Amar is getting a lot of press lately in regards to his attempts to keep Reform and Conservative Jews from being treated equally by the government of Israel. He organized a meeting to FOIL THE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION to pay non-Orthodox rabbis. Where I’m from, that’s called treason, I believe.
Now, it’s an inflammatory article, but it’s interesting for the hypocrisy:
“This is a battle for the soul of the Jewish people,” declared Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who called the meeting. Amar said that if the state recognizes non-Orthodox religious services, it could tear the Jewish people into two nations. He added that people should pray on this matter as they do in times when “rockets are fired or in times of war.”
Amar went on to warn that state recognition of non-Orthodox religious services would lead to these rabbis performing weddings and conversions not recognized by Jewish law. “God forbid, we will have to keep records of ancestry, and that is a great danger,” said Amar. “Now, despite the disagreements within the people of Israel, we marry one another. But if we cannot, the significance will mean tearing the people in two, it is a danger without a remedy.”
Where is the hypocrisy there?
1. As far as marriages, Haredim marry haredim. Orthodox marry Orthodox. Non-Orthodox marry Non-Orthodox. Even more importantly than that, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_in_Israel
However, Israel does recognise civil or religious marriages entered into outside Israel. It is usual for couples who may not or choose not to marry in Israel to travel overseas to marry. One out of every ten Israelis who married in 2000 did so abroad mainly because they could not marry in Israel. 2,230 couples who married abroad consisted of two Israeli partners, and another 3,660 couples consisted of an Israeli and a non-Israeli partner.
There are already two “nations” as far as marriage goes. 10% of Israelis have to leave the country just to get married! Then, they return and their marriage is accepted, but is not viewed by the Haredim as the same as marriages done by THEM. Civil and religious marriages from outside the country are accepted as valid within Israel…but not by the Haredim!
2. As far as conversions…this is where it gets crazy, because Amar is no stranger to conversion controversy…..because he has caused it! http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/chief-sephardi-rabbi-diaspora-orthodox-rabbis-convert-for-bribes-1.349681
The allegations were part of Amar’s attempt to defend a controversial policy that the Chief Rabbinate and the Interior Ministry adopted about two years ago. Under this policy, they do not recognize conversions by Orthodox rabbis overseas unless the rabbis belong to specific rabbinical organizations. As a result, several Orthodox converts have been denied the right to immigrate under the Law of Return in recent years.
MKs Yohanan Plesner (Kadima ) and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz ) had requested the meeting in response to last month’s Haaretz report about this policy, which essentially extends the rabbinate’s power to Orthodox communities overseas.
The High Court of Justice has ruled that the ministry must recognize people who underwent Reform or Conservative conversions overseas as Jews. But no such ruling was ever issued on Orthodox conversions; hence the rabbinate and the ministry retain discretion.
At the meeting, Horowitz pointed out the irony: The Orthodox rabbinate is thus actually pushing prospective immigrants to opt for Conservative or Reform conversions instead.
So, all those Orthodox conversions that are denied for right of return are BECAUSE of Amar.
3. To go on about creating two different nations…how about denying the Right of Return to ALL converts? Talk about oppressing the ger! http://www.haaretz.com/news/chief-rabbinate-prepares-bill-to-remove-converts-from-law-of-return-1.201909
Converts will no longer be recognized as Jews under the Law of Return, according to a bill formulated by the Chief Rabbinate and presented to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a few days ago. The revolutionary bill is now awaiting a decision by the prime minister whether to make it a government-sponsored bill.
The bill was initiated by Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar in an effort to block the possibility that the High Court of Justice could recognize Reform conversions carried out in Israel. Amar expects the government to adopt the initiative after other solutions proposed by the state to the High Court, such as a recent suggestion to establish a second Ne’eman Committee to discuss conversions, seemed no more than stall attempts.
The Chief Rabbinate said Monday the proposal was an egalitarian one that would withstand the scrutiny of the High Court. It argued the bill would “close the loophole” in the Law of Return that allowed foreign workers to convert in order to receive Israeli citizenship.
However if the law passes, it is likely to lead to a major crisis between Israel and the Diaspora.
The bill would give rabbinic courts and the Chief Rabbinate sole authority over conversions, as another bill, which did not pass, had also stated. The main element in the bill is a change in the clause defining a Jew for the purposes of the Law of Return. At present the clause defines a Jew as a person born to a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism. The bill proposes that an the only individuals recognized as Jewish by the Law of return will be those born to a Jewish mother.
The situation with Amar and his hypocrisy is deepening the gulf between the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora. This is a dire situation that will only be resolved when the power that he will stop at nothing to secure is wrested from his hands and given back to the people and their government.