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Israel high court orders state funding for non-Orthodox conversion classes

[JURIST] The Israeli High Court of Justice [official website] on Tuesday ordered the government to fund non-Orthodox conversion institutions. The decision, handed down by a three-judge panel, breaks the monopoly [Jerusalem Post report] that Orthodox conversion institutions hold over public conversion funding. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism [advocacy website] applauded the decision [press release], with Associate Director Mark Pelavin saying is, "ends one of the longstanding manifestations of government discrimination against non-Orthodox Judaism." The Israeli Religious Action Center [advocacy website] also expressed hope [press release] that the verdict would, "lead to a change in government policy and put an end to the exclusion of the Reform movement by the State."

While Tuesday's decision allots equal funding for orthodox and non-Orthodox conversion institutes, non-Orthodox converts still face difficulties [ADL backgrounder] integrating into Israeli society. In Israel, Orthodox conversion is the officially recognized conversion of the government [official website], and it is believed that many non-Orthodox converts to Judaism are not recognized as Jewish by religious law [Haaretz report].

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