(JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling that the non-Jewish widows of the children and grandchildren of Jews may emigrate to Israel under its Law of Return.
The 4-3 ruling this week was an example of the court’s role in determining Israeli policy, a capacity that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had sought for months to diminish prior to the outbreak of Israel’s war with Hamas on Oct. 7. Critics of the judicial overhaul contended that sapping the judiciary of its power endangered Israeli democracy.
The ruling is also a victory for those who want Israel to extend the rights and privileges of citizenship to a broader range of Jews and their relatives.
Israel’s Population Authority, an agency of the Interior Ministry which is led by the haredi Orthodox Shas Party, had recognized the Law of Return as extending only to the non-Jewish widow of a Jew, and not the widows of their progeny.
Spouses of living children and grandchildren of Jews are eligible to immigrate, and the Israeli branch of the Reform movement argued to the court that immigration rights should also extend to the widows of children and grandchildren of Jews. The widows and widowers lose the right to citizenship if they get remarried to non-Jews
In 2021, a smaller High Court panel had ruled in favor of the Reform movement, and the Population Authority pushed for the matter to be considered by a larger panel.
The Law of Return has governed Jewish immigration to Israel for almost all of the state’s history. It extends the right of automatic citizenship to anyone who has one Jewish grandparent of either gender.
Orthodox Jewish parties have for decades sought for the law to hew closer to the definition of Jewish identity under halacha, or Jewish law, which recognizes only the children of Jewish mothers as Jewish, in addition to those who convert.
“I am pleased that the court reiterated to the Population Authority that the Law of Return is intended for anyone who has tied their fate to the Jewish people, and that it must be understood in a national sense, not just religiously according to Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law,” said Nicole Maor, the director of the Israeli Reform movement’s legal aid center for immigrants..
Orthodox parties in Netanyahu’s coalition had hoped to restrict the court’s authority over a range of issues including immigration as part of Netanyahu’s sweeping judicial overhaul, which brought hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets for months on end.
Hamas’s deadly invasion of Israel from the Gaza Strip last month led Netanyahu to broaden his coalition, bringing in an opposition party that had opposed the reforms, and to the suspension of the overhaul effort.
Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.
During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.
ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.
הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023
The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.
It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.
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