Israel’s refusal to accept nine South American Indians from Venezuela who claim to be “converted Jews” has once again highlighted the racially-based nature of the Jewish ethnostate’s immigration policies.
At the same time, Israel has taken in hundreds of Jews from Venezuela who can prove that they have racial Jewish ancestry.
Israeli Minister of the Interior, Arye Dery, has refused to allow Indian “converts” to Judaism to immigrate to Israel.
According to Israel’s Law of Return, Amendment number 2, 4a, only people of direct Jewish descent are allowed to settle in Israel. The law states:
The rights of a Jew under this Law and the rights of an oleh under the Nationality Law, as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment, are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his/her religion.
There is a provision for converted Jews to be allowed into Israel, but in practice the number of “converts” allowed in is tiny, and Israel’s rabbinate—who control all citizenship matters, including marriages—are on record as saying that they want this loophole closed.
Asked to comment about the decision to reject their applications, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency—the official body which organizes Jewish immigration to Israel, told the Haaretz newspaper that the “determination of eligibility for aliyah is the sole purview of the Ministry of the Interior.”
Currently, the Israeli Minister of the Interior is Arye Dery, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, which was founded by the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef—whose most famous pronouncement was that “non-Jews exist to serve Jews.”
A liberal rabbi in Israel who is in favor of letting the nine Indian converts into Israel was named by the Haaretz newspaper as Rabbi Andy Sacks.
Sacks openly admitted that the converts’ race was the reason why they had been denied entry, telling the newspaper that “it is all too common that issues of race and denominational affiliation play into the decisions made by the Interior Ministry.”
There is no mechanism for appealing decisions once they’ve been made, he said, and the Prime Minister’s Office has ignored requests that it intervene.
Earlier, it was reported that Jews in Venezuela are moving to Israel to “escape deepening poverty” in that South American country, which is in the midst of a severe economic crisis.
Official Israeli government figures show that 111 Venezuelan Jews made “aliyah,” the Hebrew term for immigration meaning “ascending,” to Israel in 2015, more than double the number who arrived in 2012.
And although final figures for 2016 are not in, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that works to bring Jews to Israel, said it had helped about 90 people immigrate. Between 6,000 and 9,000 Jews remain in the country of 30 million.
The Jewish Agency for Israel (the formal organization set up to facilitate Jewish immigration to the Jewish state), said that at least half of the 22,000 Jews in the country had already left—most going to the U.S.
Jews moving to Israel are entitled to a basket of benefits offered by the state, including greatly subsidized health care, free schooling, and discounts on apartment rentals and other goods.