Resolution Concerning the Rotem Conversion Bill in Israel

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly passed resolutions in 1990, 2001, 2007 and 2009 in support of conversions of those committed to Jewish life in accordance with halakhah in the State of Israel from all main streams of Judaism;

Whereas a bill proposed by MK David Rotem in summer 2010 would for the first time legislatively grant the power over conversion to one religious stream through the office of the chief rabbinate;

Whereas conversion is a direct channel to the Law of Return, such granting to one religious stream undermines the principles of freedom and religion and conscience that are among the hallmarks of Israel’s democratic society; and

Whereas a moratorium has been agreed upon through July 1, 2011 during which time a professional group will meet to address bureaucratic delays and obstacles encountered by converts whom the non-Orthodox movements believe already are clearly entitled to full status under existing Israeli law.

Therefore be it resolved the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the government of Israel to accept the validity of conversions under the auspices of the main streams of Judaism, particularly Masorti and the IDF to reduce the backlog of those who seek to become Jewish in accordance with halakhah; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the government of Israel to recognize and encourage the principles of pluralism and mutual respect within Israeli society as exemplified by the extraordinary work of our Rabbinical Assembly colleagues in Israel and the Masorti movement in Israel.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, March, 2011