11/07/2014 01:18 EST | Updated 01/07/2015 05:59 EST

John Tory Is Jewish, Claims Israeli Press

John Tory is Jewish, even though he is a member of the United Church.

This, is according an argument appearing in Friday's Times Of Israel newspaper. The article cites halacha, or Jewish law, to prove the Toronto mayor-elect's previously unreported heritage.

The ancestral link starts with Helen Yvonne Solomon, Tory's grandmother. With the help of the Ontario Jewish Archives, the newspaper dug up Solomon's birth certificate from 1909, which states she was born into a Russian Jewish family.

Jewish law states that the religion is passed down generations through the mother. So Tory's mother, Elizabeth Bacon, was a member of the faith, also by Jewish law.

Through his mother, Tory then would also be Jewish, by that rationale.

"Of course I knew that," said Tory when he was asked about the article.

He said he knew of "many, many Jewish relatives" in his bloodlines. He called himself proud of his ancestors.

Tory answered the questions as he opened up this year's Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.

If it is accepted that Tory is a member of the Jewish faith, the newspaper points out he would be the fourth Toronto mayor who identifies as Jewish. Nathan Phillips was the first Jewish mayor of Toronto (1955 to 1962), followed by Philip Givens (1963 to 1966) and most recently Mel Lastman (1998 to 2003).

Tory's mayoral opponent Doug Ford in the October election claimed his wife was Jewish, following the same religious laws of maternal heritage.

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