New York, NY, July 23, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office that the Knesset bill on Jewish conversions in Israel would be suspended for six months, and expressed great appreciation for the Prime Minister's principled opposition to the bill, which has engendered much concern among Diaspora Jewry.
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
We applaud the Prime Minister's efforts to prevent this bill from reaching the Knesset at this time to enable the engagement of Diaspora Jewry, and specifically the Reform and Conservative movements, in a process to work out a more acceptable solution to this decades-old issue.
We fully appreciate that Israel must find a way to accommodate the 400,000 immigrants from the Former Soviet Union who are not Jewish according to Israel's Chief Rabbinate and who seek a path to be recognized as Jews for the purpose of marriage, burial and other rituals. However, we assert that any decisions regarding the process of Jewish conversion in Israel do not just affect citizens of Israel, but Jews worldwide. The Prime Minister's intervention in this matter was clearly to the benefit of am yisrael – the Jewish people, and in the interest of Jewish unity.