Israeli Anti Semitism

Israeli’s parliament, The Knesset, has  passed into law a bill that permits regional religious authorities to turn away individuals from using the state-run ritual baths. 

41 lawmakers voted in favor and 35 opposed.

Proposed by United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni, the legislation seeks to circumvent the Supreme Court’s February 12 ruling that Israel’s non-Orthodox Jewish communities may use state ritual baths for their conversion ceremonies.

“This is the first time that a mikveh, a place of purity, has become a place of exclusion,” said Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie on Monday. The lawmaker said the legislation sends a message to Diaspora Jewry that the State of Israel doesn’t “count you in. Not at the Western Wall, or in marriage, or in conversions, at the mikvehs too — you have no place in the State of Israel.”

“This law is not Jewish, not legal, not democratic,” she added.

The Jewish Agency, which has agreed to build up to four ritual baths for use by Israel’s Conservative and Reform communities as part of a compromise, decried the Knesset decision.

“This bill, which offers no solution to the non-Orthodox denominations, circumvents the rulings of the High Court of Justice. It is unfortunate that the bill passed before such a solution was ensured,” Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said in a statement.

The auhtors of the bill rejected the criticism of the new law, saying Monday: “Reform Jews in the US don’t have a single mikveh. All of a sudden they need a mikveh here? This law aims to prevent the Reforms from getting this legitimization through the back door.”

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