Last week, a committee in Israel’s Diaspora Affairs ministry advocated a new visa status for non-Jews claiming descent from Jews, and for members of “emerging Jewish communities.”
The latter comprises non-Jews around the globe who have adopted some Jewish religious practices, with or without converting. Apparently, the already available extendable three-month tourist visa available to Jews and non-Jews alike, who visit Israel to learn about the country and about Judaism, is insufficient. People coming for year-long programs of study, who often stay longer, simply renew their tourist visas. But this committee wants to create a new extended visa status for these “Jew-ish” non-Jews.
The implications of this new status are potentially significant for Israel’s identity, for this new status certainly seems like a new outreach initiative to shift the demographic balance by locating new sources for aliyah, Jewish immigration.
But in this case, Israel seems to be seeking out people who are only potential Jews. Is Israel truly a Jewish state if it needs to continue to manufacture a Jewish majority? Or is it a state run by a particular Jewish regime with a specific national-religious ideology?