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Bibi Reportedly Pulls Backing For Conversion Bill

Bibi Reportedly Pulls Backing For Conversion Bill

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly has withdrawn his support for a bill that would allow local rabbis to oversee conversions.

The bill, sponsored by the Hatnua party led by Tzipi Livni, passed one reading in the Knesset plenum in the summer.

But it is opposed by the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, which oversees all conversions in Israel, and the Modern Orthodox Jewish Home party and charedi parties.

According to Hatnua lawmaker Elazar Stern, the bill’s sponsor, Netanyahu said he would support the measure but asked for a delay in bringing it to a vote more than once. The reports have fueled speculation that Netanyahu will call early elections.

Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu withdrew his backing to avoid upsetting the charedi Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, who he might need to form an alliance in future governments.

“If it is not advanced in the Cabinet,” Livni wrote in a post on Facebook, “we will advance it in the Knesset with liberal partners, those who are not afraid of the ultra-Orthodox and want to enable young people that live here and serve in the army to realize their strong desire to convert, marry and live here with dignity.”

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