July 12, 2010 Arny Report on Flotilla, Conversion Law In Israel

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

July 12, 2010 Arny Report on Flotilla, Conversion Law In Israel

The internal Israeli army report on the Turkish flotilla action was issued today. The report, which was limited solely to the actions of the Navy, came to the obvious conclusions that there was not enough prior intelligence, and that there was no "Plan B". According to the report there was no risk-free way to stop the ship. The report further indicated there seemed no way to stop the assault once it began. More importantly, the author of the report made clear that in his opinion what needed investigation was not really a military question, but rather a political question.

A major confrontation between Israel and American Jewry was avoided today when Prime Minister Netanyahu promised to block the new law that had been agreed to between Yisrael Beiteinu and the Charedi party from coming up to a vote. The agreement would, on one hand, make it somewhat easier for Russian immigrants to convert, while on the other hand institutionalize the fact that the Chief Rabbinate (controlled today by the Haredim), will be fully in charge of conversions. Both the Conservative and the Reform communities were furious by this decision, since this decision would undercut the limited legitimization these movements have received in the area of conversions. The positive aspect of the proposed law from Yisrael Beitienu's perspective was its allowance of a rabbi of any town to conduct a conversion. The proposed law also included a clear provision stating that a Rabbi can make a conversion conditional on the convert living a religious life. As such, the rabbi can force a convert to send his or her children to religious schools.It seems strange to me that given everything else going on now that the Knesset would even consider doing anything that would increase Haredi power in any way.

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