided to take his personal opinion into the workplace, which is paid from our taxes, and the person failed to serve us as a public sector worker."

Israel added that while he wasn't comparing the incident to the Holocaust, it gave him an insight into how its victims may have felt.

He said: "It reminds me of that era when my grandparents needed to flee from the Netherlands and Germany because they cannot be there as a Jew....it feels like a systemical discrimination.

"We don't feel safe over here. Now I understand my grandparents who fled from Europe, how they feel."

James Cleverly
James Cleverly. Picture: Alamy

Israel earlier told MailOnline that incident made him and his wife feel "as if we had been taken back to 1930's Germany where the Nazis would put notes on Jewish people's documentation.

He said he wanted the government to apologise, and for the person behind the vandalism to be removed from their position.

Israel added: "Unfortunately this birth certificate is not valid any more because it's been scribbled on. So this person has destroyed my child's identity, their birth certificate, just because it's a Jewish person.

"We are terrified because if this is the environment within the Home Office this is not a place we want to live. We are just as British as everyone else."

Ripped posters showing kidnapped Israeli victims of the 7th October 2023 attack by Hamas on a north London phonebox - taken January
Ripped posters showing kidnapped Israeli victims of the 7th October 2023 attack by Hamas on a north London phonebox - taken January. Picture: Alamy

The Campaign against Antisemitism said: "Two weeks ago, a member of the public sent off a passport application to @ukhomeoffice for his six-month-old baby girl.

"Today, the birth certificate was returned ripped with the word 'Israel' scribbled out. The parents are understandably very concerned about this incident.

"We are asking the Home Office to investigate how this happened. The Home Office has responsibility for law enforcement and the security of the Jewish community."

Home Secretary James Cleverly said in response that he had "asked Home Office officials "to investigate this urgently and will see that appropriate action is taken."

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It comes amid an explosion in anti-Semitism in the UK, according to a report by the Community Security Trust (CST), which provides security to Jewish institutions in the UK.

The group said that there were 4,103 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK in 2023, up from the previous annual record of 2,261 incidents which had been reported two years previously.

CST said in its report, released last week, that much of this was driven by Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza.

Policing minister Chris Philp said the report made for "deeply disturbing reading".

"There is no excuse for the behaviour outlined in the CST report, or seen in some of the shocking incidents that have occurred recently," he told the Commons.

"Whenever and wherever criminality involving antisemitism occurs, this government expects police to fully investigate the incident, and work with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Discussing the latest incident, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: "This is completely unacceptable. When sending off a passport application to the Home Office, the last thing one should ever expect is to have their child's birthday certificate returned, torn, with the parent's place of birth scribbled out, just because it is the Jewish state.

"We are assisting the parents, who are understandably very concerned about this incident. We are also asking the Home Office to investigate how this happened.

"The Home Office has responsibility for law enforcement and the security of the Jewish community and the wider public. Confidence in the authorities among British Jews is at painfully low levels and must be restored."