נשות הכותל
The Women of the Wall demand women's right to pray with Torah scrolls at the Western Wall
Photo: AFP
The Women of the Wall demand women's right to pray with Torah scrolls at the Western Wall

A blessed and welcome verdict for the House of David

Opinion: The High Court decision to recognize Conservative and Reform conversions is an important step for Israel to finally embrace and truly practice its core principles of being a Jewish and democratic state

Liran Friedmann |
Published: 03.02.21 , 23:28
Although the High Court of Justice's decision on Monday to recognize conversion to Judaism through Conservative and Reform Movement processes will probably be ultimately ignored by Israel's current leaders, it is a welcomed and important step for the country on the ground to fully becoming a truly democratic and Jewish state.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • For years, Israel's leaders have flagrantly ignored the fact that the majority of global Jewry is not ultra-Orthodox. In many countries, including the United States, Conservative and Reform Judaism are the norm rather than the exception.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    נשות הכותל
    נשות הכותל
    The Women of the Wall demand women's right to pray with Torah scrolls at the Western Wall
    (Photo: AFP)
    The nine-justice panel that ruled Monday said it had essentially had its hand forced by the political echelon's inability to decide on issues such as conversion, multidenominational prayer or even whether courts should rule on certain cases by civil or religious law.
    For years, the ultra-Orthodox sector has held a total monopoly in Israel on the question of "Who is a Jew?" - and as a consequence, the world.
    Their decision to obstinately assert that their way is the only way has alienated thousands if not millions of Jews around the world from the State of Israel.
    When Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion handed total control on all issues of Jewish religious rites to his ultra-Orthodox partners in government, he could never have imagined that the country that took up the mantle of safe harbor for all Jews following the Holocaust would systematically ostracize or outright ban fellow believers.
    How can Israel keep its title of the Jewish State when such a reality persists?
    This Haredi monopoly has been allowed to seep into all facets of Israeli society, even those parts that are purely a matter of civil rights.
    Israelis have become accustomed to the fact that shops and public transportation are do not function on Shabbat, even though most of the country's Jewish citizens gladly drive a car, turn on the TV, listen to music and so on. The out-of-town shopping malls that do open on Saturdays are regularly busy.
    This total control over normal life has become our reality in Israel. Every small push to change this not only is slammed by the Haredi sector, but by secular politicians who find benefit from backing such draconian action.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    בנימין נתניהו יעקב ליצמן
    בנימין נתניהו יעקב ליצמן
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United Torah Judaism Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    The High Court verdict was a step in the right direction. We cannot allow ourselves to keep the moniker of a Jewish and democratic state as long as we fail to practice neither.
    Does Israel want to fully embrace these principles and open its doors to all of those who feel they share a common destiny with the people of Judah, granting them the full civil rights that they are entitled to by living in a democratic country?
    Or does Israel want to become a reactionary theocracy, whose character and laws are sanctioned by a minority wielding more power than it deserves in a proportional democracy?
    The verdict is a wake-up call for all of us.
    With the elections hovering above our heads, those who present themselves as an alternative to the current administration must take a stance: Are you for democracy and inclusion or conservatism and exclusion?
    To the ultra-Orthodox who worry about such changes, I say this: When all you know is privilege, equality seems like oppression.

    Liran Friedmann is an editor at Ynetnews
    Talkbacks for this article 0