Manasseh and Efraim, Joseph’s sons, became half-tribes replacing the tribe of Joseph. Manasseh and Efraim were of the Jewish people; Jeremiah quotes God as saying, “Truly, Ephraim is a dear son to Me (Ch.31:20).” Today, if the government in Israel is successful, Manasseh and Efraim would not have enough Jewish ancestry to make aliyah. Their mother was Egyptian.
Israel’s Law of Return, which states who has the right to make aliyah, incorporated the definition who is a Jew from Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Race Laws: if a person has one Jewish grandparent, he or she is deemed to be Jewish for the purpose of aliyah. The Law of Return grants Israeli citizenship to a child who has one Jewish grandparent (but Law of Return does not make a child Jewish, necessarily).
Under the current coalition agreement reached with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Avi Maoz, who heads the extremist, anti-LGBTQ Noam party, will also be appointed deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, responsible for promoting “national-Jewish identity.” If the government has their way, the “grandchild clause” will be removed from the Law of Return.
Grandchildren who have a single Jewish grandparent will not be the only victims. The Law of Return also grants Israeli citizenship to people who underwent Reform or Conservative conversions outside of Israel. If the current government is successful, the clause on Reform and Conservative conversions outside of Israel will be removed. That removal of the clause strikes at the heart of Reform and Conservative movements.
Maybe the removal of the clauses will not be successful. Stay tuned.