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Reform Jews Would Convert Illegal Migrants, Israeli Interior Minister Suggests

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri suggested on Monday that opponents of a controversial recent conversion bill, which would prohibit all private conversions, are motivated by a desire to convert illegal African immigrants and promote intermarriage.

The Times of Israel reported that at the weekly meeting of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Deri attacked Israeli Reform leader Gilad Kariv and Union of Reform Judaism leader Rick Jacobs, whom he called “that man who doesn’t live here.”

Kariv “boasts that he wants to enshrine their [illegal migrants’] status in Israel. This is the same man who wants the keys to establish who converts here,” said Deri.

“I leave it to your imagination what will happen here in a year or two if the keys to the Law of Return… are in these people’s hands,” he added.

Kariv called Deri’s statements “shameful lies” and “defamation.”

“Minister Deri is a liar, who it seems forgot that the Torah commanded us to avoid lies,” the Reform leader told The Times of Israel.

Contact Jesse Bernstein at [email protected] or on Twitter @__jbernstein

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