Inquiry after 'Israel' scribbled out of baby's UK birth certificate

Anti-Semitism concerns rise after father's place of birth tampered with during passport application

UK Jewish community demands action as baby's birth certificate returned with a father's birth place crossed out. Getty Images
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The UK Home Office has announced an investigation into allegations that a baby's birth certificate was returned to the parents with the word “Israel” defaced.

The document, included with a passport application, was altered to remove the father's place of birth, raising concerns about anti-Semitism and the security of personal information handled by government agencies.

The mother's birthplace, also Israel, was untouched. The father's name, also Israel, was untouched.

“I felt horrendous when I saw it for the first time," the father told UK media.

“It took me a few more times to look at that and understand what's going on.”

Israel, who has three children, said it is “very hard” to be Jewish in the UK.

“I literally feel unsafe,” he said. “The baby isn’t even six months and is already suffering discrimination.”

A Home Office representative told The National: “The Home Secretary has asked officials to urgently investigate this matter and appropriate action will be taken.

“While the facts and circumstances are being established, it must be reiterated that this government will not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form.”

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a volunteer-led charity that has been vocal about this incident, posted the image of the defaced certificate online, stating that “The birth certificate was returned ripped with the word 'Israel' scribbled out.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly apologised to the family and said the department’s commercial partner has suspended some staff members.

On Wednesday evening Mr Cleverly posted on X: “We apologise to the family for the offence caused and I have ordered an urgent review of a birth certificate being defaced.

“The matter is totally unacceptable. We will not tolerate anti-Semitism.”

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said: “I just heard about it this morning. It's absolutely shocking and appalling, and we absolutely need to get to the bottom of what's happened.

“I know the Home Secretary is absolutely focused on taking action to address this.”

A representative for the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said the incident was "completely unacceptable".

“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 incident has sparked a broader conversation about the responsibilities of the Home Office in ensuring the security and respectful treatment of the Jewish community and the public at large.

With confidence among British Jews described as being at “painfully low levels", the need for a thorough investigation and decisive action has never been more critical.

According to the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, 80 per cent of British Jews feel that recent political events have resulted in increased hostility towards them.

It also said that 42 per cent of British Jews considered leaving Britain in the past two years because of anti-Semitism, 85 per cent of whom left as a result of anti-Semitism in politics.

Updated: February 21, 2024, 7:41 PM