Loss For The Reform – Knesset Approves Mikveh Bill

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved Sunday the “Mikveh” bill proposed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and sponsored by MKs from UTJ, Shas and Jewish Home.

The bill states that public Mikvaot, baths used for the purpose of ritual immersion, will only follow the guidelines the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The bill is an effort to cancel the Supreme Court’s decision that public Mikvaot must be open for use in all conversions, including conversions through the Reform and Conservative movements that do not adhere to Jewish law.

The bill was approved and will soon undergo a preliminary reading in a Knesset plenum. According to the committee’s decision, after a preliminary reading, the coalition will try to reach agreement regarding the bill’s advancement.

To advance the bill, members of Jewish Home demand that the Director General of the Ministry of Religious Affairs reinstate the guideline which forbids the Chief Rabbinate Council from asking Mivkeh goers invasive questions, as a condition for legislation.

The factions are concerned that if the law passes without anchored guidelines regarding the Chief Rabbinate Council, then the guidelines will lose their validity and all the progress in regards to operating the Mikvaot will be lost.

The Kulanu faction are forming opposition to the bill, led by MK Rachel Azaria.

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