Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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9 Kislev 5761 - December 6, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur Refuses to Participate in Knesset Conversion Committee Meeting
by Eliezer Rauchberger

The Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur, headed by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, the gaavad of Antwerp, has informed the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee that the Vaad representatives were unable to participate in committee deliberations that took place on 7 Cheshvan since Reform and Conservative representatives were also invited to participate. The meeting's topic was: "The High Percentage of Non-Jews Among Immigrants."

Committee deliberations were initiated by Rabbi Shmuel Halpert in the wake of recent remarks by Minister Michael Melchior to the effect that more than 60 percent of today's immigrants from the C.I.S are not Jewish.

The Vaad HaRabbonim stressed that it has unequivocal data showing that the percentage of non-Jewish immigrants currently arriving in Israel is as high as 85-90 percent.

The rabbonim of the Vaad firmly oppose Melchior's belief that the problem of massive immigration of non-Jews can be solved by mass conversions through joint conversion ulpanim with Reform and Conservatives. Heads of the Vaad further claim that Melchior established a program in Russia called "Jewish Identity" which is actually a routine conversion ulpan in disguise.

The spokesman of the Vaad HaRabbonim told Yated Ne'eman: "All of Minister Melchior's plans to solve the problem of the non-Jewish immigration by means of fictitious conversions must be firmly opposed. This so-called solution will only exacerbate the problem, since these spurious ceremonies will result in the assimilation of non-Jews into the Jewish Nation. They are incapable of transforming non- Jews into Jews. Minister Melchior has collaborated with destroyers of religion for the establishment of joint conversion ulpanim, an initiative which can bring no benefit, but rather tremendous stumbling blocks."

The Vaad HaRabbonim wrote the Absorption Committee: "We would have been very honored to participate in your Committee's important discussions, especially since for the past decade we have been issuing warnings with respect to this trend, that is worsening from year to year. Indeed, information in our hands indicates that of the latest immigrants from the C.I.S, approximately 90% are non-Jews! Since we have the potential to contribute from our vast experience in this area -- both in the realm of restriction of immigration of non-Jews and of ascertaining their identity -- as well in the realm of preventing their assimilation among the Jews of Israel, we regard our participation in this discussion as crucial.

"However, we are unable to participate in this forum since heretical elements were also invited to attend, among them members of the Conservative movement and the Center for Jewish Pluralism (Reform). These groups want to encourage such immigration and to allow non-Jews into Israel by hiding the problem and covering up for it through various means, especially by farcical conversions which only exacerbate the problem. Consequently, we see no purpose in attending this forum."

The Vaad's letter concludes by saying, "We will be very happy to help solve the problem by means of discussion in a forum including only such elements that have a genuine interest in the issue, or in any alternate forum that may have positive results."


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