In a letter addressed to the heads of the frum parties in the Israeli Knesset, Harav Yitzchak Yehuda Yaroslavsky appealed that they keep their promises regarding fixing the ‘Who is a Jew’ law.
By Anash.org reporter
A leopard can’t change its spots, but can a politician keep a promise?
In a letter addressed to the heads of the frum political parties in the Israeli Knesset, Harav Yitzchak Yehuda Yaroslavsky, senior rov of the Beis Din Rabbonei Chabad in Eretz Yisroel, urged them to keep their promise to fix aspects of the ‘Who is a Jew’ law.
The letter, dated 23 Tammuz, was addressed to Rabbi Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas party, Rabbi Yitzhak Goldknopf, leader of the United Torah Judaism party, and Betzalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, heads of the Religious Zionist Party.
The letter addresses the ‘grandchild clause’ in the law of return, the law which allows Jews an automatic right to become a citizen of Israel. The “grandchild clause” is a nickname for section 4(a) of the Law of Return, which grants children and grandchildren of Jews, even if not Jewish themselves, the right to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.
Many thousands of individuals who are not halachically Jewish have been granted citizenship in Israel due to this clause, an idea that the Rebbe strongly fought against. Attempts to amend the law over many decades have failed, and the ‘grandchild clause’ remained in effect.
Prior to the formation of the current Israeli government, the frum parties included a requirement to fix the law in their coalition agreements. Finally, there was hope that a decades-old wrong would be corrected.
Unfortunately, the agreement remained just that, with no action seen on the horizon. Even when politicians began discussing bringing the bill to a vote, massive pressure on PM Bibi Netanyahu and others managed to stall any step forward.
In his letter, Harav Yaroslavsky reminded the politicians of their agreement and urged them to at upon them.
“It is known how much damage this wretched law has caused, leading to assimilation both in Eretz Yisroel and in the diaspora,” he wrote. “Especially now, when there are plans to bring hundreds of thousands of non-Jews to make ‘aliya.’ The data from the past year alone show the great damage this law causes.”
“I am turning to you, heads of the political parties in the coalition, to ensure that this coalition agreement is kept, and to immediately pass a law to fix the clause. Especially since this colation has the ability to do so, ‘And who knows, perhaps you have attained to royal position for just such a time.’
“There is no doubt that fixing this important issue, which is so relevant and timely, will bring great bracha to the government and strengthen it in every way,” he wrote.