The ITIM religious rights advocacy group has accused the state’s Conversion Authority of adopting a “closed door policy” toward non-Israeli citizens interested in conversion, and claimed the authority has created a “negative image” that has led to an overall decrease in conversions.
“It is unconscionable that the Conversion Authority is discouraging spouses of Israelis to convert within the national system,” ITIM director Rabbi Shaul Farber said of current conversion policy. “Having just marked the Shavuot festival when we celebrate Ruth’s entry into the Jewish people, it is unfathomable that in modern Israel, she wouldn’t have been accepted – even if she was married to an Israeli.”
ITIM, an Orthodox advocacy organization, argues that the approximately 330,000 Israelis living in the country who are of Jewish ancestry – but not Jewish according to Jewish law – are marrying Israelis, and thus increasing intermarriage numbers in Israel. The organization argues that one of the best ways to lower intermarriage levels is to make it easier for those who want to convert to do so.
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