Opponents of Israel Beiteinu’s conversion bill celebrated a temporary victory on
Tuesday as news spread that it would not reach the Knesset floor until at least
October 11, when the parliament’s winter session opens.
Leaders of the
broad coalition of organizations that reject the bill, because they believe it
would officially give Orthodox Judaism power over conversions and would alienate
Diaspora Jews, congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his role in
postponing the vote.RELATED:Knesset summer session expected to close quietlyOpinion: A call for state-sanctioned religious tolerance
The coalition against the bill is comprised of
organizations including the Jewish Agency, the Jewish Federations of North
America, the American Jewish Committee, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal and
the Reform and Conservative movements.
In a letter to Netanyahu, the
leaders of Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal including UIA World
Pazner voiced support for the prime minister’s statement on Monday that
legislation will not pass in its current form.
“We have been very
encouraged by your public statement that you will not let the bill pass
the active role taken by Mr. Natan Sharansky, chairman of the [Jewish
Executive, consolidating the opposition to it,” the letter read.
Jewish Federation head hopes deferral will be used to reach
Silverman, head of the Jewish Federations who is currently on a visit to
said he hoped the deferral of the reading of the bill would be used to
compromise satisfactory to all sides based on its original draft.
it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about an opportunity for us to
come to a
table and get the appropriate people at the roundtable the prime
proposed and create a strong dialogue and come to a resolution prior to
session,” Silverman said. “To me it creates an opportunity.”
MK David Rotem of Israel Beiteinu, who drafted the bill, declined to
Speaking on Tisha Be’av, the Orthodox lawmaker told The
Jerusalem Post he was “fasting and won’t talk politics.”
Tal Nahum, a
spokesman for Israel Beiteinu, said his party plans to pass the bill
Knesset reconvenes in the fall.
“The conversion bill is ready but won’t
be introduced to the floor because we don’t have a majority yet,” Nahum
“When that time comes we will try again, hopefully with the support of