Meretz: ´Secular conversion´ sufficient for Law of Return rights (JERUSALEM POST) By NINA GILBERT 12/16/02)
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Anyone who can prove a "connection" to the Jewish people would have
the right to citizenship under the Law of Return without having to go
through any religious ceremony, according to the Meretz platform,
whose sections on religion and state were published Monday.
The platform is based on the party´s 1999 document, but some issues
on separating religion and state have been given new emphasis,
including the idea of "secular conversion." According to that idea,
Jewishness would be recognized according to "liberal and pluralistic"
The party will not be drafting a new platform for this election, but
gave its leader, Yossi Sarid, the go-ahead to refine the document and
give new emphasis to some issues.
Yossi Beilin, who has joined the Meretz Kesset list, has waged a long
campaign for reforming the Law of Return.
The platform also calls for abolishing the state-funded Chief
Rabbinate and for the role to be fulfilled instead by voluntary
organizations which would be responsible only for those who accept
The party also proposes that only a few hundred outstanding yeshiva
students be given draft deferments instead of the current system of
Additional positions on separating religion and state include support
for civil marriage and divorce, public transportation on Shabbat, and
guaranteeing abortion rights.
(© 1995-2002, The Jerusalem Post 12/16/02)
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