Yair Lapid: 'Israel needs to recognize Reform and Conservative conversions'

Blue and White leader says Israel 'only country in Western world where Jews don't have freedom of religion.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Kobi Richter, TPS

Blue and White leader MK Yair Lapid on Saturday spoke to members of the Reform Movement in Israel about the changes Blue and White will make on issues of religion and state.

"One of our core issues is religion and state. Israel is the only country in the Western world where Jews don’t have freedom of religion," he claimed. "We must change that."

"The complete control by the Orthodox stream of Judaism must stop. Religious coercion must stop. Alongside the rabbinate we need a civil track, civil marriage. All streams of Judaism – Reform, Conservative – must be equal before the law. All streams of Judaism must have access to the Kotel (Western Wall), in accordance with the Kotel framework. It’s a framework which requires compromise, we don’t like all of it but it’s a smart compromise."

In fact, everyone - Jewish, non-Jewish, Orthodox, and Reform - has equal access to the Western Wall, and there is even an egalitarian area specially made for those who wish to pray with members of both genders.

Lapid continued: "The State needs to recognize Reform and Conservative conversion. And the same is true with budget allocations - we need equality between the streams of Judaism. Either the country helps communities, or it doesn't. If it does, then it has to help them all."

"My colleagues from Yisrael Beytenu and Labor-Gesher-Meretz are going to speak here tonight as well. I recommend listening to them carefully. They are serious people. On issues of religion and state there isn’t a great deal between us. Our world views are similar. But I want to remind you of one thing: Real change comes from the party of government. Only the lead governing party.

"I was a member of the coalition, we were a large party, but it was there that I learnt the truth: On the big issues, and religion and state is a big issue, being a member of the government isn’t enough. Being a part of government isn’t enough. Not the second- or third-largest. You need to be the party that leads the government. It will be less purist but the more power it has. the more good things will happen. Size creates the power to act."