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Netanyahu's coalition divided over new conversion bill

Even his coalition partners are not enthusiastic over Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s initiative for a new conversion law.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri began advancing draft legislation to strengthen the Chief Rabbinate’s grip over the conversion into Judaism process on June 18. This comes in response to the erosion of its monopoly in a series of Supreme Court rulings.

Deri’s proposed legislation presents yet another landmine facing Israel’s new unity government. It is exactly why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attempt to temper and delay it for the next year at least. In this early stage of his term, he is facing two main challenges: annexing West Bank settlements and reinvigorating the Israeli economy, which suffered a devastating blow as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. What Netanyahu does not need at this stage is another conflict with his coalition partners in the Blue and White party. One thing that will likely help him is a clause in the coalition agreement stating that no controversial legislation will be brought before the Knesset in the immediate future.

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