Jerusalem Post just reported the following. I personally find this item rather strange in that it doesn't directly mention what Rav Ovaida Yosef's view is in regards to the recent ruling concerning Rav Druckman's conversions. It is difficult to fathom the significance of this report - since what it says he said is not being disputed. Therefore the conclusions drawn are simply not justified. Any more comprehensive reports of the view of Rav Ovadia Yosef, shlita would be greatly appreciated. See Yeshiva World's comment.
"Conversion courts are too stringent"
Preeminent Sephardi halachic authority Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said this week that conversion courts were being too inflexible and stringent with potential converts, said sources close to the rabbi.
"Accepting the yoke of the commandments is essential for conversion," Yosef reportedly told a small group of Shas MKs and functionaries. "But we must not push off converts too much. It is not right to cause them pain by rejecting them."
According to MK Haim Amsalem (Shas), who was present when Yosef made the comments, Yosef quoted from the Babylonia Talmud to prove that rabbis should be lenient and welcoming when dealing with potential converts.
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 99-100) relates that the patriarch Abraham rejected Timna who wished to become his concubine. Instead, Timna married Eliphaz, Abraham's great grandson through Eisav and gave birth to Amalek, the Jewish people's archenemy.
Yosef said that from this passage in the Talmud we must learn to be more accepting of gentiles who wish to become a part of the Jewish people.
Yosef's comments come as a group of haredi Ashkenazi rabbis have launched an attack on the Conversion Authority, the official state-sponsored body responsible for conversions, for being too lenient.
Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who is responsible for conversions, has also been severely criticized by the haredi community for giving his backing to the conversion authority.
Amar, one of Yosef's protégés, has been under pressure to adopt more stringencies with respect to the acceptance of converts. However, Yosef's more lenient stance on the issue will give Amar the rabbinic backing he needs to stand up to this pressure.
Yosef's position also underlines differences in approach between Sephardi rabbis, who tend to be more lenient in their halachic rulings in comparison to haredi Ashkenazi rabbis.