What could be blocking these Jews’ aliyah?
A BLACK Jewish family from South London have been forced to delay their aliyah because of unexplained stonewalling by the Israeli authorities.
Carl and Maleka Levy — Reform converts to Judaism from Rastafarianism — had been set to begin a new life with their five daughters in Ashkelon three months ago.
But this week the family, who are regular worshippers at Bromley Reform Synagogue in Kent, vented their frustration at the failure of Israel’s Interior Ministry to approve their emigration.
“It’s awful,” said Mrs Levy, whose youngest, 10-monthold daughter was named Ahliyah in anticipation of their move. “As far as we understand, Israel welcomes people home. We are Jewish, so I don’t see why we are being treated this way.” Israel’s Law of Return, granting citizenship to d i a s p o r a J e w s , makes no distinction between Progressive and Orthodox converts. But in recent years, the Interior Ministry has tried to impose new conditions on the entry of converts.
Rabbi Uri Regev, the Israel-based president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, said: “It is unfortunate and regrettable that obstacles are being put in the way of the Levy family, who should be fully treated as fellow Jews by the state of Israel. We do not know of any objective reason why they should be treated differently, other than the colour of their skin.” An Interior Ministry official said on Wednesday that she could not go into the case without being given a passport number of the Levys — information unavailable to the JC.
One possible reason for the ministry’s stance — cited by representatives of the family — is that officials may suspect a link with the Black Hebrews, a sect not recognised as Jewish, which is based in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.
Five years ago, Mrs Levy went to Dimona to have her fourth daughter, Shlomeet, also a Hebrew name, because she is a believer in natural birth and an Israeli Jewish friend in the UK had told her about a natural-birthing clinic in the town.
“I was very excited. It’s the land that I love and I’d be spiritually connected even more,” she said. “What better way
Maleka and Carl Levy