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The Law of return (Hok Hashvut)


The Law of Return was a law passed by the Knesset (Israel's parliament) on July 5th, 1950, two years after the State of Israel was established, ending a 2,000-year Jewish exile. The date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of Herzl's death.


The law is written with a few simple words that define Israel’s central purpose:

“Every Jew has the right to immigrate to this country...”
"כל יהודי זכאי לעלות ארצה."

The law was passed by the Knesset, following the initiative of Knesset member Zorach Warhaftig from the Hapoel Hamizrachi party. It was for many years the central legal expression of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.


Essentially, all Jews have the right to be Israeli citizens.


In 1955, a law excluded dangerous criminals from this right. Since then, Jews have been able to claim citizenship in Israel, as long as they don't pose a threat to public safety, national security, or the Jewish population.


In 1970, the law was revised to include not only Jews but also their non-Jewish children, grandchildren, spouses, and their children's and grandchildren's non-Jewish spouses as well. By adding this provision, Israel not only safeguarded families from breakup but also ensured a safe haven in Israel for non-Jews who were persecuted because they were Jewish.


In 2018, the idea of Jews returning to their Land received constitutional status in Article 5 of the Basic Law: Israel - the nation-state of the Jewish people. This constitutional status provoked anger among minorities in Israel, especially in the Druze community, who felt betrayed despite their strong involvement in State institutions and the army.


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