On March 1st, 2021, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israel must grant citizenship to Jews who converted to Judaism in Israel in non-Orthodox conversions. This historic victory follows decades of work by the Reform movement and Israel Religious Action Center, a 2020 NIFC project partner. NIFC will continue to push, alongside our project partners in Israel, for a pluralistic and egalitarian society that recognizes all streams of Judaism.
Responding to the news that Israel’s Supreme Court declared Reform and Conservative conversions in Israel valid for the purposes of Israel’s Law of Return, New Israel Fund Directors Mickey Gitzin (Israel) and Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen (New York / Tri-state area) released the following statements:
Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen, New Israel Fund Director for New York/tri-state area and Conservative Rabbi:
“This is a decision that celebrates and honors the rigorous process of conversion that so many undergo; people who are deeply committed to becoming a part of the Jewish people and who we should welcome with equal enthusiasm. The Supreme Court made a commendable decision.
“It is true that Israel still privileges Jewish identity as a central avenue towards citizenship, and that the path towards equal rights for all, regardless of faith, remains long. Yet today we celebrate one small but significant step towards pluralism, towards a society in Israel that views all as equal.”
Mickey Gitzin, New Israel Fund Israel Director, previously the Director of Israel Hofsheet, an organization working for religious freedom in Israel and a 2021 NIFC project partner:
“Today Israel’s Supreme Court decided that Israel should be a national home for all types of Jews. The ultra-Orthodox monopoly in Israel on conversion for the purposes of immigration has been broken. It is a day to celebrate, even as the road towards equality for all – especially those who are not Jewish – remains long.”