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Liberman slams giving Maoz control of Nativ: ‘A roadblock against immigration’

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu at the Knesset on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu at the Knesset on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman says the planned appointment of hardline Avi Moaz to lead an office in charge of Israel’s Jewish identity will be “a roadblock” against immigration from the former Soviet Union.

“This person is going to be in charge of Nativ…This is a roadblock for immigration for all who come from the former Soviet Union,” says Liberman.

Nativ is the Prime Minister’s Office unit responsible for processing immigration applications from former Soviet states.

Maoz has pushed to close one of the key laws under which former Soviet state citizens obtain Israeli citizenship: a clause within Israel’s Law of Return that permits the grandchildren of Jews who are not Jewish themselves to immigrate to Israel.

Liberman, who is Jewish, immigrated to Israel from Soviet Moldova and his Yisrael Beytenu party is the political home of many Israelis from these areas.

In addition to Nativ, Maoz’s to-be-created Jewish identity office is expected to use its influence on areas that Maoz has previously weighed in, among them only recognizing Orthodox Jewish conversion for the purpose of immigration.

Liberman says that about 5,500 current Israeli soldiers are not considered Jewish according to Orthodox law, but “in my opinion, they are more Jewish than all yeshiva students… combined,” he says.

“Apparently Avi Maoz also wants to block them from entering Israeli society,” Liberman adds, saying that Maoz’s office will stand “for purity of blood.”

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