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We can’t let just anyone join our club June 25, 2011

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Politics, Religion.

Israeli Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman has explained why the government must be in charge of determining who is a Jew and which Jewish conversions are valid:

Conversion has legal ramifications, unlike the US where it doesn’t. You can’t let anyone who wants to convert to do so, since that enables them to enter the country and receive citizenship, or change the status of an alien to legal.

So rather than fixing the source of the problem — by dismantling the original discriminatory, undemocratic laws, so that religious conversion will not have legal ramifications — we make matters worse by enforcing yet more discriminatory, undemocratic laws. This is like arguing that if we had a law giving exclusive tax benefits to Maccabi sports fans, the state couldn’t allow just anyone to become a Maccabi fan: the government would have to be put in charge of determining who qualifies as a real Maccabi fan.

Neeman also rebuked diaspora Jewry for getting so worked up about the conversion issue, when they have bigger problems of their own to deal with:

The major issue [facing diaspora Jewry] are the high percentages disappearing from the world of Judaism. What Hitler didn’t succeed in doing is happening now, there is terrible assimilation.

Apparently, Neeman is unable to distinguish between people being murdered and people making personal life choices that he disapproves of: if Jewish law is not your top priority, you might as well be dead.

(via Religion and State in Israel)


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