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The Orthodox monopoly on conversion for adoption is ended by Israel’s High Court

By 05/01/2023 12:54 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

On Sunday, the High Court of Justice concluded a 20-year legal dispute that mandated that non-Jewish children adopted in Israel go through an Orthodox conversion to Judaism.

The Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism petitioned the nine-justice panel in 2003, and the panel’s decision was based on that petition.

The Israeli rule requiring Jewish parents and their adopted children to practice the same religion was in question.

The petition came about because the state’s Youngsters Protection Service had determined that only Orthodox conversion would qualify non-Jewish youngsters for adoption.

Last year, few non-Jewish children were available for adoption; as a result, the court decided that each case could be looked at separately.

According to Uri Regev, CEO of the NGO Hiddush—For Religious Freedom and Equality, “This case could have and should have been resolved many years ago, but it was protracted because, among other reasons, the court took its time in handing down a decision.”

The petition was presented to the Supreme Court, acting as the High Court of Justice, by Regev, the organization’s founding director.

“Despite the haredi wrath against the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court is anything but eager to pull the chestnuts out of the fire and to rock the boat on issues of religion and state, and often tries to pressure the parties to reach an agreement in the hopes that solution would be found without having to rule,” he claimed.

Regev argued that adoption is a civil institution; it has never been and shouldn’t be subject to Jewish law (Halachah).


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