Rabbonim and dayanim expressed staunch opposition to a call
by Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni to ease conversion
processes and spoke out against large-scale aliyah since the
vast majority of recent immigrants are non-Jews. Livni
declared that only one in ten immigrants is Jewish.
Deeply disturbed by the situation, rabbonim and dayanim said
their fears have come true. "The State of Israel is using the
Law of Return to bring in non-Jews in order to strengthen
secular control of the country and buttress its battle
against the Jewish religion, halacha and those who stand
firmly behind them," said one prominent figure. "The vision
of a nation of Jews held by the framers of the state is
taking on a ridiculous guise — bringing in non-Jews and
giving them citizenship in a `secular conversion.' According
to Livni's thinking Western and Eastern European countries
can also be declared Jewish states."
Another noted, "The election primaries, and the surveys that
accompany them are driving the various contenders to issue
statements that appeal to voters. Maranan verabonon
gedolei Yisroel zt"l vlct"a warned us long ago that
conversion without a full acceptance of mitzvas is not
conversion and the convert remains a non-Jew for all intents
Zionist and religious-Zionist conversion will create two
peoples, said one rov, "and will bring ruin on Eretz Yisroel
and its inhabitants."
Livni made her remarks about easing conversion at this week's
cabinet meeting. "We must make the conversion process easier
for new immigrants, especially since only one-tenth of the
immigrants are Jewish, and the rest are eligible to make
aliyah based on the Law of return... Recognition of the
cultures from which the immigrants come will boost their
integration in Israeli society. This is not setting them
apart, but rather respecting them," she said.
Following her alarming remarks MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said,
"Unfortunately it seems the State of Israel is bringing in
non-Jews in the guise of the Law of Return. The Government of
Israel should ask forgiveness from Rabbi Yitzchak Peretz
shlita who, while serving as Absorption Minister, was
attacked for presenting figures indicating that 30 percent of
immigrants are non-Jews. Those grave figures are now proving
far more optimistic in terms of Jewish aliyah as evident in
Minister [Livni's] remarks. The State of Israel has no
compunction about filling the country with non-Jews from
around the world, who are very glad to come here. The Foreign
Minister's statement is very serious from every possible
angle and she is liable to lead to the decimation of the
State of Israel as a Jewish state.
"There is no such thing as easy or strict conversion.
Conversion is a fixed halachic concept and is not subject to
the vagaries of one government or another, or changing
figures regarding the number of Jewish immigrants."
Rabbi Gafni added, "Responses to these remarks by Shas
ministers were not publicized, but I assume they voiced their
opposition during the cabinet meeting."