Israeli rabbinate admits using DNA tests to prove Jewishness – Liberman: “Blatant racism and discrimination”

Advocacy groups in Israel have criticized the increasing use of DNA tests to determine the ‘Jewishness’ of citizens, saying the practice disproportionately targets immigrants particularly those from the former Soviet Union.

In order for couples to be officially recognized as married in the state of Israel, they must go through the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate’s office. From there, couples can be referred to the rabbinical courts if insufficient documentation or certification exists proving the mother of the bride or groom was married through the Rabbinate.

About half a dozen complaints about the practice have been filed over the past year or so with ITIM, an organization that assists immigrants and converts challenged by Israel’s religious bureaucracy.

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In almost all of these cases, the individuals who were asked or advised to undergo genetic testing were immigrants from the former Soviet Union or their offspring.

Chief Rabbi David Lau has admitted for the first time that the Chief Rabbinate and the state Rabbinical Courts use DNA testing in ‘certain circumstances’ to help determine whether a person is Jewish.

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Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman, who on several occasions exposed the ultra-Orthodox establishment for discriminating against FSU immigrants, called the tests “blatant racism and discrimination,” and urged Lau to “resign immediately.”