Monday, March 21, 2016

Israel's Attorney General Says Bill Restoring Orthodox Control of Mikvehs Is Invalid

As previously reported, last month a 3-judge panel of Israel's High Court of Justice held that state-funded mikvehs  (ritual bath facilities) operated by Orthodox-controlled religious councils must be open for use by the Conservative and Reform Jewish movements for their conversion ceremonies as well as for Orthodox conversions. (See prior posting.)  In response, a bill was introduced into the Knesset (Parliament) by a member of the Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party to reverse the Court's ruling by requiring mikvehs to be run in accordance with Jewish law as interpreted by the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate.  The bill passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset last week.  Haaretz reports that yesterday Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit submitted a legal opinion to the government concluding that the bill is invalid because it violates the rights to freedom of religion, human dignity and equality.