Matan Kahana
Matan Kahana Saria Diamant

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana enlisted the help of three experts in order to formulate the conversion outline he is promoting as part of the "conversion reform."

One of the people who was asked to draft the law is Dr. Shuki Friedman, a member of the Israel Democracy Institute until a few months ago who is considered a liberal and an expert on religion and state and religious processes.

In 2021, after the High Court ruled that the state must recognize a reform conversion made in Israel in the matter of the Law of Return, Dr. Friedman wrote that "the ruling has considerable symbolic importance. This is another brick in the recognition of non-Orthodox currents."

In an article in Haaretz in 2016, Friedman wrote that the High Court ruling and the privatization trend of religious services once again raise the question of the need for a chief rabbinate. Once upon a time, the Chief Rabbinate was the address for every Jewish matter. Today it is mainly a bureaucratic system, fortifying the economic and political power of a small group of activists. "

Another person who drafted the law together with Minister Kahana's office is Dr. Nathaniel Fischer of the Ecclesiastical Forum, who is considered more conservative. Fischer has previously written a study for the Israel Democracy Institute.

According to Fischer, as emerges from an article he wrote in 2018 in Israel Hayom, in order to increase the number of converts in the IDF, "the rabbis need to convert more. "The halachic tradition has given full halachic backing to the conversion of people who are not going to be religious."

Dr. Fischer believes that the conversion law will not be able to solve the problem that Minister Kahana seeks to solve through the conversion law. In an interview with Ynet in 2019, he said: "Personally, I was involved in many projects and attempts to promote conversion as much as possible - It must be said fairly and honestly that there is no chance in the world, even if we count the most liberal rabbi, that half a million people will convert. So conversion can not be a single solution. We need to see how we solve the problem from the root. "

The third partner in drafting the conversion law is rabbi of Elazar settlement, Rabbi Chaim Iram, whose name as one of the drafters of the law has been revealed in the past.

Minister Kahana's office responded: "Minister Kahana was assisted by many experts on the subject of conversion when writing the conversion law. Among them is Rabbi Chaim Iram, rabbi of the Elazar settlement, with many years of experience in the world of conversion, Dr. Shuki Friedman Head of the Department of Government at Shaare Mishpat College and researcher at the Ecclesiastical Forum, which specializes in assimilation, migration and conversion. Minister Kahana thanks them and many other senior rabbis in religious Zionism for their great contribution to drafting the law. ".

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