ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Smotrich discusses nixing ‘grandchild clause’ with head of right-wing US group

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich discusses removing the so-called grandchild clause in the Law of Return in his meeting with Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein.

That clause allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to immigrate freely to Israel so long as they do not practice another religion. Many immigrants to Israel, particularly but not only from the former Soviet Union, obtain citizenship under this aspect of the Law of Return.

“We talked about how we have to get rid of the grandchild clause,” Klein tells The Times of Israel, arguing that the provision has led to a gradual shrinking of Israel’s Jewish population.

“He was very serious about that and expressed his fear that we’re losing Israel as a Jewish state,” Klein says.

The ZOA president says the two are in agreement about the need for judicial reform, but Klein says he told Smotrich that he disagrees with the legislation the coalition is seeking to pass that would allow the Knesset to override Supreme Court decision with a simple majority of 61 MKs.

“I told him I thought it should be 65 MKs,” Klein says, noting that Smotrich was non-committal in response.

The ZOA president met with Smotrich privately in New York and the right-wing group’s board will be meeting with the finance minister tomorrow.

“I was really impressed about how optimistic he was about the future of Israel,” Klein says.

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