When a person claims to be ethnically Jewish and wants to make Aliyah Israel's immigration authorities may request a DNA test. See this and this.

However I cannot find the details of how it is decided what DNA is Jewish.

So, what DNA is considered Jewish by the Israeli government?

  • 6
    I'm not active on this site, but I'd suggest to close (and delete) this question. It's based on faulty evidence and its title and content is misleading. Quora is full of such loaded political questions. Let's not stoop to that level. Oct 2, 2021 at 22:51
  • 9
    @Fizz: Quote from the first source given by OP: "Seemingly reputable scientific publications taking these claims at face value forces us, as well as other journalists, to question the authors’ credentials." The link for "Seemingly reputable scientific publications" goes to the second source given by OP. In other words, the first source says that the second source is rubbish. I guess OP didn't actually read the sources. Oct 3, 2021 at 1:29
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    @Fizz: And the first source clearly states that it's completely wrong to say that "Israel decides what DNA is Jewish" or that some "DNA is considered Jewish by the Israeli government". Again - it looks like OP didn't even read the first source. Oct 3, 2021 at 1:31
  • 7
    @jcsahnwaldt: If we closed every question based on a mistaken premise, we wouldn't really have a site anymore.
    – Kevin
    Oct 3, 2021 at 1:58
  • 6
    The linked "scientific" paper shows a shocking ignorance of basic genetics. They refer to "Jewish genes" a nonsensical concept since all humans share the same set of genes (barring certain rare mutations, structural variants that can delete entire genes). Although you can get signatures that are more common in specific ethnic groups, these are specific variants and not entire genes. The paper is nonsense, at least about the genetic component. Source: I am a professional biologist working in the field of human genetics.
    – terdon
    Oct 3, 2021 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


They don't decide what DNA is Jewish.

The article you link says (their bolding):

A DNA result that “proves” your Jewish origins does not grant the right to make aliyah according to the Law of Return.

To be granted the right to aliyah, you need to show that you are "Jewish or [have] Jewish ancestors within the last two generations" (and that you are not a convert to other religions). A DNA test as you imagine couldn't do that.

The article goes on to to explain that a DNA test could only serve as evidence if it is used to establish family ties to a specific individual. So you could use a paternity/maternity test to establish that you are a child of a specific, individual Jew. But you can't use a DNA test to show "some general connection to Jewish heritage for the purpose of aliyah to Israel".

The "Genetic citizenship" paper is also about paternity tests (it's mainly about the Masha Yakerson case, and the source they use makes it clear that the test in question is about paternity; any other claims about potential DNA tests are shrouded in a lot of "may"s).

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    So then it requires having a parent or a grandparent whose ethnicity is established via some other means?
    – pans
    Oct 2, 2021 at 11:00
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    @pans It requires being a Jew - which is an ethno-religious group -, which can be substantiated with religious and civil documents (eg a letter from a rabbi).
    – tim
    Oct 2, 2021 at 11:10
  • @pans Not ethnicity...as children of converts are not permitted to emigrant to Jewish Israel.
    – paulj
    Oct 4, 2021 at 19:48
  • @paulj Are children of ethnically Jewish atheists allowed to?
    – ciaro
    Oct 4, 2021 at 20:34
  • @paulj It depends on whether Israel recognizes the conversation as valid. Most (all?) non-Orthodox conversions are not recognized, and I’m not sure about those. But regardless, it’s pretty rare that the child of a convert doesn’t also have a Jewish parent, which would satisfy “Jewish ancestor in the last two generations”, so it should be a moot point.
    – Bobson
    Oct 5, 2021 at 12:56

Im not jewish in faith or blood, i'm a Christian and full blooded Scandinavian, but to my understanding Aliyah and Israel as whole has one main core value, all politics aside.

  • ensuring that there is a home for the jewish people around the world to dwell in safety (to be a Jew can either be your physical lineage, or your faith).

so if you can prove in either way that you are jewish in faith, or by blood (literally it sounds like it could be anything, there would be no specific DNA test, however if you took a DNA test and researched it out, you would likely be eligable)

Answers for the qualifications required can be found here on the Israeli website defining eligibility for Aliyah

(another link at the bottom for the full description of the "Law of Return")

Outside of Israel, The Jewish Agency for Israel acts on behalf of the Government of Israel to process applications and facilitate immigration for:

  1. People eligible according to the Law of Return Jews, (as defined by the Law), their children, grandchildren, and spouses
  2. Israeli citizens born abroad (Ezrachim Olim) A person born outside of Israel to at least one Israeli parent who is themselves not an 'Israeli citizen born abroad'
  3. Returning minors (Katinim Chozrim) A person who was either born or lived in Israel, and left Israel with both parents before the age of 14, and wishes to return at the age of at least 17, after having spent at least 4 years outside of Israel

*Additional conditions apply to all of the above categories. Please speak with your local shaliach or the Global Center for clarification. In order to demonstrate eligibility, the Government has requested that the following documents accompany your application:

  • Documents showing Jewish connection (These may include: a letter from a rabbi or Beth Din, conversion documents, and marital and/or burial records.)
  • Documents showing your current civil status (In addition to your birth certificate, you may also be asked to present your marriage / divorce and or death certificate of a spouse.) Note: All civil documents require an apostille or equivalent certification Information about how to obtain an apostille

According to your status as one of the above, you will need to present documents showing that you have lived outside of Israel for relevant periods. Passports (If you are an Ezrach Oleh or Katin Chozer – see above – you will need to present your Israeli passport.) List of visits to Israel, and their duration Medical declaration

for a full description of the "Law of Return", it can be found here

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