In 1997, amidst controversies over whether Israel, and the Israeli rabbinate, would recognize non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism, Israeli political and religious figures together with representatives of the major American denominations concluded a complex compromise that, although never made law, has governed policy de facto ever since. A bill recently before the Knesset would upend this compromise by solidifying the control over conversions exercised by the ultra-Orthodox-dominated Israeli chief rabbinate. Responding to outrage from American Jewish leaders, Prime Minister Netanyahu has shelved the bill—which seemed poised to pass—for six months. But, as Haviv Rettig Gur explains, the proposed legislation is a response to a conflict between the chief rabbinate and a group of Israeli Modern Orthodox rabbis—a conflict that is unlikely to go away.
A Knesset Bill on Conversion Puts Issues of Synagogue and State to the Test
Better to Undermine Iran’s Nuclear Program Than to Conclude Another Bad Deal
Last Friday, yet another mysterious explosion rocked a military site in the Islamic Republic, in what seems to be a coordinated attempt to sabotage Iranian nuclear ambitions—although there remains a possibility that these incidents could be accidental, and related only by coincidence. For their part, the ayatollahs have blamed Israel, and not unreasonably. Eli Lake comments on what this all means for the future of American attempts to limit the Iranian nuclear program: