Knesset Member Amsellem strays from party line once again; calls on Chief Rabbinate to endorse IDF conversions. 'These are not revolving-door conversions. To stay indifferent is to be obtuse,' he says.
Shas MK backs IDF conversions
Knesset Member Amsellem strays from party line once again; calls on Chief Rabbinate to endorse IDF conversions. 'These are not revolving-door conversions. To stay indifferent is to be obtuse,' he says
Yoav Zitun • Ynet
'Rebel' Shas Knesset Member Chaim Amsellem continued to defy his party's official position on Tuesday when he called on the Chief Rabbinate to recognize all IDF conversions.
Shas sternly opposes the military conversion law, which passed a preliminary vote at the Knesset two weeks ago, proposing conversions performed by the IDF not require the the Chief Rabbinate's approval.
The ultra-Orthodox party MKs consider the law an infringement of their status quo and fear it might undermine the Rabbinate's status.
Speaking at the Council for Peace and Security conference, MK Amsellem said that all conversions conducted by the army must be endorsed.
"These are not revolving door conversions. We witness these converters every day, and know that some of them joined the family of bereavement. To stay indifferent is to be obtuse," he said.
In recent months MK Amsellem has been alienated by his own party, after expressing a series of liberal views that deviated from Shas's formal platform.
The party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, called Amsellem a "non-believer," while newspapers affiliated with Shas subjected him to harsh criticism.
MK Amsellem stressed that his statements were not made in a vacuum. "Saying the haredi public is isolated, and doesn’t listen to what is being said about it on the street is too simplistic.
"Change comes from the bottom. The haredi public – Sephardic and Ashkenazi alike – realizes that a change must come," he explained.
Referring to the question surrounding his political career, MK Amsellem said, "It is not a coincidence that I am being targeted within my own party. I gathered the courage to say the simple truth – that I support the integration of the haredi public in society.
"I would like to reassure those who are worried, and tell them that they will most likely see me in the next Knesset," he concluded.