Shas: We won't let Israel Beiteinu tear nation apart

By JONAH MANDEL
December 15, 2010 03:44

Rabbi Yosef expresses need to solve problem of conversion, support for IDF soldiers; asks to give Amar time to find "technical solution."

2 minute read.



Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Head of the Shas Council of Torah Sages Rabbi Ovadia Yosef expressed his deep support of the IDF soldiers and the need to solve the technical problem of their conversions, in a consultation held with Shas ministers on Tuesday.

According to a message issued late Tuesday night, Yosef also asked that Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar be enabled to find the technical solution to the problem uncovered, that of the need for the chief rabbi's signature on the military conversion certificates which for nearly ten years has been lacking, in conjunction with the chief IDF rabbi.

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The Shas ministers attending the meeting said they wouldn't let Israel Beiteinu tear apart the nation, blemish the IDF soldiers and establish a weakened conversion authority. Israel Beiteinu's attempt to turn IDF soldiers into pawns for their political needs is a “cynical attempt, that reflects upon their shoddy politics,” Shas said in a statement.

There will only be one conversion authority in Israel, as there was up to this point, the statement concluded. “The entire people of Israel are united against the attempt to turn a technicality into an irreparable schism.”

The Knesset will be on Wednesday voting on Israel Beiteinu's military conversion bill, which determines that the chief military rabbi will be the final signatory on IDF conversion certificates, unlike the current situation in which the chief rabbi of Israel is supposed to be the one who signs.

Yosef calling the problem with the current situation a “technicality” could be indicative of Amar's resolution to sign the certificates as required by law. Amar, who is landing in Israel on Wednesday, had requested time to examine the military conversion process before providing his signature. After he attempted to form a committee to advice him on the issue, Israel Beiteinu submitted the bill to bestow the military chief rabbi with the authority to be the final signatory on the conversion certificates, thus effectively creating a different conversion mechanism. Most conversions in Israel currently take place in the IDF.

Shas is objecting the bill, which they say is a breach of the status quo on religious affairs, and a violation of the coalition agreement.


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