Religion & Beliefs

Fake Jews: Venezualans “Converted” To Judaism For Israeli Citizenship

In a modern twist on the story of the conversos–Jews in Spain and Portugal during the 14th and 15th centuries, who underwent forced conversions to Catholicism — an investigation is now underway into the case of 200 Venezuelan citizens who … Read More

By / February 15, 2008

In a modern twist on the story of the conversos–Jews in Spain and Portugal during the 14th and 15th centuries, who underwent forced conversions to Catholicism — an investigation is now underway into the case of 200 Venezuelan citizens who went through with fraudulent conversions to Judaism and were awarded immigration papers by the Jewish Agency Aliyah envoy to South America.

Rumor is that Ilan Architecter, the Director of the Israeli absorption center in Ra'anana, had an immigrant quota to meet–though that claim is fiercely denied by The Jewish Agency. Architecter has confessed that he "knew the Rabbi who converted the Venezuelans was suspect," and said that he "wanted to be acknowledged as an excellent employee and therefore wanted to bring as many immigrants to Israel as possible."

Apparently the majority of these immigrants were indigenous Venezuelans, persuaded into conversion by promises of state Aliyah benefits.

Related: The Conversos Dilemma, Crypto-marrano-converso-Jews