All requests from refugees and illegal migrants from Africa to convert to Judaism have been rejected over the past year, according to a source in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The source could not provide exact figures but said “many dozens” of such requests were rejected. Conversion falls under the auspices of the PMO.
“Dozens of Africans come straight to our offices in Tel Aviv, try to convince us to allow them to submit a request that would be examined by an exceptions committee,” a PMO official said on the sidelines of the PMO conversion department’s annual convention last week. “Of course, all the requests were rejected.”
Rabbi Seth Farber, the founder and director of Itim, which advocates on behalf of those who need help navigating Israel’s religious bureaucracy, said the main problem is the exceptions committee itself.
There is no reason to convert people if they are just exploiting the conversion process to become Israeli citizens, said Farber. But he noted that most of those appearing before the exceptions committee are the non-Jewish partners of Israelis, and most are not from Africa.
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