Shas and Jewish Agency Reach Agreement on Orthodox Conversion Aliyah
In a letter dated yesterday, the Interior Ministry of the State of Israel notified the Knesset of a change of policy as to procedures for granting Oleh status to Orthodox converts. Instead of turning to the Chief Rabbinate for eligibility approval, it will now turn to the Jewish Agency for Israel.
According to sources close to the issue, Chief Rabbi Amar supports the move which also had to gain approval of [Shas] Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
This agreement represents the first real compromise between the Shas led Interior Ministry and Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky on a question of Jewish identity.
Many conversion questions are up in the air and the only forum actually dealing with the issue is the conversion roundtable chaired by Sharansky. This is one of many issues, but it represents the first real agreement to come from the process.