Rabbi David Stav
Rabbi David StavYoni Kempinski

Another prominent Israeli Rabbi has thrown his support behind Rabbi Haskel Lookstein.

R' Lookstein has been the center of some controversy following a ruling by the Petah Tikva District Rabbinical Court that conversions officiated by the US Rabbi would not be legally recognized in Israel.

The matter became an international story owing to the fact that one of the conversions officiated by Rabbi Lookstein was that of one Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump.

Following a meeting in New York with Rabbi Lookstein, Rabbi David Stav, Founder and President of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization expressed his full support for the rabbi after the Petach Tikva Rabbinical Court nullified conversions which had been performed by Rabbi Lookstein.

“This decision causes three several major problems which cannot be ignored," said Stav, "Firstly, there is an explicit halachic ruling that we should not oppress a convert.  The conversion that has been nullified by the Court is that of a clearly well-intentioned “righteous convert” and it is inconceivable that a conversion is being nullified simply because of purely bureaucratic considerations."

Rabbi Stav's comments come against the backdrop of protests against the Rabbinate for what many see as a radicalization of its rulings. Luminaries such as Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat are attending a protest in front of the Rabbinate offices today (Wednesday). 

"Secondly," the Tzohar president said, "this decision further deepens the already troubling divide between Israel and the Diaspora.  

"But most troubling of all, it leads to a situation where assimilation, both here in Israel and in the Diaspora, is allowed to go unchecked. Because when we have a situation where well-intentioned converts are being disregarded simply because their conversion was officiated by a nationalist and modern Orthodox rabbi, what message does this send to those interested in converting according to halacha?”