By Amit Acco, Partner |

The 1950 Law of Return determines the eligibility for immigration and citizenship (Aliyah to Israel) for every Jew and child of a Jew. In 1970 the same right was extended to the grandchildren of a Jewish person and their spouses (even if they are not Jewish).

It seems that now, under Benyamin Netanyahu’s 6th government, immigrating to Israel could become harder – even for Jews.  One change government parliamentarians in the majority bloc are expected to make will be to narrow the Law of Return by canceling the “grandfather clause” which allows the grandchild of a Jew to immigrate to Israel.

“We think that taking a family that lives as a distinctly Christian for two generations and saying that [they are Jewish] because they had a Jewish grandfather three generations back is something that needs to be corrected,” Knesset Member Uri Maklev told radio 103FM.

Similar voices to “annul” the “Grandchild Clause,” were raised by the Religious Zionist Party (Headed by MK Bezalel Smotrich and MK Ben Gvir):

“We will amend the Law of Return and its different stipulations to reflect current trends in Israel and ensure Jewish continuity in the Land of Israel”

Other Immigration reforms suggested by the Religious Zionist Party include:

To Prevent non-Jewish spouses of Jews from receiving citizenship.

To Stop providing Israeli passports to non-Jews, who exploit the law by making an Aliyah with the intention to immediately immigrate to a 3rd country, using their rights as Israeli citizens with a valid passport. The Passport Law currently allows olim to receive Israeli passports without having to actually live in Israel. The RZP wants to make an amendment to this law.

Rights of Great-Grandchild

Although Israeli law does not provide Aliyah rights to a great-grandchild, the current regulations do provide some options for this.

Currently, when a grandchild of a Jew arrives in Israel together with their minor child (a great-grandchild of a Jew), the Ministry of the Interior provides him/her with an A-5 residency legal status to keep the family together. After the initial 1 year under the A-5 residency visa, the validity of the visa will be extended for another year, with options for permanent residency or even citizenship in some cases.

It now seems that these options are very likely to be changed by the new 2022 government under its authority to make policy changes through regulations.

Call To Action

Although the composition of the new Government has not yet been finalized, many of the above proposals if enacted or even formally proposed are likely to have an adverse effect on foreign businesses with workers in Israel, as well as Israel-Diaspora relations. Kan-Tor & Acco is actively involved in reviewing all new proposals. Individuals and Companies who have concerns, are invited to contact Amit Acco to discuss engaging with the Government Ministries to provide our input at the earliest.