Conversion Bill Moratorium Extended

All relevant parties in the Israeli government, including Shas and Yisrael Beteinu, as well as representatives of the Conservative and Reform movements, have agreed to extend [for six months] the moratorium on legal actions that could change the status quo of conversions in Israel.

During this period all parties have undertaken to abstain from filing or continuing any court proceedings or to present bills in the Knesset plenum related to conversion.

It has also been agreed that during the moratorium period, Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky, together with Israel’s Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, will co-chair a round-table on conversion that will include representatives of the Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Reform and Conservative movements and others (but not, according to The Jerusalem Post, representatives of the Chief Rabbinate or the state’s Conversion Authority). This forum will deal with requests and concerns of converts from Israel and overseas who encounter bureaucratic and other difficulties associated with their conversions.

In commenting on the decision, Sharansky said, “Those who have followed this issue and understand the difficulties and sensitivities can appreciate this meaningful step in making the dialogue feasible and constructive.”