Thomas Schmidt’s Boyfriend Died In Tel Aviv GLBT Center Shooting. Now Israel Wants Him Gone, Too

Thomas Schmidt, a 27-year-old German living in Israel, who has little connection to his family back home, lost his 26-year-old partner Nir Katz [pictured, both] in 2009’s Tel Aviv GLBT community center shooting rampage. Katz was a counselor there. Now Schmidt is about to lose his home: Israel is trying to deport him. UPDATE: They’re letting him stay.

Living in the country with temporary resident papers, Schmidt was notified by the Interior Ministry he has until the end of the month to return to Germany after living in Israel for six years. The agency already extended his visa by nine months.

Katz’s family has the back of the partner to their late loved one. Katz’s mother Ayala appealed on his behalf to government officials; she didn’t have any luck. “My whole life is in Israel. My friends, my job, my family,” says Schmidt, who says he’s intent on fighting the ruling any way possible.

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  • chpinnlr

    Had he been Katz’s legal widower, would this be an issue?

  • Cam


    No, Isreal recognizes gay marriages performed outside Isreal but are still working on legalizing their own gay marraiges there.

  • Kieran

    Meanwhile the terrorist scumbags who murdered and wounded young Jewish gays have been walking around freely in Israel more than a year after this homophobic attrocity. Where’s the vaunted Mossad when you need them? The fact that the murderers haven’t been hunted down yet sends a chilling message that gay lives are cheap in Israel.

  • IDAHO Israel Havana

    You have mistaken in the photos, since both photos are of Nir Kats and not of Thomas, please take care about that.

    There is a news item we published this morning in Israel’s IDAHO website (Havana) , it’s in Hebrew but you can have the auto Google’s translate for that (it’s not so perfect, but better than nothing… or if you know Hebrew…)

    An English item posted today on Ynet, Israel biggest newspaper’s website –,7340,L-4026119,00.html


  • Cam

    Not quite as cheap as they are in Palestine where gays are rounded up, tortoured and jailed by the govt.

    After the shooting at a rally the president Isreal spoke about tolerance. That wouldn’t have happened in any other country surrounding them, so yes, the shooting was horrible, but saying gay lives are cheap when they are allowed in the military, and foreign gay marriages are recognized seems a bit out of context.

  • Rick Gold

    The Jews are now deporting Germans.

  • Jon B

    I’m a little confused… if he’s Jewish, he can very easily get citizenship… so snip the tip and learn some torah, and acquire a taste for Manishewitz.

    On a more serious note. These stories are obviously sad. And, in the cases where a couple is married, or is being kept from being married, I would agree that it is unfair to deport the person. However, many people are in committed relationships and don’t feel like getting married… it doesn’t say anything about this couple getting married. Countries have to have immigration laws. Sometimes sad shit happens, but countries can’t make personalized exceptions all the time. There are ways to go about becoming a citizen. I’m sure he’s eligible.

  • edgyguy1426

    @IDAHO Israel Havana: Mistakes like this are common here. Perhaps a reason why one SHOULDN’T vote for Queerty as blog of the year

  • CHIP1218

    It’s a shame they never got married. My partner and I are citizens of different countries, I’m American and he’s European (multiple citizenships). I spoke with the Israeli consulate, and if we get married outside of Israel, we can emigrate as a couple since I’m eligible to claim Israeli citizenship. One can argue that Israel is much more progressive than the USA when it comes to bi-national same sex couples.

  • Mike

    @Rick Gold. LOL! Best comment of the day!

  • ChiGuy76

    @Jon B: I don’t think the “Law of Return” applies to converts to Judaism, only to those born into the faith. So citizenship would not be automatic for Mr. Schmidt. Oddly enough, those who were born Jews but who have converted to other faiths are still eligible to seek Israeli citizenship if they so desire.

    Also, countries make exceptions all the time to their immigration laws. I’m sure Mr. Schmidt should be eligible for that. He’s lived and worked in Israel for six years. It does not sound like he’s not dependent on the government or anyone else for financial support and even has the backing of his in-laws. Being a productive member of a society is generally grounds for making an exception to the law.

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