Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Kislev 5764 - December 17, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Thousands of Non-Jews Liable to be Assimilated in the Guise of Citizenship
by Betzalel Kahn

Yet another grave breach threatens to bring tens of thousands of non-Jews into Kerem Yisroel under the guise of Israeli citizenship. Interior Minister Avrohom Poraz of Shinui intends to table a proposed Cabinet decision before the government that would allow him to grant citizenship to tens of thousands of foreigners currently ineligible for citizenship or residency. Poraz' proposal represents part of his party's election platform and Poraz has threatened he will consider resigning if the government does not approve the plan. If the policy is approved by the Cabinet it has the force of law.

The Prime Minister's Office has called the program a "far- reaching plan," meaning that it goes beyond what is necessary, and even Sharon's staff realizes some limits must be placed to avoid inundating the State of Israel with massive numbers of goyim who have only an incidental tie to the country. The Attorney General has also said such proposals to loosen the restrictions on immigration and allow foreigners to receive citizenship easily, as if the State of Israel were a club with open admission, could lead to numerous problems.

According to a recent report in Yediot Achronot, Poraz insists on raising his proposal for discussion in the government despite the Prime Minister and Attorney General's opposition. Part of the proposal addresses the issue of the 2,000 children of foreign workers residing in Israel. Poraz also plans to grant permanent-resident status to juveniles born to non-Jewish Israeli citizens or permanent residents; citizenship to non-Jewish foreigners who married Israeli citizens even if they subsequently separated; permanent- resident status to both parents of non-Jewish soldiers; temporary-resident or permanent-resident status to both parents of an Israeli citizen who are not entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return but have reached the age of 60 and have no children living outside of Israel; and citizenship to those who "make a special contribution to Israeli society." The latter determination would be made by the Interior Minister, according to his personal judgment.

Several months ago Minister Poraz wanted to issue new regulations on these issues on his own legal authority but the Attorney General objected, saying that Poraz can establish regulations only after receiving government approval.

"These changes demanded by present reality are intended to solve genuine distress among many new immigrants and their family members," said Poraz. "These changes are intended to prevent distortions, to prevent harming children and forced separation of family members based on humanitarian principles." Poraz the humanitarian also wants to assist elderly nursing-care patients whose caretakers are forced to leave Israel after five years. "It is not humane to separate a nursing-care patient or elderly person who feels his foreign worker is like a family member," he says. "The new status would allow them to live here and earn a living with dignity."

On the issue of children of foreign workers staying illegally Poraz claims, "It cannot be that a 17-year-old who was born in Israel and lived here his entire life is suddenly sent away to another country unfamiliar to him just because his parents were born there. As far as I'm concerned let them become Israeli citizens, serve in the army [and] pay taxes just like every other citizen."

While Poraz says there are only about 2,000 such cases, the Population Administration maintains that some 22,000 children would receive Israeli citizenship based on this policy.

The Prime Minister's Office remains undecided on how to handle this "hot potato," as they call it. Government ministers will probably be pressured not to approve the changes. The Mafdal has also announced it would not back the regulation changes in the government and is threatening to cause another coalition crisis if they are approved.

Degel HaTorah MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz said, "At the moment it appears there is no further problem of personal status and intermarriage among these foreign workers, but without a doubt after being here for years the problem that they cannot marry here in Israel will also apply to them and this will become another source of pressure, and there will be more intermarriage in Israel.

"Why are there immigration laws in the majority of countries in the world, but here there cannot be immigration laws restricting the number of immigrants? These immigrants are certainly not `olim chadashim.' The State of Israel may have to decide, in the most transparent manner, how many goyim it is willing to bring into Israel and which professions are preferable, and set quotas on how many plumbers, how many doctors it can afford to bring in every year. This is the practice in every modern, progressive state and in this case nobody would pretend to say these immigrants are Jews."


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