Shalom. This is Michael Decker here from the offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh. Today I wanted to discuss a bit more about the law of return, and specifically about the rights of family members of Jews and regarding assimilation and Jews who became members of other religions.
First of all the law of the return was enacted in 1950, and upon its conception it was formulated in a new way whereby it stated that every Jew can immigrate to Israel. Following two Supreme Court cases, specifically a case of someone whose name was Daniel Refizen and someone else whose name was Benyamin Shalit in 1970, there were some political uprisings. The second amendment to the law of return was added and in this amendment, a Jew was defined in section 4 B to the law of return as someone who has a Jewish mother or a convert to Judaism and that this person is not a member of another religion. In addition, because a Jew was defined, and until then also family members were able to immigrate, they added an additional section called Section 4 AA to the law of return which basically stipulated that also a spouse of a Jew, a child of a Jew, a grandchild of a Jew, or the spouse of a child of a Jew or grandchild of a Jew can immigrate as well.
As time went by, the definition of who is a Jew was applied in practical cases. For example, there was the case of a petitioner whose name was Gary Bersfered who was Christian or he defines himself as Messianic Jewish. He tried to immigrate, and he argued that he is not a member of another religion and that his belief in the New Testament and Jesus does not constitute a change of religion. He submitted a petition to the Supreme Court, and he lost. It was defined that a Jew who basically adheres to the Christian religion changed his religion, and he's therefore not entitled to immigrate as a Jew in accordance with the law of return. However, this only applies to Jews. Family members of Jews should be able to immigrate to Israel regardless of their religious beliefs because they are defined as Jews to begin with. In addition, if someone has a Jewish mother that changed her religion before this person was born, this person could argue that he is not Jewish by definition either because his mother lost her Jewishness because she changed her religion. Therefore the child of the mother can immigrate as a non-Jewish grandchild of Jewish grandparents through the mother that changed her religion, but the grandparents did not change their religion. Practically people were actually given citizenship in cases like this, although the Interior Ministry did not like it.
The Interior Ministry tried to minimize the number of active members of other religions to immigrate to Israel as family members of Jews, and in the case of a petitioner whose name was Zeev Izzik, the Interior Ministry did not want to give citizenship due to the fact that he was an active missionary. Even though he claimed that he was not Jewish by definition because his mother changed her religion before he was born, his father was Jewish and did not change his religion, and his grandparents both on his father’s and his mother’s side were all Jewish. So he argued that because he's not Jewish by definition because his mother wasn't Jewish, because she changed her religion before he was born, he should be able to immigrate regardless of his religious affiliation and regardless of his religious activities. The Supreme Court headed by Justice Chanan Meltzer rejected his petition. The Supreme Court basically ruled that to grant citizenship to someone who is an active missionary and to someone whose mother was entitled to immigrate but lost her eligibility because she changed her religion would contradict the objective. This is basically the precedent set based on the Isaacs case.
As of today, if you're a family member of a Jew, you can immigrate if you're a member of another religion only if you have a Jewish parent or a Jewish grandparent. This is not the case if you have a parent who was a Jew and changed his religion, because that would break the chain. I hope that this was clear.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us. If you have any legal situation where you need help, you can also feel free to contact us.
<h4><a href='http://incline.media/Israeli-lawyer/Entitlement-of-family-members-of-Jews-for-status-In-Israel-under-the-Law-of-Return/2993'>Entitlement of family members of Jews for status In Israel under the Law of Return</a></h4><iframe class='mediaserv_video' src='//embed.mediaserv.solutions/?version=2&process=G0gHvULtumUcRr35HGplJ30gyDB4qF5vi7s7N34qDDydAdEWPuqkzwII7kcME6fDGFmxQAdMgChntmWk&logo=http://incline.media/user_upload/profileImages/-gIjddcWc4z.png&logo_href=http://incline.media/Israeli-lawyer' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen='true'></iframe><br /><span style='font-size: 10px;'>By <a href='http://incline.media/Israeli-lawyer'>Israeli lawyer</a> on <a href='http://incline.media'>Incline</a></span>