According to him, the State needs to help them integrate into Israelis' lives and to accept them even if the Halacha (Jewish law) has difficulty recognizing them as Jews. The present situation in which they cannot marry, is unacceptable, he added.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Justice Minister Friedman asserts: Conversion should be based on national identity - not halacha
Friedmann explained that “some groups consider them Jewish since they serve in IDF infantry units like Golani and Givati. It is the country’s duty as a member of the family of nations to allow every citizen to marry. "Rabbi Avraham Sherman (who decided that conversions carried out by Rabbi Haim Druckman were null and void) may not accept this, but the State as a state, must.” In a conference discussing “who is a Jew” held at the Brodt Jewish Culture Center in Tel Aviv, the justice minister attacked the policies of strict rulings in the rabbinical courts, saying that “I wouldn’t say anything if there was another way to get married. The problem is that the same strict group doesn’t allow others to get married in different places.” Minister Friedmann also discussed the issue of conversions, claiming that “the world’s Orthodox community believes that whoever fails to abide by the commandments will eventually assimilate. "However, I believe that the approach in Israel needs to be completely different. When we are on our own land and there is Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, if somebody wants to join us, it is worth it to make it easier on them. The same strictness is not fitting because people share the same fate just by virtue of them being here.” He also said that “the last decision canceling conversions carried out by Rabbi Druckman does not make the situation look promising. I hope that he will reassess this issue and I will recommend that Knesset members adopt legislation on the issue.”