Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

Bibi Brokers Six-Month Freeze on Conversion Bill

An agreement has been reached to put a six-month freeze on a controversial Israeli conversion bill up for a vote in the Knesset.

According to a deal brokered Thursday between Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet secretary and several Israeli non-Orthodox religious movements, the bill, proposed by Knesset member David Rotem of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, will be withdrawn for six months while a coalition of non-Orthodox Israeli groups led by Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, submit proposals on how to redraft the bill, Haaretz reported.

The bill, which passed a committee vote last week but still needs three Knesset readings to become law, had drawn significant opposition from Diaspora Jewish groups, including the non-Orthodox American religious movements and the Jewish Federation of North America, as well as the Israeli prime minister and the Jewish Agency. They objected to the bill’s giving ultimate authority over conversions to the Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

“Change in the law on conversions in Israel must be carried out through broad agreement to prevent a split within the Jewish nation,” Netanyahu said, according to Haaretz. “Unity is in the foremost interest of the State of Israel and the Jewish nation, and I intend to defend that principle with determination.”

The Jewish Federations of America welcomed the delay.

“We truly support this process of a dialogue table, which allows the participants time to discuss this important issue appropriately and reach a solution that protects the bonds between Israel and the Diaspora,” the JFNA’s CEO, Jerry Silverman, said in a statement late Thursday. “We are also thrilled that Natan Sharansky will be leading the process.”

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.