RELIGION

Israel to allow Venezuelan converts to immigrate

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010, file photo, Natan Sharansky, the Jewish Agency's chairman is seen during a press conference while announcing the opening of the new Israeli Cultural Institute, housed in Budapest, Hungary. Israeli authorities have reversed their decision and now say they will permit nine Venezuelan Jewish converts to move to Israel in light of the humanitarian crisis in the South American country. The Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the Israeli government to serve Jewish communities worldwide, said it had proposed the compromise. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010, file photo, Natan Sharansky, the Jewish Agency's chairman is seen during a press conference while announcing the opening of the new Israeli Cultural Institute, housed in Budapest, Hungary. Israeli authorities have reversed their decision and now say they will permit nine Venezuelan Jewish converts to move to Israel in light of the humanitarian crisis in the South American country. The Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the Israeli government to serve Jewish communities worldwide, said it had proposed the compromise. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Venezuelan Jewish converts Hermidez Garcia, from right to left, Franklin Perez and Jackson Marrone, are photographed during an interview in their home in Maracay, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Israeli authorities said on Tuesday that nine Venezuelan Jewish converts that include Garcia, Perez and Marrone, will be allowed to move to Israel in light of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, reversing an earlier decision to keep them out. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Venezuelan Jewish converts Hermidez Garcia, from right to left, Franklin Perez and Jackson Marrone, are photographed during an interview in their home in Maracay, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Israeli authorities said on Tuesday that nine Venezuelan Jewish converts that include Garcia, Perez and Marrone, will be allowed to move to Israel in light of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, reversing an earlier decision to keep them out. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sahir Quintero, wife of Franklin Perez pictured in background on left, plays with her daughter Benazir, at their home in Maracay, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Israeli authorities said on Tuesday that nine Venezuelan Jewish converts that include Quintero and Perez, will be allowed to move to Israel in light of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, reversing an earlier decision to keep them out. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Sahir Quintero, wife of Franklin Perez pictured in background on left, plays with her daughter Benazir, at their home in Maracay, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Israeli authorities said on Tuesday that nine Venezuelan Jewish converts that include Quintero and Perez, will be allowed to move to Israel in light of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, reversing an earlier decision to keep them out. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

In a reversal, Israeli authorities say they will permit nine Venezuelan Jewish converts to move to Israel in light of the humanitarian crisis in the South American country.

Israel's Interior Ministry had initially rejected the converts, claiming they did not meet criteria to ensure that converts are committed Jews, and not only seeking a better life in Israel.

Advocates say the converts are in mortal danger amid food shortages and violence in Venezuela. They claim the Interior Ministry, headed by an ultra-Orthodox Jew, discriminated against the converts because they were converted by the more liberal Conservative Movement.

The Interior Ministry on Tuesday said the converts could move to Israel if they undergo a repeat Conservative conversion. They are expected to leave Venezuela in the coming weeks.