High Court of Justice 150.
(photo credit: yonah jeremy bob)
The state and Israel’s non-Orthodox movements on Monday asked the High Court of Justice for a six month delay, until January 1, 2018, on the conversion issue, though the court was potentially ready to rule on the issue in the near future.
The Reform and Conservative movements signed on to the joint motion for a delay. They noted that the government, including the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties, had committed to freezing any pending conversion- related legislation during those six months.
They also mentioned the commission that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to appoint in the near future to handle the issue.
All of the parties said in their joint motion that the additional six months was designed to “advance formulating a consensus and...to achieve a solution to the disagreements over conversion...in order to maintain unity for the Jewish nation.”
The motion came days after a week of severe tensions between the government and the Diaspora leadership, which ended in a temporary deal to push off any changes on conversions pending the new commission.
The deal was announced Friday after intense negotiations between Netanyahu and coalition party leaders, including those of haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, with the agreement of the heads of the progressive Jewish movements.
Prior to the deal, the non-Orthodox movements were holding a potential High Court recognition of their conversions over the haredi parties, while the haredi parties had started to move forward legislation eliminating recognition of any non-Chief Rabbinate conversions.
Such a law could have preempted the High Court ruling by denying in law any recognition of Reform and Conservative conversions done in Israel, as well as those of non-state, independent Orthodox rabbinical courts.
Haredi leadership strongly objects to state recognition of non-Orthodox conversions, and Reform, Conservative and liberal Orthodox groups object to haredi control of the issue.
The new haredi bill incensed the leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements who argue that the bill would set a precedent giving even greater control over Jewish status issues in Israel and the Diaspora to the Chief Rabbinate.Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.