Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with all sides in the conversion
controversy Monday ahead of a key vote on the issue in the Knesset on Wednesday,
when a bill upholding IDF conversions is due for a preliminary
Netanyahu, his bureau chief Natan Eshel, and coalition chairman
Ze’ev Elkin each conducted several meetings in an effort to bridge the gaps
between Israel Beiteinu on one side and Shas and United Torah Judaism on the
“We owe it to these soldiers who sacrifice themselves for the
state to ensure that they will have the recognized conversions that they seek,”
Netanyahu told the Likud faction Monday. “We are working on a compromise but if
one cannot be reached by Wednesday, we will enable the bill to
Israel Beiteinu called a press conference for Tuesday, in which
party chairman Avigdor Lieberman is expected to vent his anger at Netanyahu and
issue new threats to the coalition.
Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar is expected
to present a last-minute compromise proposal when he returns from abroad
One possible solution is to form a committee of religious
court judges that would immediately begin issuing conversions under less strict
Renegade Shas MK Haim Amsalem told Channel 10 on Monday that he
will once again defy his party’s mentor, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, by voting in
“Shas should have embraced the soldiers rather than make things
harder for them,” he told religious affairs correspondent Avishai
“These soldiers sacrifice their lives, and only in their merit
are the yeshiva students are able to learn Torah,” Amsalem said.
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