Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri addressed Prime Minister Netanyahu last night in a request to advance his new conversion bill that will only recognize national conversion.
Minister Deri presented PM Netanyahu with a bill that would block any private conversion in Israel including Ultra-Orthodox conversions.
In an interview to Kol Chai radio, Minister Deri (Shas) said:
“I have addressed Bibi to distribute a bill that will recognize only national conversion in Israel. We don’t have Yisrael Beiteinu who fought it. We also don’t have the Yamina party who part of them fought it because they wanted to take care of the Tzohar organization. Today it is easier to advance it”.
Chair of the National Union MK Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) supported the bill and said:
“Conversion is a national, Halachic (pertaining to Jewish law) issue that touches on our existence as a people. Therefore it must be done in a national way by the Chief Rabbinate to maintain the unity of the people and the Judaism of the state. We will support this bill that will formalize state conversion. We should and must improve, make accessible, and bring people in the conversion process closer without breaking the Halachic, national framework that maintains the unity of the people. We will not give a hand to suggestions for conversion reform including expropriation of the ultimate authority on conversion from the Chief Rabbinate and recognition of Reform or Conservative conversion. This is the right way to handle assimilation and strengthen the unity of the people of Israel”.
However, MK Matan Kahana from the same party as Smotrich (Yamina) chose to attack the bill:
“The meaning of Deri’s words is a total and final freeze on the conversion issue and a cancelling of the Nissim Agreement on which many of the great Rabbis of Religious Zionism have depended. The State of Israel needs a national conversion law but one that grants relief and a solution to hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens and does not block the gateway into Judaism for those who wish for it. he who is strict on conversion makes assimilation easy“.