Rabbi Gilad Kariv responds to conversion recommendations

4 June 2018

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, President and CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) stated in response to the recommendations of the Nissim Committee on the Conversion issue:

“In the recommendations on the issue of conversion there are both worrisome and encouraging aspects, and on the surface a discussion would be appropriate. However it is clear that the Haredi political parties and the Rabbinic establishment are already planning to bury the recommendations permanently. This is more proof that they are not interested in reaching a national agreement or compromise. This is exactly why these parties cannot be given sole responsibility for entrance through the “gates of the Jewish people” which belong to all the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, and not to an extreme minority. After the inappropriate and destructive conduct of the Government of Israel following the Western Wall compromise agreement, we are not willing to again enter into new understandings with the government only to later discover that the Prime Minister’s “natural partners” will have thwarted them rudely while carrying on a campaign of insult, slander, and incitement against millions of Reform and Conservative Jews.”

The statement follows the presentation on Sunday 3 June of former Israeli Justice Minister Moshe Nissim’s recommendations on the subject of conversion to the Prime Minister after a process that lasted 8 months during which the IMPJ met twice with Mr. Nissim for lengthy working meetings.

The recommendations of the former minister were presented after the Government requested from the Supreme Court a delay in submitting their decision on the petitions by the Israel Reform and Conservative movements to recognise Progressive conversions conducted in Israel for the Law of Return.

In principal the proposal has three main parts:

1. That by law in Israel there would be only one authority for conversion and that this would be Orthodox. Private conversion (both Orthodox and non- Orthodox would not be recognised)

2. Israeli law would recognise that (as already decided by the Supreme Court) that conversions by all Jewish communities in the Diaspora (including Reform and Conservative) would be legal and recognized for purposes of the law of return and those converts would be allowed to make Aliyah to Israel and be officially registered as Jews in the Population Registry.

3. Supervision of all issues involving conversion including nominating conversion “dayanim”( judges) would be done by a new government authority (not the chief rabbinate). In this new authority there would be representatives of the government, the chief rabbinate, and the Jewish Agency for Israel (with specific representation by JAFI of the Reform and Conservative streams). The chief rabbinate would not have veto power whatsoever.

Read more about the IMPJ response to the Nissim Commission conversion recommendations here.
 
 

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