Moshe Dagan
Moshe Dagan FLASH90

The Director-General of the Chief Rabbinate, Moshe Dagan, testified before a Knesset committee Wednesday that the Chief Rabbinate does not maintain any “blacklists” of Diaspora rabbis, whose conversions are not recognized by Israel’s top state rabbinical authority.

Earlier this month, an officer in the Chief Rabbinate disclosed a document listing some 160 Diaspora rabbis who, the Rabbinate noted, had supervised weddings which were not recognized in Israel.

The document, which had been mailed to the liberal Orthodox ITIM organization, which advocates for reform of the Chief Rabbinate system, was then passed on to media outlets and touted as proof of a Rabbinate “blacklist” of Diaspora rabbis whose testimony regarding personal status issues would not be recognized in the Jewish state.

The Chief Rabbinate denied maintaining such a blacklist, arguing that the list issued was an informal document with no official status and did not reflect any policy to exclude the rabbis included on the list.

Nevertheless, the list provoked a backlash from Modern Orthodox organizations in the US and Israel, including ITIM and Ne’emanei Torah Ve’Avodah, which slammed the alleged “blacklisting” of non-haredi rabbis.

On Wednesday, however, Chief Rabbinate Director-General Moshe Dagan reaffirmed the Rabbinate’s position that the document in question was not a blacklist, and that the Rabbinate maintains no such lists.

Testifying before the Knesset’s Aliyah and Absorption Committee, Dagan said: “There are no blacklists of rabbis in the Chief Rabbinate,” adding that “the list that was publicized is a list of applications for wedding licenses which were rejected for technical reasons.”

“The list was taken out of context, and I blame the behavior of the ITIM organization in connection to this [controversy]. I’m happy that ITIM is here to challenge us [to improve], but with that being said, you’ve got to be careful not to make this negative or [factually] incorrect, as they did in this case.”

“There were certain limitations regarding the list that was sent to ITIM; there is nothing in it against the rabbis themselves. This is a list of wedding licenses that were either accepted or rejected, but not because of the rabbis who made the [licenses].”

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