Conversion process by Giyur K'Halacha
Conversion process by Giyur K'Halacha ITIM spokesperson

Judge Tamar Bar Asher, a justice on the Jerusalem Municipal Court bench, has issued a ruling recognizing two women as Jewish due to their having gone through the conversion process run by the Giyur K'Halacha network. The women both wished to convert in order to qualify for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, and following this court ruling, both will be able to immigrate after Giyur K'Halacha certifies their having completed the process.

Giyur K'Halacha describes itself as "Israel's leading, non-governmental conversion court network ... [which] provides an inclusive, supportive Orthodox conversion process for Israeli citizens," and claims to have converted over a thousand people, mostly the children of immigrants from the former USSR. "We view conversion as a path rather than a goal," it states on its website.

With the founding of the State of Israel, it was agreed that the State would only recognize conversions certified by the Chief Rabbinate, and this situation has endured to this day. Nonetheless, progressive groups have constantly chafed at the restrictions this imposes and sought to have non-Rabbinate conversions recognized as valid. Several of Giyur K'Halacha's rabbis such as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and Rabbi David Stav have been at the forefront of efforts to undermine the Chief Rabbinate's authority in conversion issues as well as kosher supervision.

In her ruling, Judge Bar Asher based her decision on the lack of a clear distinction in the law between the various conversion processes the law regards as Orthodox, arguing that this should mean that any institution defined as Orthodox should be permitted to conduct conversions, and citing a Supreme Court ruling in support of her position.

In a different ruling, an administrative court in Jerusalem accepted an appeal submitted by the Hiddush organization and ruled that the Israeli Interior Ministry and Population and Immigration Authority must register a couple who married using the Utah online marriage service over Zoom as a married couple in all respects.

Hiddush had lodged its appeal in the names of eight couples who contracted a civil marriage via a digital connection to Utah. The eight couples were denied official recognition as married following the guideline established by then-Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), following Israel law that does not recognize civil marriages contracted in Israel.

The ruling by Judge Avraham Rubin stated that, "The appeal before me is an appeal on a broad and fundamental issue ... and the argument that states that one cannot register people married using the online Utah service because the marriage was performed in Israel is an argument that cannot stand. Therefore, these marriages are to be registered ... as long as no other legal obstacle to registering the marriage exists." The justice also stressed that his ruling should be applied to all future couples choosing to marry via Utah's online marriage service.