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
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."