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November 30, 2005

Ha'aretz Lost in Translation

An article posted on Ha'aretz's Web site yesterday includes an internal contradiction, the apparent result of a poor translation. The English article begins:

Israel Religious Action Center on Tuesday morning petitioned the High Court of Justice with a request that immigrants who undergo Reform or Conservative conversion in Israel be recognized as Jews and entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

Only Orthodox conversions to Judaism in Israel are recognized today under the Law of Return. The Reform movement is asking the High Court to end this monopoly.

Scroll down towards the end of the article to find the contradiction:

Several months ago, the High Court issued a precedent-setting ruling that people who undergo non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism overseas are entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, even if the converts are Israeli residents who traveled overseas solely for the purpose of converting.

Thus, contrary to the second paragraph of this article, Orthodox conversions performed in Israel, as well as non-Orthodox conversions performed abroad, are recognized under the Law of Return.

The English version is not a faithful translation of the original Hebrew, which reads:

In doing so, the petitioners are requesting that the High Court end for once and for all the Orthodox monopoly on conversions in Israel, and that it rule on one of the fundamental legal and social questions in Israel – "who is a Jew."

(Hat tip: A. Bell)

Posted by TS at November 30, 2005 07:56 AM


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