Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Israeli court rules Israeli citizenship based on Jewish descent not religion or birthplace

- 16 May 2012

In Haifa District Court on Tuesday the judge ruled that whether a person is an Israeli citizen is determined by whether that person is of Jewish descent, i.e. born to a Jewish mother following halachic law, and not by their place of birth or whether they are by religion Jewish or not.

Haaretz reports that the Haifa District Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal submitted by Professor Uzzi Ornan who has sought to compel Israel’s Interior Ministry to recognize his citizenship based on the fact that he was born in Israel rather than on the grounds that he is Jewish. Prof Ornan claims no religious faith but was born in what is now Israel.

In his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Daniel Fisch said that it is without doubt that the petitioner, Prof Uzzi Ornan, was born to a Jewish mother and is therefore Jewish, which the law of return states as the source of his citizenship.

The judge referred to previous rulings that “a Jew is anyone born to a Jewish mother or that has converted and is not of another religion.”

It is unclear what impact this will have on the Christian, Muslim and atheist citizens of Israel, which constitute around twenty percent of Israel’s population.

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