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Knesset Delays Conversion Legislation


Israel’s religious parties have agreed to a request by Justice Minister David Liba’i to put off Knesset debate on a bill that would prevent the recognition of Reform conversions performed in the Jewish state.

Liba’i asked last week that the parties delay the debate, saying that a ministerial committee had been appointed to investigate the matter.

The parties agreed Feb. 22 to postpone discussion of the legislation, which the government had threatened to vote against if the bill came to the Knesset floor.

In a landmark ruling last November, Israel’s Supreme Court opened the door for recognition of Reform and Conservative conversions performed in Israel.

In a 6-1 decision, the court ruled at the time that a person who asks the Interior Ministry to be listed in a civil population registry as a Jew does not require approval from the chief rabbinate, which only recognizes Orthodox conversions in Israel.

But the court did not explicitly recognize Reform conversions, saying that it would be up to the Knesset to pass the appropriate legislation.

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