Coalition Partners Oppose Compromise Offered by Nrp
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Coalition Partners Oppose Compromise Offered by Nrp

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The Labor Alignment is scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss the possibility of the National Religious Party joining Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s coalition government. But the alignment’s present coalition partners have indicated they are opposed to the compromise on the Who is a Jew issue worked out by Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren.

Representatives of the Independent Liberal Party and the Civil Rights Party met yesterday with a Labor Party team headed by party secretary Aharon Yadlin and told them the Goren formula was unacceptable because it perpetuated the Orthodox monopoly as represented by the NRP and Rabbi Goren. The ILP and CRP warned they would not stay in a coalition unless the Conservative and Reform movements were made partners to the proposed formula on conversion.

Rabbi Goren’s proposal would define conversion as “according to the manner practiced and accepted among the Jewish people, from generation to generation.” Yadlin, who, is also Education Minister, told the ILP and CRP that such a proposal will be officially brought up by the NRP if the special ministerial committee on conversion does not reach an agreed solution within a definite period. Although Labor would then support the NRP, Yadlin said, other coalition partners would be free to initiate their own legislation on the issue.

The Labor Alignment will now discuss the proposal among itself before going back to its two coalition partners. Tomorrow’s meeting will include the Labor Knesset faction, the Labor Party leadership and the Mapam leadership. Meanwhile, there was intensive action within the Labor Party to prevent any concessions to the NRP. More than the necessary 100 signatures were collected today to call a special assembly of the party’s Central Committee to debate the issue. The signatures were collected by committee members opposing the Goren formula.


When Rabbi Goren returned to Israel last week from an extensive visit to the United States, he said that once the Labor Alignment indicated it was ready to accept his compromise formula for settling the Who is a Jew issue, there were “chances” for the NRP to join the coalition. Rabbi Goren said it was important that the government have the broader base which the NRP could provide but he added that the Chief Rabbinate Council is the only body to decide on acceptance of the Goren formula.

Rabbi Goren added, however, that even if that issue was resolved, there was another problem which was equally important for Orthodox Jews and the NRP and that was the question of Judea and Samaria in the West Bank. The NRP wants agreement on a referendum to be held on any proposal on the future of the administered territories in future peace talks.

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