In defense of his conspiracy theory that government agencies conspired to bring immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union to negate ultra-Orthodox electoral power, Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef doubled down on his remarks and called for the country’s Law of Return to be changed. The “grandchild clause” of the Law of Return entitles the spouse, child or grandchild of a Jew to Israeli citizenship, and as a result there are some 430,000 Israeli citizens of Jewish descent from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish according to Jewish law. “Those who bring masses of non-Jews to Israel through the grandchild clause due to outside interests is behaving irresponsibly, first and foremost to those immigrants,” insisted Yosef.“Amending the Law of Return is first and foremost in the interest of the immigrants.”The chief rabbi went on to defend himself, insisting that he had already said but would repeat that the majority of immigrants from the former Soviet Union were Jewish, but that a minority were “not Jewish according to Jewish law.”He also said that unnamed people within the Jewish communities in Russia and Ukraine had recently complained to him about the immigration to Israel of people under the grandchild clause, who are not Jewish according to Jewish law. In comments first reported by Yediot Aharonot on Tuesday, Yosef said at a rabbinical conference last week that “There are many, many non-Jews here, some of the are Communist, enemies of religion, haters of religion.”He then claimed that these immigrants “were brought to Israel so that they would be a counterweight to the ultra-Orthodox, so that when there are elections there won’t be many [Knesset seats] for the ultra-Orthodox. That’s why they were brought to Israel, total non-Jews, really completely non-Jews.”Yosef’s comments were denounced across the political spectrum, including by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman. Numerous religious figures also condemned the chief rabbi’s comments. Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz, director of the ‘Chuppot’ initiative non-state Orthodox marriage service initiative, said that “Yosef’s negative attitude towards the large population of olim descended of Jewish fathers and grandfathers is exactly what repels them from conversion through the rabbinate.”Said Leibowitz “It is high time that the rabbinate under Rabbi Yosef's leadership adopt a welcoming attitude towards these individuals who live among us, and stop disparaging and discouraging them.”Rabbi Mikie Goldstein, president of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, described Yosef’s comments as demonstrating “arrogance and shamelessness” and said that “the official racist ‘approval’ of the chief rabbi of Israel” was the final element in the Chief Rabbinate’s torment of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Senior Blue and White leader MK Yair Lapid said that Yosef should apologize, and noted that “immigrants from the former Soviet Union are combatants in the IDF who defend our lives, they are doctors, nurses,” and pointed to the contribution of such immigrants to the rest of Israeli society.“What happened to an embracing and warm Judaism which does not deal in insults,” he continued, pointing to the oft-repeated Biblical injunction to deal kindly with foreigners living among the Jewish people.