Send a Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu expressing your concern about the conversion bill before the Knesset!
Please click below to send an e-mail to Prime Minister Netanyahu. When you click the button, the recipient, subject line and body text of the e-mail will be filled in for you, though you can edit them as you see fit. Please pass this along to as many people as you can to magnify our collective voice.
As you know, The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has articulated concern about a proposed bill in Israel’s Knesset amending Israel’s Law of Return. One proposed change could affect those who convert to Judaism after spending time in Israel, and potentially prevent them from immigrating under the Law of Return and gaining automatic Israeli citizenship. The bill also, for the very first time, gives the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate authority over conversions in Israel, something that could well alienate the 85% of North American Jews who are not Orthodox.
Representatives from JFNA and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) met this winter in the Knesset with the bill’s sponsor, MK David Rotem of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, and delivered a concerted and forceful message that, as Diaspora Jewry’s representatives, we wish to engage in discussions on any such initiatives before the law is changed.
MK Rotem pledged no changes would occur without our consultation. Rotem and former Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon later met with Diaspora Jewish groups in the U.S., including Ayalon with JFNA, to reiterate these promises.
This past week Rotem suddenly advanced a new, even more troubling amendment, without consulting with JFNA or JAFI. The new changes would give "authority" to the Orthodox-run Chief Rabbinate in Israel to carry out all conversions and says a convert can only be recognized if one “accepts the yoke of mitzvot according to halacha” (as defined by the Chief Rabbinate).
Since these developments occurred, our leadership told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset leaders, and Rotem that these latest proposed changes would "drive a wedge" between Israel and the Diaspora and cause "significant damage" to the Diaspora-Israel relationship. JFNA and JAFI have delivered a strongly worded letter to this effect to the prime minister and have met with Knesset members this week to underscore that message.
These changes would potentially affect a broad swath of Diaspora Jewry, and also make a theological and ideological statement about the more liberal Jewish movements to which most Diaspora Jews belong. JFNA and JAFI have issued public statements to this effect and spoken out to the Israeli press.
While our leadership has been advocating in the halls of the Knesset, we need your help to send an even louder message to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
>>; Click here to send your letter.
Please click the link above to send an e-mail to Prime Minister Netanyahu. When you click the button, the recipient, subject line and body text of the e-mail will be filled in for you, though you can edit them as you see fit. Please pass this along to as many people as you can to magnify our collective voice.