Publication: Israel Faxx
Date: Wednesday, November 12 2003
By Ruth Sinai, Ha’aretz Correspondent
Israelis may now adopt children from India, according to an agreement reached about a month ago between the two countries. It is expected to help many Israeli families, as there are few states from which children can be adopted.
initially objected to the Israeli demand to convert the adopted children to Judaism in Israel. However, they were eventually persuaded to agree. Amatzia, a non-profit organization under the National Religious Party’s Emunah women’s movement, is one of some 10 agencies licensed to bring foreign children here for adoption. Amatzia initiated the contact with India after most existing foreign adoption sources dried up.
Romania, the source of most children adopted by Israelis, shut its doors to foreign adoptions two years ago as part of a reform in its adoption laws. Ukraine also halted adoption to Israel for a while, fearing for the children’s safety, while Russia insists on a five-year wait before issuing permits to foreign adoption organizations. Last year the Philippine government announced that it would no longer allow children to be taken to Israel due to the security situation.
Amatzia’s representatives went to the north of India, where the children’s skin is lighter, which would better suit Israeli families. Australia and European states also adopt children in India, where the number of orphans is almost unlimited, and are satisfied with the results.
After the Indian authorities agreed in principle to the adoptions, an unexpected difficulty arose, following Amatzia’s demand that all the adopted children undergo conversion in Israel. The organization demands this condition of Israelis who seek its help to adopt a foreign child. The Indians objected to the demand initially, and only after the intervention of the Foreign Ministry were persuaded that this would be for the good of the children, who will be living in Israel with Jewish families.