We write to you today because of a very serious situation that developed here in Israel last night.
We have learned that the Knesset may vote during the coming week on legislation that would make important changes to conversion authorities in Israel and to the Law of Return.
This new law would roll back the clock on all the achievements we have made for Reform and Conservative conversion rights in Israel: not only losing recognition for Reform and Conservative conversions in Israel, but even completely redefining who is a Jew. From now on the power to perform conversions would rest solely with the Chief Rabbinate – which only recognizes Orthodox conversions.
At your next Jewish gathering, take a look at the people around you: chances are good that you are sitting next to would no longer be recognized as a Jew in Israel.
This decision, which impacts the very definition of who is a Jew for all of Klal Yisrael, is being made by a few politicians who happen to be in power during the 18th Knesset. They are not at all in conversation with world Jewry, on whom this decision will have a major impact.
There are millions of Jews in the Diaspora, and the current Israeli leadership needs to hear from all of you – and right away – if we are going to stop this.
The various arms of our Movement are asking you to send urgent messages of protest to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and your local ambassador.
IRAC is working intensively on lobbying efforts with Members of Knesset, but we need the strength of your numbers to remind those who promote this bill that Israel and Judaism is not theirs alone.
Please send the attached letter right now to the Prime Minister and your ambassador, and forward this urgent call to your friends and family.
For more information on the conversion bill, click here
Anat Hoffman, Executive Director, Israel Religious Action Center
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Executive Director, Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism
The Honorable Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
Office of the Prime Minister
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
We write to request your immediate intervention to prevent passage of the legislation being brought forward by MK David Rotem.
While we are supportive of efforts to create greater accessibility to conversion courts in Israel, the overall impact of the Rotem Bill will set back these efforts. Should this bill be enacted, it will exacerbate a widening gap between Diaspora and Israel communities, which we are working very hard to avoid.
Therefore, we believe it is imperative that you, as leader of Israel, and as one who cares deeply about the well-being of Klal Yisrael, intervene and urge immediate withdrawal of this bill.