IDF conversion certificate
Another conversion controversy brewing? IDF conversions are not being performed by rabbinical judges and were not approved by the Chief Rabbinate, an attorney for the State told the High Court of Justice during a hearing Monday.
The implication of the remarks is that roughly 4,500 conversions performed by the army in recent years are now shrouded in doubt, and the soldiers in question may not be able to wed in line with Jewish law.
"Conversions are taking place, I don't know for how many years, and the certificates are being handed over without any supervision," the attorney said. "As it turns out, some kind of establishment was set up, and nobody at the Chief Rabbinate monitors it in any way."
Major General Elazar Stern, who was present at the hearing, asked to speak at the session and expressed his puzzlement over the attorney's words. Upon leaving the court he harshly slammed her for "uttering an irresponsible remark, which may harm thousands of people for no reason."
Sources familiar with the conversion issues also dismissed the attorney's remarks, saying that most army conversions are performed by senior military rabbis or conversion court judges who perform their military reserve service in that role.
The statements uttered at court also prompted a harsh response by Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev.
"Serving in the IDF in order to defend the State of Israel - and joining the Jewish people via a Military Rabbinate conversion - are the noblest Jews acts," he said.
The High Court hearing was held following a petition by conversion activists and groups against the Chief Rabbinate and four municipal rabbis, over their refusal to recognize State conversions for the purpose of marriage.