After a major controversy surrounding Eliya Haliwa, who was exposed as a Lebanese non-Jew after marrying a Syrian Jewish girl from Brooklyn last October, it is now being said that Haliwa is actually Jewish.
Rav Avraham Reich of the Hatzalas Yisrael community in Brooklyn has claimed that Haliwa has in fact been Jewish all along. An expert in the investigation of the yichus of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the Rav revealed on Zev Brenner’s Talkline program on Motzei Shabbos that he thoroughly investigated Haliwa’s background and spoke with his mother, who admitted that she and her mother are Jewish. Rav Reich also spoke with Haliwa’s grandmother in Lebanon.
He also said that Haliwa still underwent giyur l’chumra since there weren’t four consecutive generations in the family who were shomer Torah u’mitvos and therefore giyur l’chumra was required. Rav Reich didn’t want to reveal who served on the Beis Din for various reasons but said that he himself witnessed the giyur l’chumra process and confirmed that Haliwa is a kosher Jew l’mehadrin.
As it now stands, Haliwa wants to return to his wife since ultimately his marriage was completely kosher since he is Jewish.