ISRAEL: What Is a Jew?

Your son's son, whose mother is a

stranger, is not your son. Your daughter's son, whose father is a

stranger, is your son.

—The Talmud

In the week when the rest of the Middle East was concerned with the question "What is an Arab?", Premier David Ben-Gurion's government faced a worrisome vote of confidence on the question "What is a Jew?" For thousands of years Jews have generally interpreted the Talmud to mean that only the offspring of a Jewish mother can be a Jew, and the orthodox consider the matter settled. But for the...

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