ADL: The Mikvah Law Misuses State-Funded Facilities to Discriminate Against Non-Orthodox Jews

Jerusalem, July 27, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today strongly condemned passage in the Knesset of the “mikvah law,” which bars the ritual immersion of converts by non-Orthodox rabbis in public mikvahs (ritual baths), saying that it is using a state-funded facilities to discriminate. 

Immersion in the mikvah is the final step in the process of converting to Judaism.  The law, initiated by MK Moshe Gafni, strives to override the Israeli Supreme Court ruling in February mandating that all converts to Judaism – Orthodox, Reform or Conservative – have access to state-funded mikvahs.   

Carole Nuriel, ADL Israel Director, issued the following statement:

This law is one more example of state-funded and state-sanctioned discrimination against non-Orthodox Jews. Orthodox rabbis and MKs are certainly permitted to set procedures and standards for the conversions performed under their auspices.  However, state-fund should not be used to enable discrimination and public mikvahs should be open to those who seek to use it for spiritual purification and conversion – whatever stream of Judaism they ascribe to.   

 We fear this law represents another insult to the millions of non-Orthodox Jews in Israel and around the world. 

The Government of Israel has said that it will establish four national mikvahs for use by non-Orthodox converts, but to date there are no concrete plans. 

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.