Likud inks deal with homophobic Noam party, will control ‘Jewish identity’ body

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

Likud has signed a coalition agreement that will give the far-right, anti-LGBT Noam party control of a governmental body responsible for Jewish immigration, at at the time when some Jewish nationalists are pushing to rewrite the rules of who can become an Israeli citizen.

The deal with Noam is the second of five such expected agreements on the way to forming Israel’s most right-wing and religious government to date.

According to details released by a Likud party spokesperson, the parties agreed to Noam’s demand to form an authority within the Prime Minister’s Office to focus on national Jewish identity.

The authority will be headed by Noam’s sole lawmaker, Avi Maoz, who will be named a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

In his role, Maoz will also take control of additional bodies, including Nativ, which manages immigration to Israel from the former Soviet Union.

Religious parties have pushed to tighten eligibility under the Law of Return that governs Jewish immigration rights, specifically campaigning to close the so-called grandfather clause that enables the non-Jewish grandchildren of Jews to obtain citizenship.

They have also advocated stripping eligibility for citizenship under the Law of Return from Reform converts to Judaism.

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