According to Israel’s Law of Return, anyone with even a single Jewish grandparent is eligible to immigrate and become naturalized as a citizen. The result is that there are now as many as 400,000 non-Arab Israelis who are not Jewish by the far stricter standards of the chief rabbinate, which has sole legal authority over conversion, marriage, and divorce. Thus these citizens cannot marry Jews, and, if men, their children will not be considered Jewish. To convert they must undergo a rigorous process that involves convincing a rabbinic tribunal of their commitment to scrupulous halakhic observance. In When the State Winks, the anthropologist Michal Kravel-Tovi examines the way the rabbinate balances pressures to convert these Israelis to Judaism with its religious standards. Shlomo Brody writes in his review:
Israel’s Never-Ending Conversion Dilemma
The Knesset Has Resumed Its Business, but Both Sides Have Broken Unwritten Rules
Yesterday, eleven months of political stalemate in Israel appeared to have come to an end as the sitting prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his main rival, Benny Gantz, agreed to form a unity government together with some of the smaller parties. This development has fractured Gantz’s Blue and White party into its constituent factions. Meanwhile, the resignation of Yuli Edelstein as interim Knesset speaker—a position meant to be occupied for just a few hours, but which he has held for nearly a year—has allowed the Knesset to resume business as usual.