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Incoming immigration minister says Law of Return ‘needs to be fixed’

Jewish Home and National Union alliance member MK Ofir Sofer, at a faction meeting at the Knesset, on November 11, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Jewish Home and National Union alliance member MK Ofir Sofer, at a faction meeting at the Knesset, on November 11, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Religious Zionism MK Ofir Sofer, who has been tapped to serve as the next minister of immigration and absorption, says the Law of Return should be altered.

“It seems that the Law of Return needs to be fixed in some way or another,” Sofer tells Army Radio of the law which determines who can receive Israeli citizenship.

Sofer says he needs to first assume the ministerial role, “and learn all of details — I know the issues, but when I study them in depth I can address them differently.”

Asked about the controversial “grandparent clause,” by which anyone with one Jewish grandparent can be granted Israeli citizenship, Sofer says it is “very complicated” and says he will need a “grace period” by which to study it more in depth.

The religious parties in the incoming government — Shas, United Torah Judaism, Otzma Yehudit, Noam and Religious Zionism — largely support efforts to cancel the “grandchild clause” and thereby restrict immigration only to people born to Jewish parents, not those with a Jewish grandparent.

Such a change is viewed positively by those who want to limit the number of immigrants who are not considered Jewish under the Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law, which only recognizes matrilineal descent.

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