JERUSALEM (JTA) – Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual head of the haredi Orthodox Shas Party, has clarified his declaration that Israeli military conversions are valid.
The clarifications, reportedly added to appease the leaders of the Eda Haredit movement and the head of the Lithuanian haredi community, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, state that a convert who did not intend at the time of his conversion to observe a religious lifestyle would not be considered Jewish.
Following the announcement of the clarification, Eda Haredit canceled a planned rally to protest Yosef and Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s approval of Israeli army conversions, according to Israeli media reports.
Yosef, a former chief rabbi, is also president of the Torah Sages Council.
His followers reportedly believe that knowing one’s intent at the time of conversion is difficult to prove, meaning that it would be very difficult to annul a conversion.