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August 25, 1989 - Image 69

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

GRAND .
OPENING

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converted." Elon argued that
the key word "converted" in
the law ought to be inter-
.. preted according to the
halachic norms that had
prevailed in Judaism for
thousands of years.
Among those norms for con-
version is the immersion in a
ritual bath, or mikveh, a
ritual that Elon claimed
many members of the Reform
movement spurn.
Elon also noted that the
Reform movement rejected
the "born of a Jewish
mother" criterion when it rul-
ed several years ago to expand
its definition of Jews to in-
clude children born of a
Jewish father and a non-
Jewish mother.
The justices' full opinions
will be issued at a later date.
Saying the Likud party had
"broken all of its promises to
us," Knesset minister
Menachem Porush of Agudat
Yisrael said his party would
now have to contemplate leav-
ing the unity coalition
government in protest.
The predominantly
Chasidic party holds five
seats in the Knesset and does
not have a minister in the
Cabinet.
Religious Affairs Minister
Zevulun Hammer said he
would consult with his Na-
tional Religious Party col-
leagues and with other Or-
thodox parties about in-
troducing new citizenship
legislation.
Hammer said those con-
sultations would also include
"interested parties" in the
Diaspora.
A drive for new legislation
could reopen wounds between
Israel and the Diaspora that
festered after the Knesset
elections last November and
were healed only after Likud
and Labor agreed to form a
national unity government.
At that time, in a rush to
win the support of Orthodox
parties in forming a govern-
ment, Likud and Labor each
pledged they would enact
legislation changing the Law
of Return to deny automatic
citizenship --to non-Orthodox
converts.
Only after Diaspora com-
munities threatened mass
disaffection did the two par-
ties agree to drop their sup-
a port for the legislation and
form a national unity govern-
ment together. The parties
gave assurances to Diaspora
leaders that 'Who Is a Jew'
legislation would not be
seriously considered by either
party again.



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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

69

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