“Some of these groups want some kind association with the Jewish people and/or Israel, which raises the question of what ties the government should have with them,” he said in a statement to the media.
Under existing law, such groups are not eligible to immigrate to Israel because at least one of their grandparents must be Jewish or they have to have undergone an Orthodox conversion to Judaism.
According to the daily Haaretz, “emerging” Jewish communities include groups that claim descent from the so-called “lost tribes”, such as the Bnei Menashe from northeastern India. They also include descendants of Jews forced to convert during the 15th-century Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions, as well as numerous communities in South America and in other remote corners of the world that have recently discovered Judaism and embrace Jewish practices. Scholars estimate their numbers in the millions.
A private organization that has in recent years been reaching out to such communities, Shavei Israel, spearheaded an initiative to bring nearly 1,000 members of the Bnei Menashe community to Israel in recent years. The organization promotes legislation change that would open the door to such communities in order to help Israel maintains its Jewish majority.
Kahana served as a senior director in Elad, a right-wing organization that encourages Jewish settlers to move into Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. He and his family live in his family in the Arab East Jerusalem village of Silwan, a major flashpoint of Jewish-Palestinian tensions, Haaretz reported.
Leave a Reply