Israeli high court reverses annulled conversions

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel’s high court reversed two annulled conversions to Judaism and affirmed thousands of others.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Rep - A Christmas Carol

Two women had in 2008 appealed to the rabbinical appeals court annulments by lower rabbinical courts of their conversions, which came about because of divorce cases.

The appeals court not only upheld the annulments but called into question thousands more conversions conducted through a network of conversion courts headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman. The women then appealed to the high court.

In a decision delivered Tuesday and reported by Ha’aretz on Friday, the high court struck down the earlier rulings with especially harsh language.

“The Rabbinical Court of Appeals rode roughshod over basic procedural rules and the principles of natural justice,” Justice Dorit Beinisch wrote, according to Ha’aretz. “It demonstrated contempt for the special conversion courts, and above all, it hurt and did a shocking injustice to the petitioners and their children.”

In addition to reversing the two annulments, the high court affirmed all of the conversions in the system headed by Druckman.

The court left alone the authority of Israel’s rabbinical court system to decide conversions, noting that a proposed new system would make it harder to annul conversions.

The decades-old conflict between the national religious Orthodox community, of which Druckman is a leader, and the Haredi community, which dominates the religious court system, has underpinned the conversion battle.

Don’t miss out! Get the JTA Daily Briefing delivered FREE to your inbox!

Click to login and write a letter to the editor or sign up for the Daily Briefing.