Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Adar 5771 - February 10, 2011 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Astonishing Revelations of Thousands of Phony Conversions in the IDF

By Yechiel Sever

A thorough and comprehensive assessment has again revealed a worrisome set of facts regarding the fictitious conversions conducted within the IDF. The facts and figures clearly demonstrated that the vast majority of the thousands of army "converts" do not meet the basic requirement of accepting the yoke of mitzvahs, but merely seek formal government recognition as Jews for various reasons, which means their conversion has no halachic validity whatsoever.

Rabbonim and public figures became involved in the issue following the piercing letter by gedolei Yisroel, including Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita, against the attempt to "validate" thousands of conversions performed within the IDF. "It is abundantly clear," reads he letter by maranan verabbonon, "that these non-Jews had no intention of undertaking any of the principles of the Jewish religion — not Shabbos, not kashrus and not family purity — and everybody can say without reservation that these non-Jews have no intention of observing Judaism."

Accumulated data and declarations and articles by figures in charge of army conversion paint a gloomy picture of so-called conversion candidates who have no intention of keeping mitzvahs. Moreover, even the heads of the IDF conversion system do not require prospective converts to demonstrate their real intentions, allowing them to merely express "a desire to join the Jewish people."

For instance, Prof. Binyamin Ish Shalom, who heads the Netiv Conversion Institutes, which prepares soldiers for conversion, said, "There is absolutely no need to push the converts into a corner, which could cause them to lie, by asking direct questions regarding whether they will keep the 613 mitzvahs. This in-and-of-itself is a provocative question."

Spokesmen familiar with the issue said this is clearly a "lie by consensus." David Stav, who was a dayan in the conversion court run by Rabbi Chaim Druckman — who holds that one can convert without undertaking Torah and mitzvahs — told the Israel Democracy Institute on 22 Sivan 5768: "Most of the converts [overall in Israel - YS] do not keep Torah and mitzvahs. When you see this result in the general statistical data there is a debate whether it's 60% or 70% or 80%. That doesn't really matter. And in the army conversions I think... I hope that I'm not insulting anyone, I'd be willing to bet that it's not 60% or 70%, but 90% who do not keep Torah and mitzvahs.

"Who are you fooling? Either you make a demand or you don't. And if you see in the results that the majority of them do not keep Torah and mitzvahs, that means either you're fooling us or you're fooling them or they're fooling you. And then along comes an article last week by Eliezer Melamed, which is perfectly correct from his perspective, saying dayonim must be naive (temimim)... How can this be? The essence of a dayan is a person who is not naive. If a dayan lacks shrewdness and 70% or 80% of converts fool him, then either he really is not suited to be a dayan or else he really is acting with deception — and then the chareidim are right."

On 21 Elul 5768, Dr. Yehuda Brandes, head of Beit Morasha, said, "This middle approach is well known to teachers at the conversion institutes and to the converts themselves. They know that when standing before the beis din you have to reply to their questions in such a way that it appears as if they genuinely intend to keep mitzvahs."


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