ISRAEL - Potential Change in Aliyah Law

Arno Froese

Since 1970, the law, and its accompanying aliyah benefits, have applied to anyone with a Jewish grandparent. One of the reasons was that the Nuremberg Laws of the Nazis applied to anyone with a Jewish grandparent.

Now, Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich wants to change the law to apply only to anyone with a Jewish parent. According to Halacha, only someone with a Jewish mother is considered Jewish.

The bill is supported by Israelis across the political and religious spectrum, Smotrich said. But it is opposed by the governing coalition, Yisrael Beytenu, Yesh Atid and Meretz and is unlikely to pass, even if haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Shas and United Torah Judaism MKs violate coalition discipline and vote for it.

“I love the immigrants and am happy they are with us, but that has nothing to do with bringing hundreds of thousands of non-Jews to Israel,” Smotrich wrote on Facebook. “We have a responsibility for the future of the Jewish people, for the future of our existence.”

“Continuing to bring non-Jews to Israel who have no connection to Judaism due to the grandchild clause could cause severe assimilation in the future, endanger the continuity of the Jewish people and cancel the Jewish majority and character of the state,” he said.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, who was born in what is now Moldova, warned that changing the law would increase rifts inside Israeli society. The law, including the Jewish grandparent clause, was supported in the past by top religious-Zionist leaders in the Knesset, he said.

Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov, who was born in Birobidzhan, Russia, and moved to Israel with his family at age 11, wrote a letter to Yamina head Naftali Bennett, urging him to remove the bill from the Knesset’s agenda.

“The Nazis didn’t care about Jewish law when they came to take Jews to concentration camps,” he wrote. “Anyone Jewish enough to be sent to concentration camps should be Jewish enough to make aliyah to the land of Israel.”, 25 August 2020

Arno's commentary

In 1970, Israel’s population was barely 3 million. Today, it’s almost 10 million. The Jewish percentage of the population has increased from 67.4% in the year 2000 to 74% today. Quite apparently, the new law need not be implemented. Besides, many new immigrants have adapted well in Israel, and from reliable sources, we gather that many go through the conversion process and become Jews later. 

The good news is that an increasing number of Israelis are finding out that Jesus was and is the Messiah of Israel. From the local church in Haifa, where Beth Shalom and Ebenezer Home are located, we are told that the available space is utilized to full capacity. That’s a problem many other churches, particularly in the West, would love to have. The prophet Ezekiel concludes his book by listing the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: “And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali” (Ezekiel 48:31-34).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety