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Israel's Basic Laws:
The Law of Return

(July 5, 1950)


Israel's Laws: Table of Contents | Capital of Israel (1980) | Defense Service (1986)


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The Law of Return, granting every Jew in the world the right to settle in Israel, was passed by the Knesset on July 5, 1950, and published in Sefer HaChukkim (Book of Laws) No. 51, p. 159. Two amendments were later added on to the Law of Return - one passed August 23, 1954, and the other passed March 10, 1970.

Right of Aliyah 1. Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh**.
Oleh's visa 2. (a) Aliyah shall be by oleh's visa.

(b) An oleh's visa shall be granted to every Jew who has expressed his desire to settle in Israel, unless the Minister of Immigration is satisfied that the applicant

(1) is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people; or
(2) is likely to endanger public health or the security of the State.
Oleh's certificate 3. (a) A Jew who has come to Israel and subsequent to his arrival has expressed his desire to settle in Israel may, while still in Israel, receive an oleh's certificate.

(b) The restrictions specified in section 2(b) shall apply also to the grant of an oleh's certificate, but a person shall not be regarded as endangering public health on account of an illness contracted after his arrival in Israel.

Residents and persons born in this country 4. Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before the coming into force of this Law, and every Jew who was born in this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this Law, shall be deemed to be a person who has come to this country as an oleh under this Law.
Implementation and regulations 5. The Minister of Immigration is charged with the implementation of this Law and may make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation and also as to the grant of oleh's visas and oleh's certificates to minors up to the age of 18 years.

DAVID BEN-GURION
Prime Minister

MOSHE SHAPIRA
Minister of Immigration

YOSEF SPRINZAK
Acting President of the State
Chairman of the Knesset


Amendment 5714-1954

Amendment of section 2(b) 1. In section 2 (b) of the Law of Return, 5710-1950** -
(1) the full stop at the end of paragraph (2) shall be replaced by a semi-colon, and the word "or" shall be inserted thereafter ;
(2) the following paragraph shall be inserted after paragraph (2):
"(3) is a person with a criminal past, likely to endanger public welfare.".
Amendment of sections 2
and 5
2. In sections 2 and 5 of the Law, the words "the Minister of Immigration" shall be replaced by the words "the Minister of the Interior".

MOSHE SHARETT
Prime Minister

YOSEF SERLIN
Minister of Health
Acting Minister of the Interior

YITZCHAK BEN-ZVI
President of the State



Amendment No. 2 5730-1970*

Addition of sections 4A
and 4B
1. In the Law of Return, 5710-1950**, the following sections shall be inserted after section 4:

"Rights of members of family

4A. (a) The rights of a Jew under this Law and the rights of an oleh under the Nationality Law, 5712-1952***, as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment, are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion.

(b) It shall be immaterial whether or not a Jew by whose right a right under subsection (a) is claimed is still alive and whether or not he has immigrated to Israel.

(c) The restrictions and conditions prescribed in respect of a Jew or an oleh by or under this Law or by the enactments referred to in subsection (a) shall also apply to a person who claims a right under subsection (a).

Definition

4B. For the purposes of this Law, "Jew" means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."

Amendment of section 5 2. In section 5 of the Law of Return, 5710-1950, the following shall be added at the end: "Regulations for the purposes of sections 4A and 4B require the approval of the Constitution, Legislation and Juridical Committee of the Knesset.".
Amendment of the Population Registry Law, 5725-1965 3. In the Population Registry Law, 5725-1965****, the following section shall be inserted after section 3:

"Power of registration and definition

3A. (a) A person shall not be registered as a Jew by ethnic affiliation or religion if a notification under this Law or another entry in the Registry or a public document indicates that he is not a Jew, so long as the said notification, entry or document has not been controverted to the satisfaction of the Chief Registration Officer or so long as declaratory judgment of a competent court or tribunal has not otherwise determined.

(b) For the purposes of this Law and of any registration or document thereunder, "Jew" has the same meaning as in section 4B of the Law of Return, 5710-1950.

(c) This section shall not derogate from a registration effected before its coming into force.".


GOLDA MEIR
Prime Minister
Acting Minister of the Interior

SHNEUR ZALMAN SHAZAR
President of the State


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