Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Government Secretary Tzvi Hauser announced this week that a channel for dialogue would be opened and the freeze by Reform Movement representatives toward the government on the issue of conversion would be extended until July 10 of this year.
Reform organizations agreed to stop petitioning the High Court to advance legal proceedings related to conversion, while the government pledged to suspend all moves to alter conversion legislation during this period.
The two sides also agreed to set up a “roundtable” led by Sharansky and Hauser, where representatives from the Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Jewish Agency and the Reform Movement would also take part.
“The very idea of dialogue with these heretical movements that stab Judaism in the back is very troubling,” said Finance Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. “On one hand Reform advocates petition the High Court and turn the High Court into a game for them to toy with, and now they’re announcing that they won’t petition the High Court and are preventing Israel Beiteinu from submitting the [Conversion] Law. The Prime Minister’s recent trend of capitulating to every group of this sort is a very dangerous course. He is seemingly keeping everybody happy – on one hand there are no High Court cases and on the other there’s no [Conversion] Law – but the Prime Minister must decide whether he is with us or against us.”
Rabbonim and dayonim have been worried about reports that the Chief Rabbinate will soon publish the findings of a committee it appointed to inquire into IDF “conversion,” an inquiry that is wholly superfluous since it is abundantly clear that the “conversion candidates” in the military have not undertaken Torah and mitzvas, and in fact have not even kept a single Shabbos. Moreover, the IDF conversion process involves heretical studies.
“The Chief Rabbi must stand guard in all of the conversion battles and draw the obvious conclusions from the disturbing figures in the conversion apparatuses. They should set up a limited conversion system composed of reputable, fixed botei din,” they said.