Despite an unequivocal decision of Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-
Doron, Rabbi Chaim Druckman recently performed an "Orthodox
conversion" in which he converted the last adopted child of
the Kibbutz Hanaton conversion affair, whose case was brought
before the High Court last week.
According to a report in Ha'aretz, Rabbi Druckman
converted the child despite the fact that the child's
adoptive parents do not observe any of the mitzvos,
and did not undertake to pursue a religious lifestyle after
As a result, the petition to the High Court by the
Conservative movement and the foster parents was divested of
The Hanaton affair involved 14 children who were adopted
abroad a number of years ago. The batei din and the
rabonim firmly refused to convert them, and as a
result, they underwent Conservative conversions in kibbutz
Chaniton in the north.
The Interior Ministry also refused to recognize these
conversions and did not register the children as Jews. The
adoptive parents then petitioned the High Court.
Following he petition, eight of the children were converted
in rabbinical courts, with five more undergoing such
conversions later on. Only one child remained unconverted. A
year ago, Rabbi Druckman tried to persuade the foster mother
of the child to submit her son to an Orthodox conversion, but
A short while afterward, another child who had undergone
"conversion" in the Hanaton kibbutz joined the petition to
the High Court, but he did not seek to undergo an Orthodox
conversion, but rather the recognition of his Conservative
conversion. The child's parents are currently abroad.
Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, the director general of the rabbinical
courts, said that he would sign Rabbi Druckman's conversion
certificates the moment he received them. "Chareidi
pressures, if there are such, won't influence me," he
Rabbi Ben-Dahan is, in essence, invalidating the decision of
Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, that conversion is only
binding if the parents and the child obligate themselves to
keep the mitzvos. In this case, the conversion isn't
halachically valid, because the child's adoptive parents
refused to make such an obligation.
Rabbi Ben Dahan claims that the child could have been
"converted" in an Orthodox conversion a long time ago,
"however, the mother preferred to wage a battle on the back
of the child." On the other hand, Rabbi Ben- Dahan said that
he would approve Rabbi Druckman's conversion.
The Conservative movement claims that the rabbinical courts
refused to convert the child for many years, even though he
studies in a religious school. "The Rabbinate changed its
position only due to the petition to the High Court, and once
this was filed, it converted the children very quickly," said
Ehud Bendel of the Conservative movement.
The Vaad Harabbonim Haolami l'Inyonei Giyur, repeated the
position of gedolim of all times, that conversions may
not be conducted outside of the permanent and prominent
bottei din. A spokesman of the Vaad also stressed
that the decision reached at last year's Convention of
Dayanim remains the same.
"The only body which may conduct conversions is a permanent
and prominent beis din," he said.
The Vaad is in possession of a letter from Chief Rabbi Bakshi-
Doron, stating that no court or body may convert minors,
whose parents do not pursue a religious lifestyle and who
will not raise their children similarly.
The chairman of the Vaad asked Rabbi Ben-Dahan how he intends
to sign conversion certificates which negate the position of
the Chief Rabbinate and the position formulated at the
convention of the dayanim. Rabbi Ben-Dahan replied
that his responsibility for conversions conducted outside of
the permanent bottei din is limited only to the
The Vaad stresses that a conversion which does not meet the
halahcic demands of sincere and complete kabbalos
hamitzvos is not valid even be'dieved, regardless
of which body or court conducted the conversion.