It appears that as the Chief Rabbis and Gedolei Yisrael Shlita become increasingly adamant in their defiance of bills intending to dilute the giyur process in Israel, the Tzohar Rabbis and the rabbonim affiliated with the liberal dati leumi community are working with increased zealousness to move these bills ahead. Prominent dati leumi poskim including Rabbi Chaim Druckman Shlita, Rabbi Dov Lior Shlita, and Rabbi Elyakim Levanon Shlita have come out strongly against the efforts to compromise halacha. After the Knesset recently passed the new draft law, Rav Levanon announced the government no longer has a right to exist.
However, Rabbi David Stav and his supporters have a different view of the bill, and they believe the bill is essential towards saving Am Yisrael from destruction. Tzohar is calling on Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett and Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan to push the bill through. Tzohar points out that giyur is an essential matter for the future development of the State of Israel and pushing off addressing the problems endangers the future of the state.
Tzohar calls on Bennett to exhibit leadership qualities and do what must be done, explaining Bennett must “remove the chareidi stranglehold on giyur in Israel”. Tzohar warns “only 2,000 people are converted annually and this cannot be permitted to continue”.
MK Elazar Stern wishes to see tens of thousands of candidates certified as “Jewish” annually, leading the fight in Knesset to trample halacha towards granting any and all entrance to the Jewish nation as he views it. For Stern it is not about adherence to halacha, but one’s desire to be “Jewish”. He rejects a situation in which one is “good enough to serve in the IDF but cannot become a convert”.
Tzohar defends the bill explaining it will grant city rabbis who are qualified to form a beis din and complete the giyur process, removing the process from the bureaucratic nightmare that exists at present. Rabbi Stav insists the new situation will not be hefker and only rabbonim who are qualified will be permitted to take a candidate through the completion of giyur. The Chief Rabbis of Israel warn that converts under such a process will not be recognized by all and the process will lead to assimilation and result in a major split in the Jewish People. Tzohar feel that quite the contrary is true, and failure to pass the bill will shut the doors on too many, and this is what will split the Jewish People.
Tzohar reminds Bennett how the Chief Rabbinate of Israel disqualified the giyur of thousands of people who were signed off by Rabbi Druckman in his capacity as head of the State Giyur. Tzohar adds the Chief Rabbinate has also ruled against accepting giyorim who underwent the process by the IDF Chief Rabbinate.
Tzohar praises the efforts of the MKs pushing the bill, Elazar Stern (The Movement), David Rotem (Yisrael Beitenu) and Yariv Levin (Likud). The rabbinical organization insists the bill in no way compromises halacha, but it does remove the stranglehold on the giyur process in Israel.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)