Meretz bill seeks to register as Jews the children of Jewish fathers [p. 4]

Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin plans to submit a bill to the ministerial committee on legislation on Monday that would recognize transmission of Jewish identity through the father. Beilin's bill seeks to amend the Population Registry Law, which specifies that Jewish identity is established through the maternal line. According to the proposed legislation, "An individual will be considered Jewish if at least one of his or her parents is Jewish, or he or she joined the Jewish religion in a religious process, or has joined the Jewish people in a non-religious process and has linked his or her fate with that of the Jewish people." Beilin said he did not expect the committee to approve the bill as an informal survey had revealed that nearly all of the ministers would vote against it on Monday. It will be the first time that a political party seeks to recognize Jewish identity through the father. If the bill becomes law, it would affect more than 300,000 Israelis in the Jewish sector who cannot register as Jews. The legislation would not have any impact with respect to the Law of Return, or citizenship and immigration benefits. The vote in the ministerial committee was moved from Sunday due to time constraints.