Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

27 Ellul 5760 - September 27, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
More than 60% of the Russian Immigrants are Non-Jews
by Betzalel Kahn

60% of the people who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the year 2000 are not Jewish. This startling statistic emerged from statements made at a recent press conference by Minister Michael Melchior. Melchior proposed an alternative to Prime Minster Barak's "civil revolution." His proposal, however, is not much better.

While proposing an amendment to the Law of Return at a press conference, Melchior proposed cancellation of the "grandchild clause" in the Law of Return which enables a Jew's third- degree relatives to become olim.

Melchior said that although his plan does not conflict with Barak's, it is more "balanced." He stressed that his Meimad party would not support an unbalanced program whose sole purpose is to twist the arms of the chareidi religious populations. He also criticized the plan to operate El Al on Shabbos a few weeks prior to its privatization, calling this plan "contemptible."

Melchior says that he opposes commercial activity on Shabbos; however he does not oppose the Shabbos opening of entertainment concerns. He proposed that Sunday be declared the official day of rest, as in Europe and the United States. Melchior noted that the Shabbos opening of shopping centers causes social injustice, because those who work on Shabbos are mainly Arabs, Russian immigrants and people from the lower socio-economic levels.

Minister Melchior attacked the Prime Minister, saying that the manner in which Barak presented his plan to the public was a cause of distress in the religious-traditional sector. Among other things, Melchior suggests setting up an alternate course for marriage: the registration of "couples." He also said that a constitution should be enacted only after broad public deliberation on the issues with participation of all sectors of society.

A danger in Melchior's plan is his suggestion that the study of the Jewish and democratic values be stressed in all Jewish educational systems, including Torah systems. The curriculum will include compulsory civic studies, masked in a sinuous manner as "Jewish heritage, the history of the Jewish Nation and the State of Israel, and Holocaust and heroism awareness." The subsidy of educational institutions, he says, will proceed according to overt, equal criteria.

According to Melchior's plan, the entry on identity cards for nationality and religion will be deleted. He suggests that these be replaced by, "declared nationality" and "declared religion." Even first degree non-Jewish relatives of one who receives an immigration permit by dint of conversion will not automatically be eligible for aliyah under the Law of Return. He proposes that whenever a resident is listed as having undergone conversion -- in any framework whatsoever, either in Israel or abroad -- his conversion certificate be presented to the Census Bureau as a separate attachment. This proposal will enable the heretical movements to officially penetrate the Jewish Nation.


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