Daily Israel Report

Conversion Bill could Divide the Nation, Warns Legislator

MK Motti Yogev pleads with bill's author, MK Elazar Stern, to rethink establishment of independent religious courts.
By Netanel Katz
First Publish: 3/20/2014, 7:28 PM

MK Motti Yogev
MK Motti Yogev
Flash90

MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) asked MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua), who authored the Conversion Bill, to rethink the move and cooperate with the Chief Rabbis on drafting the bill, instead of pressing forward with the initiative against the Rabbis' wishes.

"The Jewish Home, headed by Minister Naftali Bennett and his deputy, Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, asked you to coordinate your bill's wording with them and with the Chief Rabbinate – or they will propose a governmental bill that will be coordinated with the Chief Rabbinate,” Yogev told Stern. “MK Stern, cooperate and your deeds will be viewed favorably.”

"In your actions to legislate the Conversion Bill today – an action that refuses to cooperate and coordinate with the Chief Rabbinate at all, as regards the wording of the bill, which is bound up with Jewish Halakha and with the concern for the unity of the Jewish people – you are endangering the unity of the people,” Yogev warned.

"Independent courts will lead us to a situation in which one court converts and the other disqualifies,” he predicted. “They will lead us to a situation in which conversions are not recognized.” The MK explained that if some conversions are not recognized by all Jews, people will start conducting their own genealogical databases to determine who is a Jew and who isn't – “and we will be two nations in one country.”

"Just as a bridge is built in coordination with an engineer and the Standards Institute, and medicine is taken with a doctor's prescription and Health Ministry approval – so the question of who is a Jew and how to register marriages and divorces in Israel are determined with the Chief Rabbinate.”

"When one is dealing with halakhic questions of national responsibility, then there is one address – the Chief Rabbinate that was elected in our generation.”