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Media Analyses





Jerusalem Post Corrects on Conversion Bill


Following contact from CAMERA's Israel office, The Jerusalem Post corrected a July 6 article which falsely alleged, over the course of several paragraphs, that a new Israeli conversion bill would affect American Jews by choice who underwent non-Orthodox conversions in the United States ("American Jewish Converts 'Hurt' and 'Humiliated' by Conversion Bill").
 
The article had initially incorrectly reported:
Under the proposed legislation, being advanced by haredi political parties, people who were converted in the Reform or Conservative movements of Judaism, like [Jen] Halpern, will not be recognized as Jewish in Israel, and therefore, will have no citizenship rights in the Jewish state.
Only conversions performed by the State Conversion Authority, under the guidance of the Chief Rabbinate, would be accepted.

 
Jen Halpern is an American Jew by choice living in West Virginia. She converted in the United Sates, and thus the legislation will have zero impact on her. The bill applies only to conversions in Israel. Moreover, as Haviv Rettig Gur of Times of Israel explained:
On paper, the bill does very little. It says nothing at all about overseas conversions. It has nothing to do with conversions in Israel by Israeli citizens, including the hundreds of thousands of family members of Jews who are not themselves halachically Jewish. And it doesn’t concern non-citizens in Israel who seek to convert in the official state rabbinate framework. Who’s left?
Only these: non-citizens living in Israel for an extended period who obtain Jewish conversions from private conversion courts.
That’s not a lot of people, to put it mildly: tourists, perhaps African migrants, and very few others. Official figures, which are imperfect by virtue of the simple fact that these are conversions carried out beyond the scope of government agencies, estimate the figure in the low dozens each year.
Thus, the bill has no impact on Jen Halpern, and it certainly has no impact on her son or any future grandchildren. Nevertheless, The Jerusalem Post had originally reported:
According to Halpern, those who are pushing for the bill to pass are attempting to delegitimize her Judaism. As a mother, she pointed out that she is also worried about the implications of the bill for her son.
"My son is Jewish through me, so if this kind of thing happens, what does it mean for him if he wants to make Aliya in 10 years?" she said. "And he's a boy, but if I had had a daughter, it would have affected by grandchildren also.
"What happens if he wants to serve to protect Israel? Is he going to be told no?" Halpern asked. "Is it better for Israel to turn away someone like my child, who might want to live there and be a contributing member of the community?"
In response to communication from CAMERA, The Jerusalem Post deleted all of the aforementioned paragraphs, and did not include any of that misinformation in the print edition.
 
In addition, the article had originally reported:
But Halpern's sense of belonging has recently been shaken, not in her immediate environment, but in her connection to Israel, as the government debates a bill that would grant the Chief Rabbinate a monopoly on conversion.
The amended article now more accurately refers to "a bill that would grant the Chief Rabbinate a monopoly on conversion in Israel." (Emphasis added.)
 
Contrary to standard journalistic practice, editors failed to append a note to the digital edition notifying readers of substantive changes which went to the very heart of the reasons for American Jewish feelings of hurt and humiliation.
 
For additional Jerusalem Post corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.

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