Bayit Yehudi MKs join haredi bill banning Reform, Conservative use of mikvas

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February 17, 2016 21:32
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Four MKs from the Bayit Yehudi party have signed on to a bill proposed by United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev which would in effect circumvent a recent ruling by the Supreme Court allowing the Reform and Conservative movements to use public mikvas for their conversion ceremonies.

MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, Nissan Slomiansky, Bezalel Smotrich and Mordhay Yogev have all signed the proposed legislation.

Director of the Reform Movement in Israel Rabbi Gilad Kariv called the legislation “absurd,” but expressed disappointment that Moalem-Refaeli and Slomiansky had signed the bill.

The national-religious lobbying group Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah said that the bill would also harm the rights of women to immerse in accordance with their personal wishes, and said that religious services in general should be democratized and not subject to further centralized restrictions.

The Reform and Conservative movements strongly criticized the party and the MKs for failing to support their rights

Until now, local religious councils which operate public mikvas, ritual baths, within their regional jurisdictions would not allow non-Orthodox converts to use these facilities.

Public mikvas are funded jointly by the Religious Services Ministry and the local municipalities.

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