Israel's Statistics Bureau Poised to Expand Its Definition of 'Jewish'

Nearly half a million Israelis qualify for citizenship, but are not defined as Jewish by halakha. The Central Bureau of Statistics is now expected to stop using the offensive term ‘other’ to define them

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
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Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

Nearly half a million Israelis come under the bizarre population category of "others," used by the Central Bureau of Statistics to refer to those who are classified as neither "Jews" nor "Arabs."

These “others” qualify for citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, but are not defined as Jewish by halakha, or religious law. In other words, they were not born to a Jewish mother, but they do have at least one Jewish grandparent.

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