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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Will the 'Jewish Home' party listen to their rabbis?

Last week, I reported that the quid pro quo for the Tzipi Livni party's support for the three bills that were rammed through the Knesset last week (electoral reform, 'equal burden' and referendum) was that the coalition would support a bill introduced by MK Elazar Stern of the Tzipi Livni party that would essentially strip the Chief Rabbinate of its power over conversions. At the time, I asked:
Given that the 'Jewish Home' party regards itself as the primary proponent of the idea that the state institutions of the State of Israel (qua State) [have] religious significance, is the 'Jewish Home' party actually going to support this bill?
On Wednesday morning, we got part of the answer. Their rabbis definitely will not support the bill. The 'Jewish Home' party's rabbis met this morning with Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadiah Yosef zt"l, the founder of the Shas party) and agreed that the Chief Rabbinate will not recognize what it's calling "Stern's conversions" (link in Hebrew). But the bill passed the legislation committee of the Knesset on Wednesday morning.

Rabbi Yosef said that conversion will continue to be decided only based upon halacha (Jewish law) as determined by the Chief Rabbinate. According to Rabbi Yosef, the Knesset has nothing to say about conversion, and they are fooling people by saying otherwise. The result, should this bill pass, would be the administration of Sifrei Yuchsin (Lineage Books), without which it would be virtually impossible to marry here.

The rabbis signed a joint declaration saying that they would oppose the law. Tens of amendments, mostly introduced by MK Orit Struck (Jewish Home) were rejected. But Struck and MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) have demanded a revote, and so a revote must take place.

No word yet on how close the vote was in the Knesset legislation committee or who voted for or against - Israel Radio is on strike.

Will the 'Jewish Home' party listen to its rabbis?


Reader Romy L points me to this post on Arutz Sheva's website on Tuesday, which claims that the 'Jewish Home' party is opposed.
The religious-Zionist Jewish Home responded by saying that the move contradicts the Coalition agreement that stipulated that the Conversion Law would be coordinated with the Chief Rabbis and the Ministry of Religions. The Jewish Home is threatening to vote against the Coalition's position in all of the votes that remain to be held in the Law, Constitution and Justice Committee until the end of the Knesset's winter session.
The winter session ends next week, however.
A threat to vote against the coalition for a week seems kind of empty.... But how quickly can we introduce a bill to repeal the 'equal burden' law?


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At 5:02 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Of course rabbis do not support a bill that strips them of power. Is that not a no-brainer? In other news, water is wet.


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