Minister says unlikely government will act soon to change Law of Return

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

Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar at his office in Jerusalem, January 2, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar at his office in Jerusalem, January 2, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A government minister says that it is unlikely that they will succeed in sticking to a coalition timetable to make controversial changes to the Law of Return.

The comments come as Israeli lawmakers, rabbis and activists, representing a broad array of views, debate the Law of Return and proposed changes to it, broadly coming to the conclusion that the issue is complicated and volatile.

Religious parties in the coalition have pushed for the cancelation of the so-called “grandchild clause,” which grants citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent.

Opposition lawmakers, including Orthodox ones, have come out fiercely against the proposal, and the Likud party has resisted the move, pushing instead for a more nuanced amendment.

Culture Minister Miki Zohar says that in light of these complexities, the government will almost certainly not abide by the timetable laid out in its coalition agreements, which required it to propose a bill to amend the Law of Return by the end of March.

“Don’t worry, we won’t follow through on that clause [for the coalition deals] at least. We’ll take a lot more time than 60 days,” Zohar says, speaking at a conference on the Law of Return in Ramat Gan.

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