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
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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.
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
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
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.