Israeli Elections - Faithful Attraction

Now that the recent election in Israel is over, Americans fear increased influence from the Orthodox movement. Hysteria of a Pandora's Box being opened has raised concerns "but the Orthodox have always  played a major role in the policies of the State of Israel.

When the state of Israel was established, all parties involved with its formation agreed that the religious interpretation of Jewish law would be Orthodox. That all religious segments would agree to Orthodox interpretation was the rule and not the exception. One example is the controversial law of who is a Jew according to the laws of conversion.

The general Reform movement does not accept the liberal Reconstructionist views of Judaism. Conservative does not accept Reform and Orthodox accepts none of the above. They maintain the 3,000 year traditional view as the correct one.

In dealing with the law of conversion, the Reconstructionist, Reform and conservative branches have not accepted each other's laws, whether here in the United States or in Israel. This is a most important fact to bear in mind. Consequently, a Reform convert is not accepted into the Conservative movement.

However, all groups unequivocally accept the Orthodox conversion as being a most authentic one and thereby widely accepted; hence the least controversial of the group. Everybody accepts an Orthodox conversion while not everybody accepts a Reform or Conservative one.

The status quo in interpreting who is a Jew has lasted from the inception of the state and is an Orthodox one. For years all branches of Judaism accepted and respected the agreement.  There was never a concern that Israel intended to alienate American Jewry.

Recently, it was the American Rabbis who persuaded the State of Israel to change the laws to suit their religious preferences "contrary to the wishes and spirit of Israel's founding fathers. Be that as it may, a change was made, under coercion of withholding funding - something the Orthodox would never think of. The faithful are attracted to a higher authority.

The Knesset has a fair system, the Orthodox have held important ministerial positions in past coalitions, so why all the fuss? Now that the people of Israel have voted their conscious, Jewish Americans ought to back that decision with undiluted support, just as we did in its genesis, and not talk of alienation. Strength is in unity. Am Yisroel Chai.