Shalit Case

   In 1968, Benjamin (Binyamin) Shalit, an Israeli-born Jewish naval officer married to a non-Jew abroad, applied to have his two children registered by the Israeli government as Jews. The request was denied by the Interior Ministry, which wanted to leave blank both the "religion" and "nationality" categories of the children's registration cards due to the fact that, having been born to a non-Jewish mother, they were not Jewish according to Halacha. Shalit, himself an atheist, was prepared to leave the religious category blank, but he wanted his children registered as being of the Jewish nation. The supreme court, by a 5-to-4 decision, supported Shalit's request. The Knesset, under pressure from the National Religious Party, subsequently amended the Law of Return to read that a Jew is one born of a Jewish mother or a woman converted to Judaism according to Halacha. This amended legislation caused the court to deny a second request by Shalit in 1972 to register his third child as a member of the Jewish nation.
   See also Aliya; Who is a Jew.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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