Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Adar II 5765 - April 6, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Comments about the High Court Ruling

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Deputy Welfare Minister MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz told Yated Ne'eman, "The present High Court ruling, like previous rulings, is designed to transform Israel into a secular state. In their ruling [the judges] abuse the principles of Judaism and the halochoh handed down to us through the generations since we became a people. If the judges want to bring in people who are not Jewish, that is their right, but they should do so in the framework of [immigration laws] and not in the frameworks of the Law of Return and citizenship laws.

"The High Court judges apparently think that the assistance they provide non-Jews to pose as Jews will help boost the Jewish minority in the State of Israel, but the opposite is in fact true. This creates confusion over concepts and principles, while disregarding concepts intrinsic to Judaism. The High Court judges want to transform non-Jews into Jews at the stroke of a pen and to bring about a situation in which no Jew will rely on the State of Israel's records when verifying the Jewish status of an individual."

Rabbi Ravitz said Torah-true Judaism would have no choice other than to maintain a "Jewish residents registry," adding that Degel HaTorah would take every possible measure to halt the attempt to breach Kerem Yisroel and already took action to convene an urgent intersession plenum to discuss this grave and fundamental issue.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said, "The decision by the majority of High Court judges demonstrates once again their ignorance in source material on Judaism and the Jewish bookcase, and they have no awareness of Jewish issues. They act like cheap politicians in anti-religious parties obligated to their constituents. Today the High Court is the most divisive body in the State and its rulings on religious issues in the country have no legal dimension, but merely [reflect] a secular worldview."

Rabbi Gafni said he would demand Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promote legislation determining, in accordance with the coalition agreement, that the government would act immediately to rectify any harm to the status quo.

MK Meir Porush (United Torah Jewry) said that private databases would have to be set up to list all the members of the Orthodox kehillos.

Shas Chairman Eli Yishai sharply denounced the decision saying, "This is one of the hardest days in the history of the Jewish people, for the High Court ruling is liable to precipitate the destruction of Jewish identity and the Jewish people."

The IDF is an Easy Place to Convert

By Betzalel Kahn

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's declared policy is to "convert" as many non-Jews living in Israel as possible. Officially he says he wants to prevent the Arab population from surpassing the Jewish population, but his true reason for opening the country's gates to millions of immigrants from Russia—mostly non-Jews and some nonobservant Jews—is to alter the demographic balance in the State of Israel and to ensure that the chareidi and religious sectors remain a minority despite the constant natural growth in these sectors.

Officially approximately 300,000 non-Jews "lacking religious identity" currently reside in Israel. The vast majority are from the former Soviet Union. In recent years the Chief Rabbinate's conversion system has made it more difficult for non-Jews to enter the Jewish people, although some botei din, particularly the special conversion botei din, have been performing assembly-line conversions that overlook the halachic requirement of fully accepting mitzvas.

According to Ha'aretz, "In recent months Sharon and his staff have had to confront bureaucratic obstacles and wage power struggles against figures in the rabbinical establishment. In today's conversion system there is a sense change is starting to take place, but the bottom line is results have yet to be achieved in increasing the number of converts."

Sharon's supporters complain that the Chief Rabbinate is impeding the head of the conversion apparatus, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, as he attempts to execute large-scale conversion. "Sharon has had to intervene time after time to assist Rabbi Druckman to overcome the obstacles heaped in front of him by rabbinical establishment figures," says Ha'aretz.

In 2004 the Rabbinate botei din and the special conversion botei din converted 682 immigrants, 20 percent fewer than in 2003. However the IDF conversion apparatus has been more successful in effecting large-scale conversion. The number of so-called conversions among IDF soldiers rose alarmingly from 100 in 2003 to 452 in 2004.

"Conversion in the IDF is preferable over the regular civilian conversion in nearly every area," writes Ha'aretz. "The IDF Chief Rabbinate handles all stages of conversion, displays an encouraging and positive attitude toward conversion candidates; the soldiers are not required to change their way of life since kashrus and Shabbat are observed in the army; and the problems involved in changing the lives of couples and their children are irrelevant for the majority of soldiers."


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