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Bill to Legalize All IDF Conversions

MKs Rotem and Ilatov propose a bill that would make all IDF conversions in past, present and future legal and non-annullable.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/24/2010, 10:00 PM / Last Update: 10/24/2010, 11:13 PM

Flash 90

MK David Rotem, Chairman of the Knesset's Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, and MK Robert Ilatov, both of the Israel Our Home faction, introduced on Sunday a bill that would give legal status to all conversions performed in the IDF. The bill would apply to all such conversions carried out in the past, to those currently in process, and to future conversions as well.

"Lately, doubts have been cast regarding the validity of IDF conversions, without any reason” the bill's sponsors stated in its explanatory notes. “In order to avoid any doubt, and in order to remove any cloud hovering over the heads over past converts and those presently studying for conversion, this law is intended to confirm with certainty and decisiveness that conversions now being carried out in the IDF– or carried out there in the past – are legal conversions, and that all state bodies will recognize them without casting aspersions upon them.” 

“The entire debate over the validity of the IDF conversions and the establishment of sundry committees to look into the matter are a scandal,” MK Rotem added angrily. “All of the conversions are completely legal [from a Judaic point of view] and unblemished. It is too bad that because of certain pressures, some people are casting doubt on the Jewishness of hundreds of thousands who served in the IDF and put their lives on the line for the state.”

MK Rotem said that if doubts are cast on the IDF conversions, “no one will want to convert during his military service anymore, and we will find ourselves in a big problem.”

In a recent High Court proceeding, the state's representative said that IDF conversions were problematic because they were not supervised or approved by the Chief Rabbinate.