Hadassah Warns That Amending the Law of Return Threatens Jewish Unity

The national board of Hadassah, currently meeting here, warned today that “any action to amend the Law of Return threatens the unity of the Jewish people.”

The warning was contained in a letter handed to Premier Shimon Peres by Ruth Popkin, national president of Hadassah, the largest Zionist organization in the United States. An amendment to the Law of Return, demanded by the Orthodox religious establishment, will have its preliminary reading in the Knesset tomorrow.

The amendment, long sought by the religious parties in Israel and their backers in the U.S., would give the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel exclusive right to determine who is a Jew. IF adopted, the amendement would make invalid conversions to Judaism performed by non-Orthodox rabbis in Israel and abroad.

The Hadassah letter urged the Israeli political community to “remove this devisive issue from its agenda.” It cautioned that any change in the Law of Return would jeopardize “the relationship between diaspora Jewry and the Jews of Israel. The Law has stood as a sacred affirmation of the unity of the Jewish people. It says simply and unconditionally: Any Jew can come home to Israel.”

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