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Partner of slain Israeli gets visa extension

JTA

February 10, 2011 | 10:17 am

The partner of an Israeli man killed in an attack on a gay community center in Tel Aviv has been granted a temporary visa after being ordered deported.

Thomas Schmidt of Germany, who has lived in Israel for six years, was contacted Feb. 6 by Israel’s Interior Ministry to remind him that his visa offering him temporary resident status is expiring and he must leave the country by the end of the month, Ynet reported Wednesday.

But on Thursday, the ministry reversed its decision and told Ynet it will provide him with a new visa until his case is discussed and decided.

Schmidt, 27, was the partner of Nir Katz, who was killed in August 2009 in an attack on a community center for gay youth. Katz, a counselor, and a teenage girl were killed in the attack.

Schmidt has remained in close contact with the Katz family since his partner’s death. He has little contact with his family in Germany, according to the report.

The Katz family had appealed to the Interior Ministry to allow Schmidt, who came to Israel in 2004 as a volunteer, to remain in Israel. They told Ynet Thursday that they had received a phone message from the ministry saying that Schmidt would receive a new visa. His previous visa already had been extended by nine months.

“My whole life is in Israel—my friends, my job, my family,” he told Ynet.

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