Matan Kahana
Matan KahanaKnesset Spokesperson

MK Matan Kahana (Yamina) has sharply criticized a statement by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) indicating that he will advance a new conversion law to ensure that only conversions in Israel conducted under the auspices of the official state conversion system are recognized.

"What Deri's statement means is that we'll reach a total stalemate on the issue of conversions," Kahane said. "What he means is that the outline developed by Moshe Nissim - supported by some of the great rabbis of the Religious Zionist movement (such as Rabbi Haim Drukman, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Rabbi Zefania Drori, Rabbi Eliezer Valdman, Rabbi Isser Kalonski, and Rabbi Aryeh Stern) - is to be canceled.

"The State of Israel needs a state conversion law but it needs a law that provides a solution for the hundreds and thousands of Israeli citizens who want to become Jews, not a law that slams a door in their faces," he added. "The person who is stringent regarding conversion ends up encouraging assimilation."

Yesterday, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance the enactment of a new conversion law which would only recognize conversions under auspices of the Chief Rabbinate.

Deri submitted to Netanyahu a memorandum of law, which would effectively block any private conversion in Israel, including haredi conversions such as those from Rabbi Karelitz's court in Bnei Brak.

In an interview with Radio Kol Hai, Deri stated, "I asked Bibi to distribute a memorandum of law that would only recognize official state conversions in the State of Israel. We do not have Yisrael Beytenu, who fought against it. We also do not have the Yamina party, at least some of whom fought against it because they wanted to take care of the Tzohar organization. It's easier to promote today."