Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said Sunday that he, and the Jewish Agency, were “troubled” by the decision of the government earlier Sunday to reform the conversion system in Israel. Under the plan, control of conversions will be placed under the Rabbinical Courts, reversing the law that would have allowed individuals seeking to convert to approach rabbis outside of their home towns, and would have created conversion courts in every town, with a large degree of autonomy.
“The establishment of the local courts was supposed to be the solution for tens of thousands of new immigrants and their children who are in great need of conversion services, and wish to join the Jewish people as fully recognized members.
“We cannot accept that a such an important issue for the future of the Jewish people will be decided based on coalition politics,” said Sharansky. “We cannot allow this to be based on promises made to one party or another.” Return of the conversion process to the Rabbinate was a condition for the participation of Shas in the current government.
“Given the difficulty of solving this problem via political channels, we must continue to act in alternative ways to ensure that the historic process of the ingathering of the exiles continues,” added Sharansky,