Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana revealed his plan for giyur reform on Wednesday, but according to a Kikar H’Shabbat report, he revealed only a portion of his plan, with the true extent of the reforms and his ultimate goals hidden in his proposal’s clauses.
First of all and most significantly, according to the new plan, the body that selects municipal Rabbanim will be revoked and in its place, city councils will choose municipal Rabbanim, despite the fact that in most cities the council is comprised of mainly secular politicians. Additionally, many current municipal Rabbanim will be let go and a new decision has been reached that the terms of municipal Rabbanim will be limited to ten years.
According to sources in the Rabbanut, these decisions are necessary to carry out Kahana’s ultimate goals since he can’t count on the current municipal Rabbanim to carry out his plans but is relying on the Rabbanim that will be selected in the future through his new methods. This is the true travesty of his giyur reform.
“Kahana isn’t relying on the current municipal Rabbanim who are united in their opposition to him,” a source in the Rabbanut told Kikar. “He’s circumventing them in a way that will ultimately lead to the implementation of his liberal giyur vision. City councils, the majority of which are completely secular, will determine who will serve as municipal Rabbanim and the identities of municipal Rabbanim will be completely transformed from one end to another, from conservative to liberal – opening a wholesale market of giyur.
Additionally, Kikar obtained additional shocking clauses of Kahana’s proposal that he did not reveal on Wednesday.
- No qualifications will be required to serve as a dayan for giyur. Candidates won’t even be required to pass the test of the Rabbanut in hilchos giyur.
- The prime minister will appoint the head of the state conversion system who will determine the rules of giyur. Currently, the head of the giyur system is appointed by a committee on which the Chief Rabbis have a majority vote.
- A giyur certificate will not be permitted to be revoked so even if someone was converted in a manner inconsistent with halacha, his certificate will not be revoked and he will be registered as a Jew.
- A citizen will be able to convert outside his place of residence so if one municipal Rav believes that a candidate is not fit for giyur, he can simply go to another Rav.
- The possibility of the Chief Rabbi to disqualify a dayan for giyur will only be permitted on the grounds of a violation of integrity, not for any other halachic reason, and even in the case of a violation of integrity, he can be disqualified only with an 80% majority vote of the Moetzet Rabbanut.
- There is an opening for the interior minister to convert non-Israeli citizens.
- Apart from allowing every municipal Rav to perform giyur, every regional Rav and even the Rav of a moshav will be able to establish a Beis Din for giyur, with the composition of the Beis Din determined by the municipal or moshav Rav and not by the Chief Rabbi, as is legally mandated today.
- Currently, there is a directive that a unanimous vote of the Beis Din is required to approve a giyur. According to Kahana’s plan, the “procedural rules” will change so that only a majority vote of the Beis Din is required to approve a giyur.
- The principles of giyur will be determined by the committee within 30 days which means that a fundamental issue like giyur will be decided upon within just one month.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)