Amar, Yishai, others meet with Yosef on IDF conversions

Shas party members Yaakov Margi, Nissim Ze'ev say Chief Rabbinate will approve conversions, Netanyahu will not let bill pass.

January 14, 2011 09:40
1 minute read.
Shas head Eli Yishai

Eli Yishai. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and other senior rabbis will hold a meeting Friday at the home of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to discuss IDF religious conversions, Army Radio reported.

Religious Affairs Minister Yaakov Margi said in an interview with Army Radio on Friday that he believes Netanyahu will not let the military conversions bill pass.

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"All conversions up until now will be authorized and in the future, conversions will be coordinated with the general conversion system," under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, Margi explained.

MK Nissim Ze’ev, also a Shas party member, said that previous conversions were acceptable, and therefore there is no reason the Chief Rabbinate will not approve them.

"In principle, when I look at the thousands of conversions, the practical Halacha, everyone who came to get married - can," Ze'ev said. "The problem is solely a technical one."

On Thursday, Amar announced that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised that if the rabbis approve the conversions, Netanyahu will not support the military conversion law.

Also on Thursday, Knesset Law Committee Chairman David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) announced that his committee would hold a discussion on his military conversion bill this Tuesday, at the end of which the committee might bring it for a vote.

The bill, sponsored by Rotem and fellow Israel Beiteinu MK Robert Ilatov, would grant conversions conducted in the IDF independent status from the Chief Rabbinate.

The law currently requires that all conversions in Israel, including those in the military, need the final signature of the head of the relevant religious community – in this case, the rabbi heading the rabbinic courts, Amar.

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