Chief Rabbi Seeks to Amend Conversion Law
Rabbi Shlomo Amar leading enthused lobby of support for amendment revoking automatic right of return from converts to Judaism. Amar meets with senior ministers, Knesset members to garner support
Efforts to advance legislation on conversion: Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar is continuing efforts to advance amendments to the Conversion Law, and recently met with senior cabinet ministers and members of Knesset on the issue.
Among those he appealed to for help advancing the law were Kadima faction Chairman Avigdor Yitzhaki, Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, and Likud faction chairman Gideon Saar.
Ynet learned that in recent weeks, all of the faction heads as well as a number of ministers visited the rabbi’s office. In addition, the rabbi met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The chief rabbi told Olmert that he “expects the prime minister to take charge and advance the bill will all his power so the law passes.”
According to the suggested amendment, conversion will no longer automatically attain the right of return for the convert – regardless of whether it was an Orthodox, Reform or Conservative procedure.
Rabbi Amar also suggested amending Israel’s chief rabbinate law. Such an amendment would let the chief rabbinate deliberate the conversion issue, as he explained: “There is the need to set the chief rabbinate’s authority by law on conversion matters.”
Amar’s proposed amendment was placed on the prime minister’s desk three weeks ago, sparking an array of responses. Since then, Rabbi Amar has been making efforts to advance the law, which was drafted with the aid of legal consultants.
Olmert promised to have the bill examined by the “Second Neeman Committee”. The Neeman Committee was appointed a few weeks ago to examine the possibility to recognize reform and conservative conversions to award citizenship by the Law of Return.