Conversion crisis solved, political crisis continues: Shas'
spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has decided to legitimize
all conversions performed in the Israel Defense Forces in recent years in a bid to resolve the latest crisis in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.
But the Yisrael Beiteinu
party is unsatisfied.
Knesset Member David Rotem, one of the initiators of the military conversion bill,
announced Friday that he would bring his proposal to the Knesset for its first reading despite Rabbi Yosef's solution. Shas responded angrily, stating that Yisrael Beiteinu "is seeking to crush the people of Israel and the IDF for a political gain."
Following a meeting with Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and members of a committed tasked with examining military conversions, Rabbi Yosef decided on Friday to issue a halachic ruling legitimizing all soldiers' conversions.
The committee appointed by Rabbi Amar informed the Shas rabbi that it could not recommend approving the conversions. Yosef, as a supreme halachic authority, decided to take the matter into his own hands.
Yisrael Beiteinu said in response that it would not shelve its proposal. "I'm unsatisfied with the solution, as the Chief Rabbinate and Rabbi Amar have failed to solve the problem," said MK Rotem.
"Moreover, the committee appointed by (Rabbi Amar) refused to approve the IDF conversions, requiring a special halachic ruling from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef."
The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is expected to discuss the bill on Tuesday ahead of its first reading. "We won't let anyone use the IDF's soldiers for blackmail purposes," Rotem added, noting that Shas had stated at first that the entire issue was "a technical problem".
"The law must pass, otherwise every chief rabbi will turn the IDF conversions into a trade-in," the MK concluded.
Shas slammed Yisrael's Beiteinu's decision to continue the legislation process. "This party is desperate for headlines and is seeking to crush the people of Israel and the IDF for a political gain," the haredi party said in a statement.
"The IDF conversions are valid, and yet the party continues to spit venom and hatred, promote factionalism and attempt to destroy Judaism."
Roni Sofer contributed to this report