Tags: Israel | Religion | israel | immigration | aliyah | jewish

More Than One-Third of Israel's Immigrants 'Not Jewish'

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By    |   Wednesday, 25 December 2019 08:53 AM

More than one-third of the immigrants entering Israel since 2012 are not considered by the state as Jewish, and among immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who represent the majority coming in recent years, the percentage is significantly higher, according to figures published Tuesday by the Interior Ministry's Population Registry. 

The ministry does not normally publish the figures, reports Haaretz, but had been forced to release them after a Freedom of Information request was made by Hiddush, which advocates for religious freedom in the country. 

The initial figures, however, were reported as being much higher, but the errors Hiddush posted Monday were quickly picked up on by organizations active in immigration, or aliyah, matters. 

The Interior Ministry retracted the information, saying the numbers were under revision. For example, the original data claimed that 86% of immigrants during the past 8 years were not recognized as being Jewish, including 70% of immigrants coming from the United States. 

According to the figures after the update:

  • 61% of immigrants from Russia since 2012 and 66% from Ukraine were not considered Jewish;
  • 5% from the United States not considered Jewish:
  • 4% from France.

Over the period in question, 199,876 immigrants were named as Israeli citizens under the Law of Return, which gives Jews the right to come and live in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship. However, 37.5% were registered as not being Jewish.

To qualify under the law, an immigrant must have either been born to a Jewish mother or converted to the religion through a recognized Jewish community. 

However, all converts are registered as being Jewish in the Population registry, but if they were not converted by rabbis approved by the Orthodox-run Chief Rabbinate, they can't marry other Jews in Israel. No exact figures were provided by the Interior Ministry about how many people that affected. 

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More than one-third of the immigrants entering Israel since 2012 are not considered by the state as Jewish,
israel, immigration, aliyah, jewish
Wednesday, 25 December 2019 08:53 AM
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