Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Conversion - Court ordered funding to Reform


The Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee held a stormy debate on Monday afternoon over whether or not the state is implementing the recent High Court of Justice ruling requiring it to fund non-Orthodox conversion programs.

The urgent hearing was held at the request of MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima).

"The court was called in to address this matter because the state gave the Orthodox institutions a monopoly on conversion. There is room in Israel for religious pluralism," said Molla. "That is why the courts passed the reins on to us."

Molla, in his opening remarks, emphasized that he did not intend to hold a halachic debate on the nature of Reform conversion, but rather to discuss the division of funds for such private conversion centers.

"It cannot be that the Israeli taxpayer is funding only one type of conversion," he said. "Religious pluralism is a foundation stone of any democratic state. The state must therefore view all of the streams of Judaism as equals and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry must carry out the High Court ruling to the letter of the law."

But it was exactly the halachic debate to which lawmakers were drawn, with MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) infuriating representatives of the Reform Movement by terming them "haters of Israel."

"There are rules set for joining the Jewish people," said Gafni. "It is not just being here and being a citizen. Mixing these fields could bring about a national tragedy."

Shas faction chairman MK Avraham Michaeli argued that "the High Court ruling is causing waste of the government's money, because the Reform converts are not achieving the goals of conversion. Their conversions do not allow them anything in terms of marriage and divorce, and they cause confusion and divisiveness among the nation." [...]

1 comment :

  1. The problem isn't conversion, because as things stand, there aren't likely to be too many R or C converts in Israel. There aren't that many religious leaders to perform them.

    The problem is that this is the first step to changing that, to importing the US's pluralism. For the first time money is going to an alleged "Judaism" that isn't O.



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