Michael Jackson's two elder children could be returned to the custody of their Jewish mother, Debbie Rowe.
The children are Prince Michael I, who is 12, and Paris Michael Katherine, 11, who — according to halacha — would also be considered Jewish.
Jackson’s youngest child, Prince Michael II, had a surrogate mother , whose identity is not known.
When Rowe's Jewish identity first came to light, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a close friend of Jackson, expressed his astonishment.
"It seems incredible to me that Michael Jackson would not have told me that Prince and Paris are Jewish, unless he did not know," Rabbi Boteach said. "It's possible that Michael never knew that Debbie Rowe is Jewish. I don't know that she is a committed Jew.
But since the children are Jewish, they should be raised Jewish." Jackson married Rowe, his former dermatologist 's nurse, in 1996, after his divorce from Lisa-Marie Presley. They divorced three years later and Rowe signed a contract waiving her parental rights after accepting a £2.4million pay-off.
But she later contested the contract, among other arguments expressing her fears that the children were being exposed to the teachings of the Nation of Islam through their nanny and Jackson’s siblings.
The Nation of Islam is considered by some Jewish leaders to be antisemitic. Under Californian law Rowe would be likely to regain custody, even if Jackson had designated another guardian in his will.
Iris Finesilver, Rowe's lawyer, who has previously confirmed that her client was Jewish, said she was certain Rowe would seek custody of the two children.