JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Cabinet has passed a charged bill aimed at easing conversion to Judaism in Israel.
Sunday's vote comes after much political wrangling and pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties on the prime minister to shelve the bill for fear of losing their monopoly over matters of church and state in Israel. Under the new reform, municipal rabbis will be allowed to hold special conversion courts, thus expanding those entitled to perform conversions.
The bill looks to smooth the conversion path for tens of thousands, many immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who currently don't qualify under strict Jewish law and have trouble marrying in Israel or receiving a Jewish burial.
Julie Schonfeld, a U.S.-based conservative rabbi, said the move looked to make conversion "more available and more accessible" in Israel.