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Opposition MKs Criticize the Grandchild Clause Change as “Damaging Israel-Diaspora Relations”

By 12/14/2022 1:40 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

The departing coalition’s MKs called for an urgent Knesset meeting, arguing that eliminating the “grandchild clause” would “profoundly harm the Israel-Diaspora connection.”

One of the main demands of all the religious groups is the repeal of the contentious provision that grants Israeli citizenship to anyone with one Jewish grandparent.

These parties believe that because the clause promotes non-Jewish immigration, it threatens Israel’s status as a Jewish state.

More than 70% of recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union do not identify as halachically Jewish.

Many Likud legislators support the proposal, but it’s not certain if all of them would vote to remove the provision.

Politicians from the outgoing coalition have vehemently opposed the proposal, as have top leaders of international Jewish organizations like the Jewish Agency and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who have warned that such a move could harm Israel’s ties to communities in the Diaspora irreparably.

Reform rabbi Gilad Kariv of Labor and Yesh Atid’s Vladimir Beliak and Yisrael Beitenu’s Evgeny Sova were some of the meeting’s organizers.

The proposed legislation, according to speakers, would alienate the world’s Jews, including even second-generation Jewish children, who would lose interest in Israel if their offspring were unable to obtain citizenship there.

Whoever raises a hand in opposition to the “grandchild clause” is speaking out against the Jewish people’s destiny, according to Kariv.

Labor party leader Merav Michaeli issued a similar caution, stating that such a move would alienate many individuals who identify as Jews and have ties to Israel and Judaism.

“The Jewish people can enter through the Law of Return. Who would close that door to most Jews? “said her.

Kariv emphasized that the criteria for citizenship cannot be the same as those for determining whether somebody is a Jew.

Zeev Elkin, a Ukrainian immigrant member of the National Unity party, claimed that many Jews in the former Soviet Union believe they are Jews because of their names, even though they were born to non-Jewish mothers and are not halachically Jewish.

According to Jewish law, if you encounter someone in the former Soviet Union with a Jewish name, they probably aren’t Jewish.

However, they claim to be Jewish. Go ahead and inform them that they cannot enter,” he commanded.

Elkin continued, “Changing the Law of Return is dramatic, and it’s crucial to understand the implications.

“Every non-Orthodox Jewish community in the Diaspora will be affected by this,”

Other conference participants echoed this theme, saying that after a few years in Israel, the overwhelming majority of immigrants, even children of interfaith marriages, consider themselves “part of the Jewish people.”

MK Evgeny Sova argued that children of interfaith marriages should be encouraged to come to Israel as this would “strengthen their Jewish identity.”

The participants stated their apprehension that Avi Maoz from Noam would be in charge of Nativ, the agency in charge of managing immigration from the former Soviet Union.

Participants suggested that Maoz would use his control over Nativ, part of his new job as the arbiter of Jewish identity in Israel, to remove the “grandchild clause” and oppose immigration by non-Jews. Maoz, who previously spearheaded immigration work, has spoken out against it.

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