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Palestinians can't become Jewish, says Israeli Conversion Authority Open in fullscreen

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Palestinians can't become Jewish, says Israeli Conversion Authority

Palestinian converts may observe Jewish rites, but the state will not recognise them [AFP]

Date of publication: 2 April, 2016

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Conversion to Judaism may be rare, but possible in Israel - except for Palestinians.

The head of Israel's religious Conversion Authority has said that applications by Palestinians to join the Jewish faith will be automatically dismissed on grounds of ethnicity.

In Israel, for a foreigner to be officialy recognised as a Jewish convert, an application must be submitted to the special cases panel of the Conversion Authority.

Speaking to a Knesset comittee on Tuesday, Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz said that for an application to be considered by the Conversion Authority, applicants must be "sincere", and not "foreign workers, infiltrators, Palestinian or illegally in the country".

While conversions to Judaism remain rare in Israel, the declaration by the authority chief may contravene the country's Declaration of Independence, which guarantees "absolute social and political equality to all its citizens regardless of faith, race and gender".

Peretz added that the special committee of the Conversion Authority received 400 applications in 2014, of which "half of the applicants were accepted, the rest were rejected as foreign workers, infiltrators, illegal stayers and Palestinians".

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