Minister Wants Additional Funds to Help Converts

Housing Minister Uri Ariel requests additional budget of NIS 45 million, including funds to help converts prove their Jewishness.

Shlomo Pitrikovsky, Cynthia Blank ,

Uri Ariel
Uri Ariel
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Housing Minister Uri Ariel turned to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Religious Affairs Naftali Bennett and Minister of Finance Yair Lapid on Sunday morning regarding the government's decision to increase the budget for issues of conversion within the Ministry of Religious Affairs. 

Minister Ariel requested to add NIS 45 million (~$12 million) to the Ministry's budget with a significant portion allocated to helping converts prove their Jewishness by finding old records from their places of origin. 

Minister Ariel stressed that "many immigrants now are forced to convert to prove their Jewishness, which they are otherwise unable to prove because of administrative difficulties in their respective countries and due to the passage of time." 

Ariel says there are several bodies already dealing with the issue successfully. Every family they can help solves the cases of 3-6 people. 

He added, "What is delaying the expansion of the task to clarify Judaism is the budget. All agree that this issue is critical and urgent." 

For that reason Ariel has requested, "to add to the government budget - an amount of NIS 15 million (~$4 million) for 3 years granted to the Ministry of Religious Affairs."

The proposal, which will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval Sunday, also addresses the conversion process within Israel, mainly of immigrants who are not Jewish according to Halakhic Jewish law, despite their Jewish origins.

The issue of conversion has been in the news lately because of the polarizing Hatnua sponsored bill which would remove the Chief Rabbinate's supervision over the conversion process in Israel.

Proponents have claimed the new law would "ease" the process, while critics have warned it would destroy valid conversion to Judaism.

The full Knesset is to vote on the bill for a second and third reading this coming Monday. 



top