Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
A rabbinic courtroom in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Population Authority has appealed to the Jerusalem District Court asking to annul a ruling that declared a Muslim as a Jew after he had undergone a conversion ceremony before a private rabbinical court, Reshet Bet Radio reported on Tuesday.

According to the petition, during his conversion process, the man divorced his PA Arab wife, but it turned out that on the day of his declaration as a Jew, he approached the Islamic Sharia court and remarried his ex-wife. A few days later, he changed his registration with the Population Authority and began the process of regulating the status of his Muslim wife as an Israeli citizen.


The young man was born into a Muslim family in Jaffa, and according to him, left home at a young age and grew up with a Jewish family in Tel Aviv, where he absorbed the Jewish tradition. The petition for annulment was submitted on the grounds that the conversion had been declared based on misleading the rabbinic court and the Population Authority, concealing crucial facts, misrepresentation, and fraud.

The man was converted at a private rabbinical court that operates in Efrat under the name “Giyur K’Halacha,” which says on its website that “since its establishment in 2015, Giyur K’Halacha has converted more than 1,000 people to Judaism. The majority have been children of families from the former Soviet Union, but Giyur K’Halacha welcomes Israelis of every background and circumstance, including families seeking to convert adopted children and children of surrogacy. By embracing those who wish to join the Jewish people, Giyur K’Halacha is changing the nature of conversion in Israel.”

Giyur K’Halacha was founded and is operated by ITIM: The Jewish Life Advocacy Organization, which was founded by Rabbi Shaul (Seth) Farber, who serves as the director of Giyur K’Halacha. It receives generous support from the Jewish Agency for Israel, UJA-Federation of New York, and the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund, and is supported by Tzohar, Ohr Torah Stone, and Beit Morasha.

According to Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff (How Does Someone Convert to Judaism?), the halachic status of someone who went through the giyur process for the wrong reasons, such as because they wanted to marry someone, is that if the convert followed all the procedures, including full acceptance of all the mitzvot, the conversion is valid. But before reaching a decision, the rabbinic court should wait a while, to see whether the convert is indeed fully committed to living a Jewish life (Rambam, Issurei Bi’ah 13:15-18). And if the convert wannabe is not committed to mitzvah observance and just goes through the motions, he has not become Jewish at all.

Only yesterday, in an article about the problems with the US visa waiver program, I warned that a “Palestinian-American” who used up his three-month tourist visa, is entitled to extend his stay in Israel by an additional 90 days without leaving the country, and that’s enough time to marry an Israeli citizen, find work, and petition the courts to be awarded Israeli citizenship. Expect a new thriving cottage industry of Israelis, mostly Arabs but not only Arabs, engaging in fictitious marriages to PA Arabs.

I’m just saying.


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