Rav Aviner in the News: Conversion Law Halahically Problematic

[Yeshiva World News Website]

Rosh Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim and prominent Dati Leumi community Posek, Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner Shlit"a, has come out against the conversion bill sponsored by MK Elazar Stern. The bill passed its preliminary reading in Knesset this week. The Rav feels the bill is “problematic from both a halachic and national perspective.”

While Stern and Bayit Yehudi are hailing the bill as a breakthrough towards removing many stumbling blocks faced by a conversion candidate, many/most leading Dati Leumi Rabbanim are opposed, fearing the ramifications. Needless to say Chareidi Poskim are opposed as well.

Rav Aviner asks “What is meant by facilitating conversion? Should a candidate not be required to wait on a long line or perhaps they should address him in a nicer way, with more love and patience?  "Love the convert" and if that is what is behind efforts to go easier then it is positive”.

Rav Aviner fears, however, under the new law there will be Batei Din that will provide an expedited conversion which will result “in regular converts who are "Yirei Shamayim" as well as those who are "Yirei Shamayim Lite". What is their intention when they speak of easier conversion? If they are thinking of 300,000 immigrants from Russia that are not converting today, then a new reality of two nations will emerge.

This will lead to conversion that is not in line with Halachah and a
division of the nation into two”.

Rav Aviner feels that conversion is one of those things where one must satisfy all halachic opinions, for this is at the heart of the ‘Who is a Jew’ controversy. The Rav acknowledges there should not be "Foot-dragging" as exists today in the judicial system but compromising Halachah and the conversion process is not the way to eliminate the lag.