Gedolei Yisroel are voicing trenchant opposition to the
uprooting of the Torah and halacha and the terrible desecration of the
Name of Heaven through the decision to accept thousands of so-called
conversions performed over the years through the IDF's "assembly-line"
process, ignoring the basic halachic requirements and strident
warnings by leading halachic authorities past and present. Veteran
dayonim and rabbonim note that the committee appointed by the Chief
Rabbinate to investigate army conversion determined that these
"conversions" are rife with serious deficiencies and most of the
conversion candidates do not keep Torah and mitzvas.
On Friday, HaRav Ovadia Yosef published a highly unexpected letter
reading, "I have come to the conclusion that according to halacha, IDF
conversions are valid according to our Holy Torah." Rabbonim reacted
with shock and dismay over the acceptance of thousands of IDF
conversions of soldiers who did not undertaken the yoke of mitzvas in
the least, and have never even kept a single Shabbos.
Despite the tangled situation the IDF conversion apparatus has found
itself in by defying clear warnings issued for years by maranan
verabbonon shlita that army conversions are inadequate,
immediately following the Chief Rabbinate's untenable ruling the
Sephardic Chief Rabbi rushed to retroactively authorize his
representative, Rafael Dayan, to engage in IDF conversions, thereby
backing the validity of some 4,500 conversion certificates. These
certificates were granted and signed without the certification of the
Chief Rabbi's representative to recognize the certificate.
Prominent dayonim told Yated Ne'eman that even the
investigating committee appointed to look into the matter of army
conversion over the years reported serious faults, adding that this
move cannot be tolerated.
They affirmed that one of the heads of the IDF conversion apparatus
declared in a recent published article that bedi'eved, even if
the conversion candidate did not accept mitzvas, the conversion is
"This is a drastic change," they said. The IDF Rabbinate "relies on
conversions whose preparation and common denominator is in stark
contrast to established halacha. Instead of teaching mitzvas, they are
taught heresy. The committee itself includes members — in
leading positions on the committee — who permit conversion
without an acceptance of mitzvas. This is incomprehensible."
Leading dayonim Yated Ne'eman spoke with added another
important detail: "According to a government decision reached a few
years ago in accordance with the compromise proposal by Minister
Yaakov Ne'eman in order to induce Reform activists to rescind their
High Court petition to recognize Reform conversion, preparation of
conversion candidates is divided into three streams, Reform,
Conservative and Orthodox, and the conversion is performed by the
Chief Rabbinate. The compromise was implemented primarily in the
framework of IDF conversion, through the Joint Institutes known as
"We have written material indicating they teach that the Exodus did
not involve miracles, rather everything took place in accordance with
the laws of nature, Rachmono litzlan. They also teach that
conversion does not have to lead to Orthodoxy, rather that after the
conversion they can practice Conservative or Reform Judaism. They are
explicitly told that although the conversion itself, according to the
government decision, must be Orthodox, this places no obligation on
them following the technical conversion procedure. This is the very
opposite of the halachic requirement in conversion."
The Joint Institutes began operating in the year 2000, following the
government decision. Since then, nearly 5,000 conversions have been
conducted in the IDF.
The Torah and halacha world is deeply disturbed over the uprooting of
explicit halachos set down in the Shulchan Oruch, a move that also
threatens to increase the danger of assimilation in Israel.
As noted repeatedly, gedolei Yisroel shlita vylct"a have
unambiguously determined that conversions should only be performed by
fixed, reputable botei din presided over by dayonim who are
exemplary talmidei chachomim and yirei Shomayim.