The Judaism and State Policy Center at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem is set to release a policy paper suggesting minor changes to Israel’s Law of Return.
Passed by the Knesset on July 5, 1950, and published in Sefer HaChukkim (Book of Laws) No. 51, p. 159., the Law of Return originally allowed people who were Jewish, or who had Jewish grandparents, to immigrate to Israel and automatically become citizens.
The law was amended in 1970 to say that people with at least one Jewish grandparent or someone who is married to a Jew, whether or not they are considered Jewish under Jewish law, can also automatically receive citizenship.
The paper will suggest distinguishing between three “circles” that pertain to personal status.
“The first or second circles of non-Israeli citizens will be entitled to a ‘Diaspora Jews visa’ that will allow entry to Israel at any time and stay[ing] in the country for up to three years. By offering such a visa, the third circle basically opens the doors of Israel to Diaspora Jews, in order to obtain temporary status in Israel, even without the issuance of citizenship”, Tani Frank, director of the Judaism and State Policy Center at the Hartman Institute told The Jerusalem Post.
The Law of Return “actually determines the legal context of how the Israeli legislature views Diaspora Jewry. Our proposed law will state that all of these mentioned people are welcome to make aliyah but will not automatically receive citizenship. They can of course become citizens, but through a gradual procedure, or residence visa,” he explained.
Frank and his team suggest offering these descendants of Jews a “graded procedure” that is similar to the Law of Entry into Israel for those who are not Jewish. For example, an Israeli with a non-Jewish spouse from abroad who wants to live in Israel doesn’t receive citizenship automatically.
Since the last modification to the law was made more than 50 years ago, and a lot of things have changed in the world; the Center noted that it might just be time to make the amendments.
Source: Jerusalem Post
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