Members of the haredi community involved in conversions to Judaism are calling for an immediate freeze on all military conversions following the Chief Rabbinate's decision to set up a committee to investigate the military conversion process.
Decision to check army converts raises protest
Chief Rabbinate decision to set up committee to investigate IDF conversion process slammed by wide spectrum of religious groups
Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet
Members of the ultra-Orthodox community involved in conversions to Judaism are calling for an immediate freeze on all military conversions following the Chief Rabbinate's decision to set up a committee to investigate the military conversion process.
Rabbi Nahum Eisenstein, chairman of the World Rabbinical Committee for Conversion Matters and confidant of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, said to Ynet that the need to investigate, recognized by the rabbinate, shows that flaws have been found in the military conversion process. Thus, he said, the process should be immediately halted until the investigation is completed.
Eisenstein said Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar is avoiding taking a principled decision on the validity of army conversions, and that the committee was a way of procrastinating. "We need to decide simply that conversions there are worthless," he said.
However, Yisrael Beitenu called for the cancelation of the Chief Rabbinate's authority on this issue, adding that the fact of setting up a committee is a disgrace to the rabbinate, the military conversion process and the State of Israel.
The organization Tzohar said the decision will cause suffering to thousands of kosher Jews who will have to wait to hear their legal and religious status, and goes against the Torah injunction to avoid paining the convert.
MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) said the dignity of the converts was more important than the dignity of the Chief Rabbinate, adding that Israel must not allow a small group to dictate every conversion in the State.
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, leader of Reform Judaism in Israel, said the Chief Rabbinate continues to abuse IDF converts. He said the rabbinate's refusal to remove all doubt from these converts shows once more that the monopoly enjoyed by the rabbinate is "bizarre and dangerous."
Executive Director of the Masorti Movement in Israel Yizhar Hess added his voice to the criticism, saying the decision shows how the Chief Rabbinate distances itself from the beating heart of Israeli society. He added that the haredi takeover of the rabbinate showed its historical function had come to an end.