Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Israel: Chief Rabbi wants to change Jewish Law of Return

Matthew Wagner:

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar has proposed amending the Law of Return so that converts to all three principal streams of Judaism - Reform, Conservative and Orthodox - would no longer be eligible for automatic Israeli citizenship.

In an interview with Israel Radio Tuesday morning, Amar commented on his proposal.

"We don't want a situation where the Law of Return and the rights that it grants are being used indiscriminately," Amar said. "[The proposal] relates to the conversion aspect of the Law of Return, and to those who convert. They are able to come as citizens through other laws, and that is fine. They can come and request citizenship. There are a lot of people that do this, and of course they will be considered."

If Amar's proposal is approved by the Knesset, only Jews born to a Jewish mother or other relatives of Jews currently covered by the Law of Return would be entitled to automatic citizenship.

Sources close to Amar said the proposal was presented to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday in the hope that the cabinet would sponsor it as a bill in the Knesset.

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