Israel: Rabbonim Address Growing ‘Yichus’ Concerns


metznRabbonim affiliated with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel took part in a kenos addressing growing concerns surrounding the yichus of so many Israelis, primarily focusing on the over 1 million people who arrived from the former Soviet Union since the 1990s. The rabbonim cited the foot-dragging by Interior Ministry clerks in many areas, along with poor recordkeeping as being at the heart of many problems. One case used to drive the point home showed a young man was registered as “Jewish” while his mother was registered as a “non-Jew” by the ministry.

The rabbonim point out there is an increase in the conflict of data maintained by the ministry and the Chief Rabbinate, and this presents and will present a greater issue regarding marriage and burial in the future.

The rabbonim, representing Chief Rabbinate marriage registration around Israel, acknowledged the seriousness of the problem and the need for accurate record-keeping to protect future generations.

Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger praised the rabbonim and their efforts, calling upon them to record the issues raised at the one-day event and forward them to his office. The rabbonim concluded that a solution to the problem is critical, one that is in line with the position taken by Gedolei Yisrael.

The rabbonim also addressed the issue of kvura among the growing number of people classified without a religion, explaining a number of areas have been designated around the country for interring non-Jews. Those listed as “Jewish” are buried in the Jewish area of the beis hachaim while those listed as “non-Jews” or a niftar whose status is questionable is interred in the other area. They explain that as a result, many Jews are interred alongside goyim R”L, citing a need to address this as well.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. They noticed it now? Talk about a classic case of closing the barn door after the horse escaped.

    The bulk the “Russians” came a generation ago, the the issues with them arose 50 years ago with the first wave of Soviet immigrants. The problems with secular Israelis picking up non-Jewish wives has always been an issue, and in most of the golus non-orthodox Jews have always had a very high rate of intermarriage (and invalid divorces, which is an issue if you hold that non-orthodox marriages are valid). At a certain point we will need to conclude that all non-Orthodox Jews are “safek goyim, safek mamzerim” (cf. the Ethiopian Jews).

  2. #Gershomi, that’s what SAFEK is all about. With the passing of time and large intermarriage rates eventually all non orthodox Jews anywhere in the world will be Safek goyim, that is if we haven’t unfortunately reached that point already. Of course if they can prove that they are halachically Jewish then of course they are Jewish.

    # Akuperma. Rabbis and Kiruv workers have been screaming for years about a “demographic time bomb”, particularly when the secularists brought in so many Russians to delay the day when the frum voting population will be a majority and will choose a religious government. My reading of the article is that it was dealing with the mundane details of record keeping rather than any earth shattering actual NEWS.

  3. # Gershomi. PS. I don’t know what the intermarriage statistics are for the Russians mentioned in the article but no doubt you are aware that in most countries outside Israel in the non-orthodox segments of our people, intermarriage is the norm. In fact especially outside a few large communities non Orthodox Jews marrying within the faith is the exception not the rule.

  4. who is a Jew? this was an issue of many years ago that got pushed under the rug. The late R. Yaakov Yosef quit the Knesset because his mates refused to give it the consideration that it needs preferring sucking money into the various mosdos’ bank accounts instead.

    Today there are many in Israel who are classified as ‘yehudi’ who are in reality ‘goyim’. In the last government, when Bibi’s coalition had the power to enact a law of “who is a Jew” they again swept it away preferring to suck money out of the government.

    Goyim classified legally as Jews is a problem that the religious politicians have caused to exist. Perhaps this is the reason from shamayim that they are out of this government’s coalition.

  5. The problems with secular Israelis picking up non-Jewish wives has always been an issue – has NOT always been an issue, only the last 15 years. The amount of intermarriage in ISRAEL is minute compared to any other community.
    GET COMPUTER PROGRAMS and update the records, files and info. Get rid of the realms of papers and move the technology up to the 21st century that will help to update the system.

  6. Government should stay out of this – only sounds racist to the rest of the world – better for frum jews to keep among themselves and if anyone wants to come back, make a giyur lchumra (but the mamzer problem is still a problem, but in chutz laaretz we rely on Rav Moshe ztl)

  7. So, when Moshiach comes, we will all be Hashems beloved children, Yidden and Non-Yidden. We will all realize that Hashem creates and sustains all children, Yiddishe and Non-Yiddishe, with Nissim V’Noflo’os. There will only be love amogst all people, no one will be a superior Human Being.

  8. Why is this a problem in Israel but not elsewhere? I think the answer is that only in Israel is the government getting involved and making these decisions. If the gov’t would either get out of this involvement (a/k/a separation of “church” and state), OR we would stop relying on their decisions, then each person could simply follow their posek with less hassle.

  9. I don’t understand. The Rabbinate has been under charedi control for the past ten years and the Interior Ministry for the past four years. Don’t blame secularists for this one!

  10. charliehall — The article gives me the impression that the problem has nothing to do with which decision-makers are in charge. Rather, the bureaucracy is slow and error-prone, causing problems for those who rely on those records.

  11. There is no problem of mamzerus. The halacha says that there is no such thing as a “sofek mamzer’. “mamzer vadai omar rachmono velo mamzer sofek”. If there is a doubt we always pasken “lekuloh”.