Israel to allow Venezuelan converts to immigrate

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.