Saar Yemin Orde 311.
(photo credit: Sasson Tiram)
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) reiterated on Monday his objection to
the proposed conversion bill, which “will destroy the unity of the Jewish people
and also hurt the relationship between Jews in the Diaspora and
Speaking at the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly
annual convention in Las Vegas, Sa’ar was referring to Israel Beiteinu MK David
Rotem’s proposal to place all conversions in Israel under the responsibility of
the Chief Rabbinate.
Rotem’s bill was put on ice by Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu till this summer.
Sa’ar expressed similar sentiments
earlier this year at the annual Masorti Movement convention in
The education minister also addressed the remark of Religious
Services Minister Ya’acov Margi, who last week called for legislation
determining “that there are no streams in Judaism, only one that has been passed
down to us from generation to generation.”
“There is no one Jewish
stream, and there shouldn’t be one Jewish way of life that monopolizes Judaism,”
Sa’ar told the Rabbinical Assembly, the umbrella organization for the
Conservative movement representing 1,600 Conservative rabbis serving some 1.5
million Jews worldwide.
Opposition head Tzipi Livni (Kadima) also weighed
in on Margi’s aspirations at the Las Vegas event, and said that as Israeli and
Jewish leaders, “our responsibility is to respect the idea that each and every
Jew can express his own faith and religion in a manner that gives him the
possibility to do so according to his heart and mind, and this is something that
all of us need to respect. The State of Israel needs to give every Jew the
possibility to feel at home in Israel.
“When I heard these voices saying
that there is a need to take some of the movements or streams outside the law,
this is not acceptable to me or the State of Israel,” as such a notion goes
against the very values of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, she
Livni also addressed the conversion bill controversy, which, she
said, she came to realize through talks with Diaspora leaders last year “was not
only about Israelis, but also about you,” she told the Jewish
“It affects not only the lives of new immigrants to Israel, but
also your lives and feeling or need to be connected to the State of
Regarding the conversions, Israel should do what it can “to make
conversions possible, for those who want to be part of the Jewish people,” Livni
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