High Court Ruling to Allow Reform Conversion Bodies Equal Funding


israeli-conversionIn a landmark ruling, the Israeli High Court of Justice today decided that the Immigration Absorption Ministry must set criteria that will allow equal funding to private Reform and Conservative institutions that prepare prospective converts to Judaism. In addition, the court ruled that the government must retroactively fund the institutions for the past three years. Justices Dorit Beinisch – the president of the Supreme Court – Miriam Naor and Edna Arbel accepted an appeal by the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism, agreeing that all streams of Judaism that are involved in preparing converts should be supported by the state.The ruling accepted the claim that the criteria for the receipt of funding unlawfully discriminates against non-Orthodox institutions.

Beinisch said that if the government decided to keep funding the private conversion institutions it should instate a mechanism that will allow all streams to receive equal funding.

“We are of the opinion that the legal relevancies of the conversion procedure vis-à-vis the private citizen cannot justify distinction between groups that pursue activities that are essentially similar and which are aimed at attaining identical ends, the cultural and spiritual assimilation of Israeli citizens,” Beinisch wrote in the ruling.

“In accordance with the principle of freedom of religion and pluralism,” she wrote, the state must allow the different conversion institutions to “coexist.”

{JPost Report/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}