On Sunday, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling that the widow of a person entitled to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return (being either the child or grandchild of a Jew) – no matter whether the widow is Jewish or not – is also entitled to receive Israeli citizenship. The ruling was made by two of the three judges on the court (Justices Yitzhak Amit and Anat Baron); the third judge, Justice David Mintz, dissented.
On Sunday evening, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked responded to the ruling, writing that, “Once again, the Supreme Court is posturing as the legislature with this attack on the Law of Return, the most important law for the State of Israel.”
She added that, “The committee for the appointment of judges will soon be appointing four new judges to the Supreme Court, and I can assure you that the minority opinion of Judge Mintz will be one of the main considerations of the committee’s members as they select new justices.”
In his ruling, Judge Yitzhak Amit stated that, “The language of the law can abide two opposing positions and it is not possible to reach a single definitive position. The law intends to grant citizenship to the family members of a Jew even in the physical absence of the Jew himself, due to the relatives’ closeness to the Jewish People. In addition, one can argue that the immigration of the widow and her child after the death of the Jewish spouse was something that the law has already envisioned and anticipated.”
On the other hand, Judge Mintz wrote that, “In my opinion, we should tend to the understanding of the law that the widow of a child or grandchild of a Jew is not entitled to receive citizenship. The Law of Return is one of the most important laws we have – some would call it the most important of all, the most fundamental of all our laws.”