Bill limiting non-Orthodox mikvah use in Israel advances to full Knesset

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A bill that would bar non-Orthodox conversions at public ritual baths in Israel is headed to the full Knesset.

On Monday, the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee advanced the legislation for a first reading in the parliament.

The bill, which was introduced by the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, aims to override an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in February that paved the way for non-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel to use public mikvahs for conversions.

The committee approved a revised version of the bill that does not require women using the mikvah for family purity immersion to immerse in a proscribed way.

Also as part of the revised bill, The Jewish Agency agreed to build four mikvahs throughout the country for non-Orthodox movements to use for conversion purposes, according to reports citing unnamed sources at The Jewish Agency.

The proposal to build the non-Orthodox conversion mikvahs reportedly has not been accepted by the haredi Orthodox parties or the Reform movement.

The Reform movement wants the state to fund mikvahs for the non-Orthodox movements. United Torah Judaism’s senior lawmaker, Moshe Gafni, does not believe the non-Orthodox movements are entitled to their own mikvahs.

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