A Jewish-born man adopted by a devoutly Catholic family can remain in Israel as he attempts to make aliyah.
Timothy Nicholas Steger, 37, has been trying to make aliyah for the last year and a half, The Jerusalem Post reported last week. On Monday, the interior ministry announced it would grant Steger temporary residency status, which is a first step toward gaining legal standing in the country.
“This will definitely help me in my quest to make aliyah,” Steger told the Jerusalem Post. “I am quite anxious to stay here and start building a permanent life for myself.”
Steger, who grew up in Los Angeles, was adopted at birth by a religious Catholic family with anti-Semitic leanings. As an adult he worked with the Anti-Defamation League and organizations fighting neo-Nazism. He later learned his birth father was Jewish.
Last August, Steger’s application to make aliyah under the Law of Return was turned down. The interior ministry claimed his Jewish connection to his biological father ended as soon as he was adopted.
Steger based his appeal on the fact that the Law of Return allows anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent to immigrate to Israel, the Post reported.