A far-right lawmaker tapped to serve as the next minister of immigration and absorption called on Wednesday to amend a law granting automatic Israeli citizenship to Jews and some of their descendants.
“It looks like the law of return needs to be fixed somehow,” Religious Judaism MK Ofir Sofer told Army Radio, without elaborating why.
Sofer said he needed to take on the role of first minister, “and know all the details – I know the issues, but when I study them in depth I can address them differently.”
When asked about the controversial “grandparent clause”, by which anyone with a Jewish grandparent can be granted Israeli citizenship as long as they follow another religion, Sofer said that it was “too complicated” and that they would need a “grace period”. So that it can be studied more deeply.
Many immigrants to Israel, especially and not only from the former Soviet Union, obtain citizenship under this aspect of the Law of Return.
The religious parties in the expected new government – Shas, United Torah Judaism, Otzma Yehudit, Noam and Religious Zionism – and at least one MP in incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party support repealing the grandson clause, leaving only Immigration is restricted to those born. Jewish parents.
Such a change is viewed positively by those who want to limit the number of immigrants who are not considered Jews under the Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law, which only recognizes matrilineal descent. Doron Almog, president of the Jewish agency that promotes immigration to Israel, warned that restricting Jewish immigration could alienate the Jewish diaspora.
Likud is expected to oppose the move to scrap the grandfather clause, despite the demand by its allies, the Cannes public broadcaster reported last week. Likud is the largest party in a far-right religious bloc that won a majority of Knesset seats in the November 1 election and is now in talks to form the next government.
Asked in an interview on Sunday about possible amendments to the Law of Return, Netanyahu said,DoubtThe law will be changed but did not categorically rule it out.
a senior Likud lawmaker on Tuesday warning Amending the grandchild clause in any way may lead to the end of the entire law of returns.