Israel Citizenship Based on Religion, Not Birthplace

The Haifa District Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal submitted by Professor Uzzi Ornan, who 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 was Jewish.

Ornan, a linguist and member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, who is also the founder of the League against Religious Coercion in Israel, petitioned the Interior Ministry in 2010 to recognize him as an Israeli, not on grounds of being Jewish but because he was born in Israel.

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

“While the legislator’s definition of ‘Jew’ was only added to the Law of Return in 1970,” Fisch wrote, “the turn to the accepted Jewish halakhaic law is not a novelty, and an overview of the ruling preceding the amendment shows that any time that a man’s Judaism needs to be determined, that source has not been overlooked.”

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Israel Citizenship Based on Religion, Not Birthplace

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