Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar II 5763 - March 5, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Sharon Plans to Speed Conversion Process by Transferring Interior Ministry Portfolio
by Betzalel Kahn

During a meeting with representatives of the United Jewish Communities, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency last week Prime Ministry Ariel Sharon said he would work to shorten the conversion procedure "to ease the hardship of people waiting a long time to complete the process." Sharon said the change would become feasible once the Interior Ministry was taken out of the hands of a chareidi party, referring to Shas. The Prime Minister also said structural changes in the public sector, including the elimination of the Religious Affairs Ministry, "would accelerate the process without contradicting the Law of Return and the principle of conversion according to halacha."

A spokesman for Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur, founded by the late HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, said, "Sharon's remarks are particularly grave in light of the current situation. Six months ago Sharon stated his view that the conversion procedure should be accelerated. At that point his remarks had minimal impact whereas now, with the setting up of a secular government, Sharon wants to interfere with religious matters as well. There is a pressing need to take a firm stand [against him]."

During the past two years the conversion system under the Chief Rabbinate has declined considerably. According to a high-ranking official in the conversion system, nearly the entire apparatus is in the hands of "the national-religious camp." One established av beis din at a regional beis din said the special conversion botei din are measured according to the number of conversions they perform.

Now Sharon is liable to further increase the number of conversions performed without any background checks to evaluate whether the candidate indeed intends to keep Torah and mitzvos.

The Vaad says the chareidi public should stand firm to prevent invalid conversions from entering Kerem Beis Yisroel, even if they bear "Orthodox" certification. The involvement of inshi delo ma'ali in the conversion system will force the chareidi public to detach itself from the existing system and set up separate communities.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said, "It appears that indeed from the start Sharon wanted a secular government with a destructive bent and with the sanction of a certain party dubbed a religious party. Chareidi representatives will have to stand firm every day against every action taken by this malignant government, and to preclude the Prime Minister and the Mafdal from carrying out their dangerous objectives."


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