Once a Jew, always a Jew

15.10.2011                      17.Tischrei. 5772                       Chol Hamo'ed 1

Feature:

Once a Jew, always a Jew

The problem of our automatically being considered Jews is burdensome and there is no denying that; but even 1,000 authorizations from the Interior Ministry can't change this, and won't turn Kaniuk the Jew into Kaniuk the non-Jew.

If the members of the Swedish academy were to suddenly start awarding a Nobel Prize in alchemy – the ancient science that purported to transform non-matter into matter, and to turn straw into gold – I'd have a ready candidate: Mr. Yoram Kaniuk, who managed to do the impossible. He took a Jew (himself ), did a bit of hocus pocus, and presto! He became a non-Jew. Through legal casuistry that will not be discussed here, Kaniuk bent the arm of the Interior Ministry's Population Registry and made it erase the word "Jew" from the "religion" rubric in his file.
That, incidentally, doubled the number of religionless Israeli citizens. As it was revealed shortly afterward, 60 years before Yoram Kaniuk, Uzzi Ornan – a veteran warrior against religious coercion and a member of the Canaanite Young Hebrews Movement – went to court to order the Population Registry to stop categorizing him as a Jew. So, in general, this campaign against the religion clause is as old as the State of Israel….