One of the most persistent problems faced by the Jewish state has revolved around conversion to Judaism, which is governed by the Orthodox chief rabbinate. While many criticize this institution for making the bar to conversion too high, others have argued that conversions sanctioned by the chief rabbinate are frequently shams, where the prospective converts pretend to pledge themselves to a life of unfailing commitment to the laws of the Torah, and the rabbinic court pretends to believe them. In an in-depth discussion of these issues, Mosheh Lichtenstein and David Stav—both prominent Orthodox Zionist rabbis—find themselves exploring the very meaning of Jewishness in the modern state of Israel. (Moderated by Shlomo Brody. Video, 81 minutes.)
Debating Israel’s Conversion Crisis
Should Israel Worry about the Sale of Advanced Aircraft to the UAE?
On Tuesday, the Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz came to Washington and met with his American counterpart Mark Esper to discuss the possibility that the U.S. will sell its top-of-the-line F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates. Despite the breakthrough in relations between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi, many Israelis fear that selling the aircraft to the UAE would erode the Jewish state’s qualitive military edge over its neighbors—which the U.S. is required to by an act of Congress to uphold. Shimon Arad explains these concerns: