A bill that would allow more rabbis to conduct conversions in Israel advanced in the Knesset.
The coalition government-backed bill passed its first reading by a vote of 28 to 16 in the Knesset plenum on Monday night.
Under the measure, as many as 30 courts made up of municipal rabbis would be allowed for the purpose of conversion. Currently there are four state rabbinic courts with the authority to conduct conversions.
The Chief Rabbinate, which would see its power reduced under the measure, said it will stop cooperating with the Knesset if the bill is approved, the Times of Israel reported Monday. The Rabbinate, which reportedly is working on a compromise bill, is concerned the measure will lead to a deterioration of conversion standards.
Sponsored by lawmaker Elazar Stern of the Hatnua party, an observant Jew, the bill passed the Knesset Law Committee earlier on Monday.JTA