MembersJudaism and State: The Quagmire Israel Can’t Escape

The issue of Judaism and state must be solved in order for Israel to truly live out its calling as a state for all of the Jewish people

Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90

This week, Israel has managed to find itself once again entangled in the quagmire of religion and state issues. On Monday (March 1), the Supreme Court made a dramatic decision ordering the state to recognize individuals who have undergone Reform and Conservative conversions in Israel as eligible for citizenship through the Law of Return. The decision was made following twelve petitions to the court by converts who had been denied citizenship by Israel’s Ministry of Interior.

Interestingly, the state already recognizes Reform and Conservative conversions abroad for the purpose of Aliyah (immigration). This decision merely extends state recognition to those who complete this kind of conversion process inside Israel.

President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut clarified that the decision concerns “a public-civil question and not a religious one.” Hayut added that the non-Orthodox communities in Israel are “well established” and that they are “central denominations in world Jewry.”

Those to the left of the political spectrum immediately praised the Supreme Court decision. Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) hailed the court’s decision on Twitter stating that “Israel...

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