MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) praised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's reported decision to remove the proposed Conversion Law from the agenda of Sunday's government session.
The bill, proposed by the Hatnua party's MK Elazar Stern, would have made it possible for local rabbis to carry out official procedures of giyur – conversions into Judaism – thus circumventing the Chief Rabbinate's control over the procedure.
MK Chetboun issued a statement in which he said: “I applaud the prime minister for showing national responsibility. This is a brave decision, that prefers the unity of the Jewish people over the unity of the coalition.
"Some things are beyond the narrow political considerations of coalitional makeup. Privatization of the conversion procedure is a danger that looms over the unity of Israel, and stopping it is a national mission,” said Chetboun.
"The law's main purpose,” he explained, “is to take away from the Chief Rabbinate the rabbinic authority over giyur and allow every local community rabbi to carry out giyur on his own. Rabbinic sources said in the last few months that privatization of giyur could split the public into parts that will not be able to marry each other.”
"The character of conversion and marriage is the final glue that makes it possible for us to be united as a single people, and not as fractured groups,” he added. “Over the last year I have met many converts and people who are in the process of converting. They made clear that they are not interested in a form of giyur that is accompanied by discord. Giyur must be coordinated with the Chief Rabbinate and not brought in through the back door,” said Chetboun.