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Saturday, February 20, 2016 

Barring Reform/Conservative movements from using public mikvehs does not help Israel's causes

The Haredi parties sponsored a bill to ban Reform and Conservative sects from using state run mikvehs. But to make matters worse, even a few members of the Jewish Home party are supporting it:
Four MKs from Bayit Yehudi have signed on to a bill proposed by United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev to circumvent a recent ruling by the Supreme Court allowing the Reform and Conservative movements to use public mikvaot for their conversion ceremonies.

The director of the Reform Movement in Israel, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, called the legislation “absurd,” and expressed disappointment that MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Nissan Slomiansky had decided to support it, joined by two other Bayit Yehudi lawmakers, Bezalel Smotrich and Moti Yogev The issue stems from a 2007 ruling by the Beersheba Religious Council which refused a request by the Reform movement to use a mikve in the city for the immersion of a convert, following which the Reform movement filed a law suit against the religious council for discrimination.

Although a district court rejected the suit, ruling that the non-Orthodox conversions were private processes and not entitled to use state facilities, the Supreme Court found last week that preventing the Reform and Conservative movements from using the mikvaot was discriminatory and illegal.

Immediately following the ruling, Gafni said he would introduce legislation to prevent the non-Orthodox movements from using public mikvaot for their conversion ceremonies.
Boy, that man really knows how to drive wedges that are better avoided. I don't find Reform Judaism appealing. But that doesn't mean we should be going miles out of our way to banish them from using public locations for their ceremonies, and the buildings certainly aren't going to collapse like a deck of cards because they did it there. Those Knesset members who vigorously oppose Reform/Conservative Judaism are only making things worse, and will do nothing to dissuade any anti-Israel sentiment that may dwell among them today. They should be ashamed of themselves for drawing the kind of attention that the Orthodox movement doesn't need, and if they really want to avoid making things worse, they'll withdraw their support for the bill immediately.

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