Dna Tests Sought In Israel To Prove Immigrants Are Jews

JERUSALEM - Russian immigrants whose Jewish lineage is in question have been asked to undergo DNA tests, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

Dozens of immigrants have already been asked to take the tests - to prove they are related to the blood relatives named on their birth certificates - and those who refuse to cooperate risk eventual deportation.

The tests are administered only as a last resort to verify background, the ministry said.

Community activists and immigrants say the practice is humiliating.

In the past decade, nearly 800,000 immigrants have come to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Under Israel's Law of Return, those who can show they have a Jewish parent or grandparent are eligible for citizenship and government benefits.