Skip Navigation LinksHome > Breaking News Alert: JFNA Welcomes Six-Month Delay on Conversion Bill



July 22, 2010

The Jewish Federations of North America hailed a new agreement today to delay by six months any conversion bill in Israel, in exchange for a moratorium on any legislation by the liberal religious streams.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown strong leadership in opposing the conversion bill as being damaging to the unity of the Jewish People. JFNA thanked Netanyahu for his advocacy on this issue.

The prime minister has appointed Jewish Agency for Israel Chair of the Executive Natan Sharansky to lead a dialogue of all concerned parties in the Diaspora and Israel to reach a compromise during the six-month freeze.

JFNA’s President and CEO Jerry Silverman welcomed the agreement as "significant."

"We truly support this process of a dialogue table, which allows the participants time to discuss this important issue appropriately and reach a solution that protects the bonds between Israel and the Diaspora," Silverman said. "We are also thrilled that Natan Sharansky will be leading the process."

Silverman said the Jewish Federations appreciated the work of the entire advocacy coalition opposing the bill, ensuring it would not reach the Knesset floor for a reading this week. Leading the coalition partnership was JFNA, JAFI, the Conservative and Reform movements, Orthodox rabbis and a range of Israeli legislators.

According to the agreement delaying the bill for another six months, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (the Israel arm of the Reform movement) and the Masorti Movement (the Israel arm of the Conservative movement) will freeze any pending legislation in Israel’s high courts dealing with religious issues.

In return, Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beitenu Party, which raised the conversion issue, agreed not to advance any conversion legislation for that period.

Ynet, the website of Israel’s daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot, first reported the late-breaking agreement. To reach the Ynet story, click here:,7340,L-3924029,00.html.

For news coverage and other key resources about the conversion issue, click here to visit JFNA's dedicated conversion bill page.

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