Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu backs away from promised panel to mediate conversions dispute

The responsibility for finding a resolution to the crisis over conversion policy which erupted earlier this year lies solely with former justice minister Moshe Nissim, who will make his own recommendations without the help of any committee.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said originally that a working group would be appointed to resolve the issue, but The Jerusalem Post has learned that Nissim will do it alone.

At the end of June, a bill proposed by Shas chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to give the Chief Rabbinate a total monopoly over conversions was approved by the government for passage to the Knesset.

This aroused the fury of the Reform and Conservative Movements in the US and Israel, as well as intense opposition from moderate national-religious groups and rabbis since it would severely damage the legal standing of foreign conversions.

Coming in the wake of the crisis over the cancellation of the Western Wall agreement, Netanyahu managed to convince Shas and United Torah Judaism to freeze their legislation, and in return got the progressive movements to freeze a petition to the High Court of Justice which seemed likely to afford their conversions heightened legal status.

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