The $4,500 DNA Test:
Many ask, "How can a DNA test for Jewish Identity cost so much?" This is how.
The Israeli law (Genetic Information Law, 2000) and the Israeli Ministry of Interior procedures are rigid. Section 4 of the Law of Citizenship states that anyone born to an Israeli mother or father, whether in Israel or abroad is an Israeli citizen by birth. See the full pdf document here. A DNA test can be performed only by authorization of the Israeli Family Court and if the result proves that the child is, in fact, a son/daughter or even a grandson/granddaughter of an Israeli Jew, the court will order the Israeli Ministry of Interior to register the child of the Israeli as an Israeli citizen. One needs to hire a lawyer to start such process and this can take a lot of time until the process is completed. Note that this DNA examination is not intended to show some general connection to Jewish heritage for the purpose of Aliyah to Israel, rather specifically prove that a person is the child or grandchild of an Israeli citizen.
At the moment the Israeli law doesn’t accept other DNA tests as enough evidence to grant Aliyah for a person seeking to immigrate to Israel according to the law of return. The reason the DNA test result is not accepted as enough evidence to allow Aliyah is in part since the law of return excludes Jews who seek to make Aliyah after they have become members of other religions and ceased being Jewish. The Israeli legislature assumed that if a person can’t bring documented evidence to show he or she has Jewish origins, it must be that they have become members of other religions several generations ago; therefore the genetic link to Jewish roots is not sufficient.
Thus, you can see how entangled the test is in bureaucracy and legalities. It's not simply a DNA test, but much more exists around the procedure itself. As expensive as it is, it can prove to be the difference between a Jewish person finding their home in the land and receiving citizenship, and deportation.
If it's in your heart to help the needy in their desire to take hold of the Land and citizenship what's rightfully theirs, please consider giving a gift.
~Global Aliyah Team