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The Israeli Conversion Bill:  What it means and why everyone’s so mad

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/the_israeli_conversion_bill_20100720

Last week, Knesset member David Rotem unveiled a new draft of a bill that he claimed would expand, liberalize and rationalize Israel’s system of conversion. The bill would also hand over to Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate unprecedented new “responsibility over the subject of conversion.” On July 12, it passed through the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and reignited the debate over the rabbinate’s role in Israeli society. It also revived the ultra-sensitive “who is a Jew?” question and set off a firestorm of criticism in a number of Israeli circles and letter-writing protest campaigns among Jewish communities across the world.

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