Greenbelt Interfaith News
    World Brief

    July 31, 1997

    Compromise Reached Over Jewish Conversion Bill in Israel

    A potentially nasty court battle was averted at least temporarily in mid-June when Orthodox members of the Israeli government agreed to freeze a bill that would have codified the Orthodox Rabbinate's monopoly on Jewish conversions in Israel. Reform and Conservative leaders, who had been pressing to end the monopoly, agreed in turn to freeze their lawsuits against the government over the bill.

    It was not clear, though, whether a long-term compromise would be reached between Orthodox Jews and members of the more liberal Jewish movements. At present, the Orthodox Rabbinate has sole control over a number of religious laws in Israel, including marriage and divorce. A committee consisting of members from the three traditions will present recommendations to the Israeli government by August 15.

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    ©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson