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Chief rabbi calls for government to change immigration law to keep non-Jews out

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Chief Rabbi David Lau speaks at a Chabad event in New Jersey on November 20, 2022. (Screen capture: Chabad)
Chief Rabbi David Lau speaks at a Chabad event in New Jersey on November 20, 2022. (Screen capture: Chabad)

Chief Rabbi David Lau calls on the incoming government to revoke the so-called “grandchild clause” from the Law of Return, which grants Israeli citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent who does not practice another religion.

“For 10 years I have been asking to try to change this mistake of the third generation in the Law of Return — to fix it, to ensure that Israel will be a Jewish state, a state of Jews,” Lau says.

Lau makes his remarks at an event in New Jersey late Sunday night honoring Chabad emissaries, who serve in communities around the world on behalf of the Hasidic movement.

In his speech, Lau also boasts of his intransigence on the issue of conversions to Judaism, as the previous government sought to reform the process to open the system up. In an apparent act of protest against these reforms, Lau dramatically reduced the number of conversions that his office recognized.

“I have had the honor in the past year of being the emissary of the rebbe (the late leader of the Chabad movement, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson) and to continue in his great footsteps of ensuring that conversion will be done in accordance with Jewish law,” Lau says.

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