Monday, May 25, 2009

Shas - Reform conversions will attract Palestinians


The religious parties in the Knesset are demanding that the government amend the law to make the Chief Rabbinate the only body authorized to deal with matters of conversion in Israel.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai, chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, warned that if non-Orthodox conversion is recognized in Israel, "there are hundreds of foreign workers and Palestinians who will take advantage of the Reform conversion in order to gain Israeli citizenship."

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who heads conversions in Israel, along with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, held an emergency meeting at their office on Sunday, attended by the religious ministers and MKs, in order to formulate a response to last week's Supreme Court ruling affecting conversion.

In its decision, the Supreme Court ordered the state to fund conversion centers that are being run by the Reform movement in Israel.

Amar warned that the Supreme Court ruling is part of a broader effort by the court to undermine the power of the Chief Rabbinate and of Jewish orthodoxy in Israel.

"The next step of the Supreme Court will be to recognize Reform conversions," Amar said.

Currently the state does not recognize reform or conservative conversions, unless these are started with studies in recognized Reform and Conservative centers out of the country and given a final test and seal of approval from the Orthodox Rabbinate here.


  1. Palestinians do not need to convert, they are already Jewish because Reform accepts patrilineal descent.

    Since there are today 375 million Arabs who descend from Abraham this puts Jews in the extreme minority among those who have a claim of "right of return" due to Jewish status.

    If non Orthodox criteria of "who is a Jew" is to be accepted, all I can say is you can't have it both ways:

    1. A "biblical" claim to return to the "Land of Israel"

    2. the secular "feel good" definition of "who is a Jew" that includes the highest number of people.

    What you have in the end, is what we have had in the Middle East for the past 2000 years and that is an Abrahamic people whose extreme minority is Jewish.

    It is contrary to any concept of government other than apartheid that 1% of the people should rule the rest simply on account of "race", "ethnicity" or "religion".

    Many Rabbis predicted this.

  2. Recipients and PublicityMay 25, 2009 at 11:56 PM

    (Due to new Blogger space rules, this post is devided into three parts)

    Conversion Wars explode: Why the Charedim will still not get their way. IBelow is how it's reported by Arutz Sheva. But let's take a few moments to think the matter over.

    This should not be seen as a fake scare-tactic about bogey men "Palestininains" or Arabs who don't give a darn about becoming "Jews" who as Moslems believe Jews descend from "monkeys and pigs" as it says in their Koran, they hate the "Yahoods" with a passion by now thanks to modern radical Islam, or Islamofascism that's now a worldwide epidemic. And they are not going to romanticize about "Abrahamic whatnot" which is a new-fangled religious egalitarian notion.

    What's more accurately happening in Israel is another battle in a real war, the Conversion Wars that Jews have been waging since the creation of the Jewish sate of Israel and the question of "Mihu Yehudi?" ("Who is a Jew?") arose because the Law of Returm (chok hashvut) states that any "Jew" may (re-)claim automatic citizenship in the new Jewish state of Israel upon arrival if they are born of a Jewish mother or converted, but the type of conversion, if any, has never been defined by Israeli law specifically.

    Tragically, because this law has never been officially ammended or changed to definitively add the word "kehalachah" ("according to Jewish Law") into it, there has remained the vast legal loophole through which hundreds of thousands of people who claim to be "Jewish" have come to Israel, as the hundreds of thousands of Russians have done who came to Israel, because there is no definition in Israeli law that defines a "Jew" as being a Halachic. They are what I term the so-called "non-Halachic Jews"

    As the last Lubavitcher Rebbe had fought for, a point on which he is to be commended and he almost won in the days of PM Shamir who backed-off because of pressure from the powerful Jews of the US, who are now even more empowered in the Obama regime.

    Still, the only legal and constitutional way this can be resolved, qualified or solved in Israel is by the key Hebrew word "kehalacha" or "giur kehalchah" (conversion ACCORDING TO HALACHAH) being placed into official Israeli law by the KNESSET, and ONLY THEN would the rabbis have a claim to assert their full powers and rights as poskim and arbiters and to have the right to demand and be followed as to what is correct conversion and who are to be accpted as valid converts.

    That is the only way the Orthodox and Haredi would ever get their way. Not by screaming, or protests or threats of any kind.

    It is not just a matter of Israel's secular courts but that ALL secular Israelis, who are by far still the vast majority in Israel who need to be first convinced and won over and they will not give in to threats and screaming from the rabbis, and they will see through silly attempts to cast the Palestinians as bogey men when the Palestinians are presently the world's "heros" -- "roaming at will" -- they choose when to become suicide bombers and assassins, or lob kasaams and katyushas from Gaza, or they simply seduce hundreds (or is it thousands by now?) of naive attention-starved Israeli girls annually to marry them, convert themn to Islam, and live in Arab hovels and villages raising kids they have for their Arab husbands who usually have a couple of other additional Arab wives as permitted by Islamic law.

    But secular Israelis will see rabbis yelling about conversions as yet another full-scale attempt at religious coercion (kfia datit) by a rowdy and rude Haredi minority that feeds off the state and does not serve in its military who demand the "right" to determine the very nature and essence of secular Jews.

    Secular Israelis and the politicians that represent them are not that stupid and they are too cynical and bemused by Haredim to give in to any threats from what they regard "tin pot" wannabe Khomeinis and Talibans.

  3. Recipients and PublicityMay 25, 2009 at 11:57 PM

    Conversion Wars explode: Why the Charedim will still not get their way. IIWith all due respect, Rav Amar, Rav Yosef and the Sefardic rabbonbim, with all their greatness and political skills, play right into this trap, and they are not the ones to handle this hot bombshell social and religious issue. They come from cultures like Iraq and Morocco where the system of rule is by dictatorship when in this case greater diplomacy and tact and patience are required.

    What is most baffling is that these rabbis often praise kiruv work yet when it comes to their need and obligation to do kiruv work with their secular governement ministers, MKs and allies they are at a loss and resort to shouting, decrees and RICHUK, the polar opposite of kiruv, with threats and ultimatums that solve nothing but only escalate the confrontation and drive the chilonim to dig in their heels and fight back.

    Article follows:

    "Religious Parties Demand: Put Rabbinate in Charge of Conversion

    by Gil Ronen
    Published: 05/24/09, 10:56 PM

    ( Representatives from Shas, United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and the Jewish Home convened for an emergency meeting at the offices of the Chief Rabbinate Sunday and decided to block perceived attempts to erode Orthodox control of conversion to Judaism (giyur). The meeting was called at the behest of Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, following the High Court’s decision last week [Court Orders Equal Funds for Reform Conversions] to force the State to fund Reform conversion institutes

    Besides Rabbi Amar and his Ashkenazic counterpart Rabbi Yonah Metzger, all of the ministers from Sephardic hareidi party Shas attended the meeting, as did Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman of UTJ and Knesset members from both factions. MK Uri Orbach of the Jewish Home attended as well.

    The forum decided unanimously to demand that matters of conversion be taken out of the control of the Prime Minister’s Office and be placed under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Amar asked the hareidi Knesset members to expedite the drafting of a law to this effect.

    The participants were in agreement that the High Court decision last Tuesday grants a degree of legitimacy to Reform conversions and that it opens the door to eventual recognition of Reform conversions carried out in Israel. Israeli law currently recognizes non-Orthodox conversions only if they were carried out abroad.

    Festival of ConvertsOn Friday, hareidi newspaper Yated Ne’eman published an attack on the “Festival of Converts” which the Ministry of Absorption is planning for the upcoming week of Shavuot. Shavuot is considered the “converts’ holiday” because it involves reading the Scroll of Ruth the Moabite, Judaism’s most famous convert.

    Sunday’s Yated Ne’eman ran an editorial blasting “the harsh and dangerous attempt by the High Court to force itself and to interfere in the most basic matters of Jewish Law, with the intent of aiding the industry of fake conversions that has been uncovered over the last few years, which enables thousands of non-Jews to assimilate among us while disguising themselves as Jews.”

    Shas Chairman and Minister of Interior Eli Yishai said that “there are hundreds of foreign laborers and Palestinians who will make use of the reform conversion in order to gain citizenship in Israel.”

    Minister Yaakov Mergi (Shas) said that the High Court “is pushing all those who abide by Jewish Law and Jewish identity to keep a record of their genealogical histories – a development that would lead to a rift within the Jewish people.”

    MK Orbach said that conversions must be carried out according to Jewish Law and that while he has practical disagreements with the hareidi representatives, he agrees that Reform conversions are not true ones and that the High Court “interferes in many matters that it should stay out of."

  4. Recipients and PublicityMay 26, 2009 at 1:23 AM

    Conversion Wars explode: Why the Charedim will still not get their way IIINetanyahu will not cave in to Haredim.

    As much as new Israeli PM Netanyahu has worked out a deal with the Haredim and Shas to back his present government coalition, he still has open bridges to his allies in the opposition Kadima party who he could strike a deal with and take them into his coalition instead of dealing with the Haredi parties.

    The Haredi parties must weigh the cost/benefit ratio of making threatening demands upon Netanyahu and face the threat themselves that he may throw them out of his coalition and bring in Livni & Mofaz and the full Kadima party instead, or even worse, throw all of Israel into total political and geo-strategic chaos in the possible scenario that no majority can be lined up, Israel will become the laughing stock of the world, and then the PLO/Hamas and their Obama/Clinton regime allies will have a field day getting concessions out a weakened Israel.

    Right now Israel is in a strong position with a united coalition. The Haredim must face up to the fact that they cannot dictate to Israeli secular society, ever. The best solution is an internal one within Haredi communties as was officially and opnely requested about ten years ago by Rav Eliashiv, that a concerted effort be made to set up SIFREI YUCHSIN ("official genealogies/geneological records") and require those over whom the rabbonim do have an influnce over, the Orthodox and Chareid public, to begin the process of officially registering themselves and their families with a RABBINICALLY APPROVED REGISTRY OF JEWISH FAMILIES that would note all the people of Jews born to true Jewish families, known Jewish mothers and 100% Halachically approved converts.

    This is an obvious concrete step that the Haredi rabbonim have been avoiding, in spite of what Rav Eliashiv has stated as a long time overdue need. The other tactic of fighting the chilonim and the secular arms of the state of Isreal is like the proverbial wolf who threatned to "huff and puff and blow the house down" which simply does not and will not work under present circumstances.

  5. Maybe blogger space limitations are in place for a reason?

    A list of links with short accompanying commentary would be more appreciated by me.


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