Presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party will oppose a demand from far-right and religious parties to abolish the so-called grandchild clause in the Law of Return, according to a Wednesday report.

The parties that submitted the request during coalition talks — the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties and the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties — believe the decision was made by Likud to avoid compromising Israel-Diaspora relations, the Kan public broadcaster said.

The report said the parties were weighing their options and considering whether or not to insist on this legislative move as part of their ongoing negotiations with Likud.

The “grandchild clause” in the Law of Return allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to immigrate freely to Israel so long as they do not practice another religion. Many immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union obtain their citizenship under this clause.

Responding to the report, Matan Kahana, a National Unity MK who led the Religious Services Ministry in the outgoing government, insisted that in light of the number of non-Jews who immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, the process of official conversion to Judaism must be streamlined, and noted that he had tried and failed to accomplish this during his tenure.

“Leaving the ‘grandchild clause’ as it is without addressing the issue of conversion will harm the Jewish identity of Israel (today, only 3,000 out of half a million candidates convert!),” Kahana tweeted.

“I’ve suggested that local authority rabbis be authorized to convert but apparently, the Rabbinate doesn’t trust the very rabbis *it has trained.* For God’s sake, we must find a way to significantly increase conversion according to Jewish law,” he said.

Chairman of the Jewish Agency Doron Almog has warned that restricting Jewish immigration could alienate the Jewish diaspora.

“We believe that it is critical to ensure our relations with world Jewry remain intact, and that the everlasting commitment to enable Jews from all corners of the globe to make aliyah must be upheld,” Almog said in a statement earlier this month.

The Jewish Agency is on the record as supporting the Law of Return and dedicates a significant portion of its resources to encouraging all those who meet Israel’s citizenship eligibility requirements — including no small number of “grandchildren” — to immigrate to Israel.

The proposal to amend the Law of Return joins several contentious religion-and-state demands made during coalition negotiations thus far, which have included revoking state recognition of non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism and overturning — at least in part — reforms to Israel’s kashrut authorities that were made under Kahana.

Meanwhile, Avi Maoz, the single lawmaker of the fringe Noam party and one of the Knesset’s most far-right politicians, is set to become the next government’s head of “Jewish identity,” following an agreement signed Sunday with Netanyahu.

Maoz, who holds non-pluralist Jewish views and anti-LGBT, sexist, and anti-Arab positions, has also said he wants to constrain eligibility for Jewish immigration to Israel by amending the Law of Return.

With control over that office, Maoz could make the process of proving eligibility for citizenship far more cumbersome than it already is and impose a higher barrier to entry that would keep out applicants when there is some ambiguity or uncertainty over their Jewish familial connection.

He could not, however, unilaterally amend the law. Maoz said Monday he would follow the law when he assumes responsibility for the liaison organization to former Soviet Jewry, which he is to be granted in his coalition deal.

Netanyahu, whose bloc won 64 of the 120 Knesset seats on November 1, officially received a mandate to form a government on November 13, giving him 28 days to assemble a majority coalition. If he needs more time, he could seek a 14-day extension from President Isaac Herzog.

Carrie Keller-Lynn and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Hebrew news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

QOSHE - Likud said to oppose demand to abolish ‘grandchild clause’ in Law of Return - Toi Staff
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Likud said to oppose demand to abolish ‘grandchild clause’ in Law of Return

23 7 1
30.11.2022

Presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party will oppose a demand from far-right and religious parties to abolish the so-called grandchild clause in the Law of Return, according to a Wednesday report.

The parties that submitted the request during coalition talks — the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties and the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties — believe the decision was made by Likud to avoid compromising Israel-Diaspora relations, the Kan public broadcaster said.

The report said the parties were weighing their options and considering whether or not to insist on this legislative move as part of their ongoing negotiations with Likud.

The “grandchild clause” in the Law of Return allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to immigrate freely to Israel so long as they do not practice another religion. Many immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union obtain their citizenship under this clause.

Responding to the report, Matan Kahana, a National Unity MK who led the Religious Services Ministry in the outgoing government, insisted that in light of the number of non-Jews who immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, the process of official conversion to Judaism must be streamlined, and noted that he had tried and failed to accomplish this during his tenure.

“Leaving the ‘grandchild clause’ as it is without addressing the issue of conversion will harm the Jewish........

© The Times of Israel


Get it on Google Play