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Israel high court orders land fund to allow non-Jews to purchase land

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Israel [official website] Monday ordered the Jewish National Fund (JNF) [fund website; Wikipedia backgrounder] to end its discriminatory policy of selling land only to Jews, ruling that the JNF's mandate to provide land for Jewish resettlement cannot deny equal rights to non-Jewish Israelis. The high court also accepted a temporary arrangement in which the JNF will allow non-Jews to purchase property if the state Israel Land Administration [official website] reimburses the JNF with an equal amount of land. The high court gave the JNF three months to establish a permanent arrangement to comply with the decision.

The JNF, which owns approximately 13 percent of all Israeli land, was founded in 1901 to acquire and develop land for Jewish resettlement. Critics of the JNF say the fund became unnecessary following Israel's statehood in 1948, while supporters say that the JNF is necessary to ensure that Israel remains a predominately Jewish state. AP has more.

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