High Court Approves Conversions Abroad
The Knesset will hold a special session next week in the wake of the High Court of Justice's decision this morning to approve conversions in Reform and Conservative ceremonies conducted abroad for fifteen non-Israeli residents who asked to be recognized as Jews in accordance with the Law of Return, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Shas submitted the signatures of 25 MKs this afternoon demanding to hold a session.
In its 7-4 ruling, the court did not address the question of whether non-Jews who convert in Reform or Conservative ceremonies inside Israel should be considered Jewish. The court ruled in favor of the petition saying that despite the establishment of the Ne'eman Commission to find a compromise solution between the Orthodox and the Reform and Conservative movements, there was still no formal resolution of the problem, and that the court could not rule in accordance with the committee recommendations that were never agreed upon.
According to the court's decision, "We accept the fact that the misuse of overseas conversions must be prevented, but why exclude other Jewish movements, which the state also believes must be treated equally?"
The decision added that the recognition of overseas conversions must not be limited just to those who wish to join the community that performed the conversion, it also must recognize conversions carried out according to the standards and traditions of a community to which an individual wishes to join. The government, it said, was not authorized to rule that only conversions performed by one body, as suggested by the Ne'eman Commission, would be recognized by the Law of Return.