from today’s The Jerusalem Post:
Editorial: Solving the conversion crisis
Religious extremism and narrow parochialism have, for now, once again gotten the better of reason.
It seemed that a temporary compromise had been reached to avert the snowballing crisis between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel over “Who is a Jew.” Late Thursday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement outlining the compromise, which was similar to ideas expressed in these columns and based squarely on reason: The two sides would agree to a six month moratorium on all legal and legislative action aimed at changing the religious status quo regarding conversions to Judaism – namely the Reform and Conservative movements’ petition to the High Court and Israel Beiteinu’s conversion bill.
In the interim, a special committee would be created, headed by Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, which would bring together representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements with representatives of the Israeli government. Through dialogue, the two sides would hammer out their differences.
But Shas and United Torah Judaism, unwilling to sit with non-Orthodox Jews, have rejected the proposal and vowed to continue to back the conversion bill that would anchor in law the haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate’s de facto control over conversions, the delegitimacy of non-Orthodox conversions, and the very Jewishness of all non-Orthodox converts.
Meanwhile, Israel Beiteinu’s MK David Rotem, the mastermind behind the bill, is being non-committal.