Who is a Jew


Who is a Jew
   In 1950, the Knesset passed the Law of Return, granting any Jew immigrating (see ALIYA) to Israel the right to immediate citizenship. The law did not define a Jew and left it to the minister of interior to interpret the clause as he saw fit. In 1958, the then interior minister Yisrael Bar Yehuda issued a directive to ministry officials instructing them to register as Jewish any person who sincerely declared himself to be a Jew. The National Religious Party subsequently resigned from the government in protest over such a liberal ruling. In 1970, the Supreme Court of Israel ordered the Interior Ministry's registrar in Haifa to record as Jewish nationals the children of Binyamin Shalit (see SHALIT CASE), whose wife was not Jewish. The case aroused controversy and led to the amendment of the Law of Return defining a Jew as a "person born of a Jewish mother or who has been converted to Judaism and who does not profess another religion." Agudat Israel demanded that the amendment stipulate that the conversion be "according to halacha"—the formulation the religious parties have been fighting for ever since. Such a stipulation would exclude conversions by other than recognized Orthodox rabbis.
   Since then, the issue has come up after virtually every parliamentary election in coalition negotiations with the religious parties. In 1974, a compromise formula drafted by Rabbi Shlomo Goren, which called for conversion "according to the manner practiced and accepted among the Jewish people from generation to generation," failed to win support among religious and secular parties. Over the years, the religious parties have made numerous attempts to have their proposed amendment approved by the Knesset. All have failed, but the margin of defeat has narrowed. In June 1988, the effort was rejected by 60 votes to 53. During coalition negotiations over the establishment of the December 1988 government, it appeared that the religious parties might finally succeed, provoking an outcry of crisis proportions from world Jewry.
   When Sephardi Torah Guardians (SHAS) took over the Interior Ministry after the 1984 elections, there were several attempts to circumvent the Law of Return. Under Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz, Interior Ministry officials refused to register Shoshana Miller, an American-born Reform convert to Judaism, as Jewish. Miller appealed the case to the Supreme Court and won, prompting Peretz to resign. In the summer of 1989, the Supreme Court ordered the Interior Ministry to accept non-Orthodox converts to Judaism as immigrants according to the Law of Return and register them as Jews. The ruling on the registration of non-Orthodox converts came at a time when the Interior Ministry had begun to reverse its former practice of allowing such converts to come as immigrants, even though it did not register them as Jews. The ministry had excluded them by demanding that all conversion certificates must be validated by the local rabbinical courts, which accepted only Orthodox conversions. Other prominent cases have included the Brother Daniel case (1962), the status of the Falashas of Ethiopia, and the status of the Bnai Israel of India.
   The issue took on a new political imperative against the background of the arrival to Israel in the late 1980s and 1990s of some 750,000 new immigrants from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Ethiopia.
   See also Falash Mura.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Who is a Jew? — Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • Who is a Jew Law — law that made many angry waves due to the requirements that were determined in it for a person to be defined as being Jewish …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Jew — A Jew (Hebrew: יְהוּדִי, Yehudi (sl.); he. יְהוּדִים, Yehudim (pl.); Ladino: ג׳ודיו, Djudio (sl.); ג׳ודיוס, Djudios (pl.); Yiddish: ייִד, Yid (sl.); yi. ייִדן, Yidn (pl.)) [According to the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language …   Wikipedia

  • JEW — (Heb. יְהוּדִי, Yehudi). Semantics The word Jew passed into the English language from the Greek (Ioudaios) by way of the Latin (Judaeus), and is found in early English (from about the year 1000) in a variety of forms: Iudea, Gyu, Giu, Iuu, Iuw,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Jew Watch — URL: http://jewwatch.com Тип сайта: политический …   Википедия

  • Jew's harp — A modern Jew s harp …   Wikipedia

  • Jew — Jew, n. [OF. Juis, pl., F. Juif, L. Judaeus, Gr. ?, fr. ? the country of the Jews, Judea, fr. Heb. Y[e^]h[=u]d[=a]h Judah, son of Jacob. Cf. {Judaic}.] 1. Originally, one belonging to the tribe or kingdom of Judah; after the return from the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jew's frankincense — Jew Jew, n. [OF. Juis, pl., F. Juif, L. Judaeus, Gr. ?, fr. ? the country of the Jews, Judea, fr. Heb. Y[e^]h[=u]d[=a]h Judah, son of Jacob. Cf. {Judaic}.] 1. Originally, one belonging to the tribe or kingdom of Judah; after the return from the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jew's mallow — Jew Jew, n. [OF. Juis, pl., F. Juif, L. Judaeus, Gr. ?, fr. ? the country of the Jews, Judea, fr. Heb. Y[e^]h[=u]d[=a]h Judah, son of Jacob. Cf. {Judaic}.] 1. Originally, one belonging to the tribe or kingdom of Judah; after the return from the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Jew's pitch — Jew Jew, n. [OF. Juis, pl., F. Juif, L. Judaeus, Gr. ?, fr. ? the country of the Jews, Judea, fr. Heb. Y[e^]h[=u]d[=a]h Judah, son of Jacob. Cf. {Judaic}.] 1. Originally, one belonging to the tribe or kingdom of Judah; after the return from the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.