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Israel’s Law of Return, enacted by the Israeli Parliament in 1950, enables persons of Jewish identity to obtain automatic Israeli citizenship. The Law of Return defines Jewish identity broadly, including those who are Jewish by birth or as a result of conversion within the category of those eligible to acquire Israeli citizenship. Occasionally, Israel’s existence as a haven for Jews has been cited by prosecutors and courts as a basis for denying bail to Jewish defendants in criminal cases. In some instances, prosecutors and courts have explicitly cited the Law of Return when advancing such a position; at other times, the arguments have emphasized the theoretical possibility an individual might flee to Israel, without expressly mentioning the Law of Return. In either case, the question remains: Is the existence of Israel, as a potential refuge for Jews, a legitimate consideration when setting bail for Jewish defendants?

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