Daily Israel Report

Eldad: Government Failed 'Most Basic Zionist Test'

MK Aryeh Eldad says the coalition failed in Zionist leadership by opposing his motion to elevate the Law of Return to Basic Law
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/28/2011, 9:03 PM

MK Eldad
MK Eldad
Flash90

MK Aryeh Eldad said Wednesday that the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has failed the "most basic Zionist test."

Eldad's remarks came immediately after the Knesset plenum rejected his proposed bill that would include Israel's 1950 Law of Return in the Jewish State's Basic Laws.

The explanatory notes for the bill say "the Law of Return, 1950, is critical to the identity of Israel as a Jewish state. It deserves the bedrock status of Basic Law. Its basis is of principled and moral importance in maintaining the Jewish character of the state and all other legislation on naturalization should be subordinate to it."

The 1950 Law of Return states "Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh [immigant]." 

However, the Law of Return was modified in 1970 to include non-Jews with at least one Jewish grandparent - and their spouses. The 1970 update also formalized the right of converts to Judaism to immigrate to Israel, but controversially included those who underwent non-Orthodox conversions outside Israel.

The 1970 changes to the law have been a perpetual point of contention in Israel has they do not conform to the halakhic definition of who is a Jew.

During the vote 10 MKs supported the proposal and 36 opposed it.

After the bill was voted down Eldad said, "This was an attempt to preserve the State of Israel as a Jewish and Zionist state of all its citizens. Those uneasy with it gave anti-Zionist and typical Hareidi excuses for voting against it – and continue to maintain the anti-Zionist policy of the Netanyahu government."

"Prime Minister Netanyahu, Moshe Ya'alon, Benny Begin, Israel Katz, Tzipi Hotovely and Zeev Elkin all voted today against the Law of Return. In doing so they joined Taleb-Sana, Zahalka, Zahava Gal-On and Daniel Ben-Simon," he said, noting the odd convergence of Zionist leaders with their far-left adversaries.

"Blessed are those who preferred to be absent, and still more those who obeyed party discipline," Eldad added sardonically.

Eldad, who vowed to raise the bill again in six months, said "The government has failed the most basic of Zionist tests. Until it returns to Zionism it cannot claim to lead the national camp."