UJC resolution presses Israel on conversion


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United Jewish Communities passed a resolution pressing the Israeli government to settle the conversion issue.

The resolution, passed Wednesday by the UJC delegates assembly, calls for the UJC to “use its good offices to advocate for the timely conversion of those so seeking," and "calls upon the Government of Israel to speedily redress the administrative impediments to timely conversion by assuring that conversion courts are reconstituted.”

Many of the approximately 300,000 immigrants to Israel who have one Jewish grandparent and moved to the Jewish state under the Right of Return have been unable to convert to Judaism because of administrative conflicts, according to the resolution.

In 1998, the government established the Ne’eman Commission to help facilitate the conversion process and bring all religious streams into the process, which is now controlled by the Orthodox rabbinate. The commission, however, was not able to enact change.

The UJC’s top leadership plans to present the resolution to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a meeting Thursday.

The resolution comes less than a week after the Jewish Agency adopted resolutions calling on the Israeli government to establish an independent authority on Jewish conversions and special courts of Jewish law to "allow the conversion process to move forward."

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