Israeli Panel Recommends New Status for ‘Emerging Jewish Communities’
JNS.org – An Israeli Diaspora Affairs Ministry panel this week recommended the creation of a new status for people with Jewish roots, or belonging to “emerging Jewish communities,” who do not currently qualify to immigrate to Israel under the country’s Law of Return.
The new status recommended by the government panel would apply to tens of thousands of people who have Jewish ancestry, and members of various communities around the world who have adopted Jewish practices.
Members of these communities — from countries such as Madagascar, Nicaragua and Uganda — often view themselves as Jews and in many cases have completed a full conversion process, but still may not be considered Jews by the broader Jewish world.
Under the committee’s recommendation, a new visa category would be created that would enable members of these communities to remain in Israel for significantly longer than is permitted by the three-month tourist visas currently issued to them, enabling them to further explore Judaism and Israel at newly established cultural centers.
Currently, Israel’s Law of Return only grants citizenship to individuals who can prove they have one Jewish grandparent.