On Sunday, the Israeli government’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a proposed law that would grant authority to municipal rabbis to perform conversions to Judaism, and end the Rabbinate’s monopoly on conversions.
The controversial law has been the object of intense controversy and opposition from many religious figures and the Haredi community, which dominates the Rabbinate. A controversy also lies in the fact that the law would accept conversions to Judaism by non-Orthodox dominations for purposes of exercising Aliyah rights under the Law of Return, in particular Conservative and Reform conversions.
Meir Porush of the United Torah Judaism party slammed the committee’s approval of the law, saying, “To our sorrow and shame, voices of rejoicing over the law are heard from the Reform and liberal choir, and therefore, those who are Haredim for the word of the Lord do not take part in it.”
On the other hand, Matan Kahana, Israel’s minister of religious services, said, “We are making history. I thank my colleagues in the coalition [government], the rabbis, and [our] partners, with whom we wrote the law, and the wide public that supports us. Together, we have taken another step toward the protection of the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.”