The adoption of a child by a non-Jewish family does not invalidate his right to make aliyah to Israel in accordance with the Law of Return, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz told the High Court of Justice on Monday.
Mazuz's issued his opinion in response to a petition filed by Regina Bernik, who asked to make aliyah to Israel by virtue of her father's Jewishness, although she was adopted by a non-Jewish couple as a child.
Bernik's request was turned down by the Interior Ministry, and she decided to challenge it at the High Court.
The Law of Return, which was passed in 1950, is one of the cornerstones of Israel as a Jewish state. The law states that every Jew in the world is entitled to immigrate to Israel and receive Israeli citizenship.
In 1970 an amendment to the law was passed that stated that the eligibility to citizenship would apply to any Jew's spouse, his children and grandchildren and their spouses, even if they are not Jewish themselves.
According to Mazuz, the Law of Return does not discuss adoption and does not refer to the possible implications of adoption on the right of return. Therefore, the law is open to interpretation in this regard.
Mazuz said that he preferred the legal interpretation by which adoption does not constitute religious conversion, and therefore the adoption process does not work to change the adopted child's religion or biological affinity.
The biological offspring of a Jew who was adopted as child by a non-Jewish family, and who seeks to make aliyah, is entitled to do so by virtue of his own affiliation and blood ties with the Jewish people, Mazuz stated. He added that the same should apply for a Jew's grandchildren.
The court's ruling is expected within a few days.