Nazi Germany gave Israel one last parting gift before being defeated by the Allies.
When Israel refined the Law of Return, the Israeli architects decided to base their definition of “Who is a Jew” mostly according to Jewish Halacha (with certain exceptions and ambiguities), but determined that eligibility under the immigration laws would be similar to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg style definitions. The logic, if you were persecuted as a Jew, then you were eligible to come to Israel.
Ben-Gurion allegedly called it the “grandfather clause" and Israel’s response to Hitler.
[Reader Jerry correctly pointed out in the comments section, that the law actually defines 'Who is a Jew' almost based on Halacha, but the Law of Return itself only uses the definition of who is a Jew as the basis for applying the Nuremberg-style rules as to who qualifies to emmigrate under that law - i.e. anyone 1/8 Jewish (or married to someone like that) is eligible to return).]
From the Knesset Website:
"Rights of members of family
4A. (a) The rights of a Jew under this Law
and the rights of an oleh under the Nationality Law, 5712-1952***, as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment, are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion.
4B. For the purposes of this Law, "Jew" means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."
A logical idea, if your sole rationale for the state is as a physical sanctuary as opposed to a Jewish state to fulfill our national destiny.
And of course, Reform Judaism (also a product of Germany) and the Fundamental Secularists has strongly defended this definition of the Law of Return as their definition of Jewish is just as diluted and limited.
The result is that when the Iron Curtain fell and all the Russian Jews returned home to Israel quite a sizeable contingent of non-Jews used this as an opportunity immigrate to Israel too.
And with no real connection to Jews or Judaism, they brought certain parts of their culture with them.
Yet you would certainly expect that after living in Israel, going to Israeli schools, and living in Israeli society that they would start to feel some sort of connection to their chosen society.
But that is really too much to expect.
After all, we have an Education Minister trying to remove any remnant of Jewish education from the curriculum, while disconnecting Jewish secular students from their sole potential connection to Orthodox Jews by canceling the National Service arrangements with the schools, not to mention adding Arab propaganda to the curriculum.
We have Reform Judaism trying their best to promote their diluted form of Judaism and simply calling non-Jews Jews with mock conversions (not to mention attempting to disconnect ‘Temple and State’ in Israel).
And the Fundie Secularists are doing their best to simply remove Judaism from Israel (except perhaps from the museum).
So what chance does a non-Jewish Russian immigrant have if he was already introduced to Nazi culture in Russia, brought it with him, and has no wholesome or Jewish culture/values to replace them with?
I’d say none at all.
Maybe it's time to put Jewish back into the Jewish State.
(This post does not necessarily represent the opinions of Jameel)
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael