All Israel

Jewish believer denied permission to immigrate to Israel due to belief in Jesus

The coalition has expressed a desire to change the Law of Return to prevent non-Orthodox Jews from immigrating

Illustrative: Former Minister of Interior Affairs Aryeh Deri visits at Interior Ministry office (Misrad Hapnim) in the Ultra Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, June 28, 2016. Photo by Yaakov Cohen/Flash90

A 75-year-old U.S. citizen and descendant of Holocaust victims has been denied the right to immigrate to Israel and, instead, ordered to leave the country due to his belief in Jesus.

Ron, who asked to use only his first name for security reasons, submitted his petition to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel) in 2019 under the Law of Return, following his retirement.

Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA) denied his application, specifically mentioning it was due to his belief in Yeshua (Jesus). PIBA also accused Ron of planning to do missionary work in Israel.

Ron said he had often dreamt of moving to Israel after his retirement and that the ongoing rise of antisemitism in the U.S. convinced him of the need to do so quickly.

According to the Law of Return, Ron is entitled to immigrate under the category of Jewish ancestry, as he is the descendant of a Jewish father.

He did not request to immigrate as a Jew, but rather as a Jewish descendant, as he is not considered Jewish under rabbinic law because his mother was a Gentile Christian.

The Law of Return, originally passed in 1950, allows any descendant of at least one Jewish grandparent to immigrate to Israel.

The law was later amended in 1970 to declare that those who voluntarily converted to another religion, including Christianity, were not eligible to immigrate.

However, the High Court, while upholding that ruling, also ruled in 2008 that descendants of Jewish fathers can immigrate to Israel, but not as Jews.

Ron, who noted his belief in Yeshua on his application, argues that he is eligible for immigration because he did not change his religion but grew up believing in Yeshua from childhood due to his mother’s faith.

“I grew up in New York,” Ron said. “As a kid, I thought everyone was either Jewish or Catholic.”

He said that he grew up identifying as a member of the Jewish people due to ethnicity, not religion.

“I knew my father was Jewish, and my mother wasn’t Catholic, so I considered myself Jewish.”

As an adult, Ron moved to Florida, where he encountered several incidents of antisemitism.

“I wear a t-shirt that says, ‘Child of a Holocaust survivor,’” Ron related. “One day this guy saw my shirt and started cursing at me, telling me, ‘Get off the street, you dirty Jew.’

Ron has been living in Israel while he awaited the results of his application

“This is the land of my forefathers. I want to live here. I feel comfortable here.”  

Ron has filed an appeal to the district court through his lawyer, Joshua Pex, regarding the Ministry of Interior's refusal to give an answer to Ron's appeal within the PIBA.

The hearing is scheduled for next week.

The issue of who is allowed to immigrate under the Law of Return has been a contentious one for some time in Israel.

As part of the coalition agreements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party agreed to create a committee to examine modifying or removing the “grandchild clause”.

The announcement of the agreement sparked a debate in Israel, including among supporters of the coalition. In particular, Likud has many supporters who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union through the “grandfather clause.”

The American Jewish community was also upset by the announcement, as many diaspora Jews belong to Conservative or Reform Jewish communities, which are also not considered “truly Jewish” by some Orthodox.

So far, the coalition has not advanced plans to amend the Law of Return.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories