Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana consulted three experts who assisted him with the text of his giyur “reform” law and an Arutz Sheva report on Monday revealed their identities.
One of them is Dr. Shuki Friedman, considered a liberal who supports non-Orthodox conversions and praised the Supreme Court’s decision that the State must recognize Jews who undergo Reform and Conservate conversions in Israel. Dr. Friedman is the Vice President of the Israel Democracy Institute’s Center for Religion, Nation, and State and a lecturer in law at the Peres Academic Center. In addition to his stance on giyur, his view of the Rabbanut is revealed in an article he authored in June 2021 that was published in The Forward and entitled: “Jews Worldwide Must Resist The Power Grab of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.”
Another “expert” who assisted Kahana in drafting the giyur reform was Dr. Netanel Fisher of the Kohelet Forum and a senior lecturer at the Academic Center for Law and Science Sha’arei Mishpat. Although Fisher is considered more conservative than Friedman, he wrote in a 2018 article that in order to increase the number of converts in the IDF, “the Rabbanim need to to be megayeir more. The halachic mesorah provides full halachic backing to convert people who won’t be religious.”
The third person Kahana consulted with is Rav Chaim Iran, the Rav of the yishuv Elazar and a dayan for giyur for many years in the past – the only one of the three who could actually be considered an “expert” in halacha rather than an academic expert in law and political science. His role in the giyur reform was already revealed last month.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)