A day after the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the "Mikvah bill" for legislation, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party said that the faction made it clear to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he must choose between them and the Reform Movement.
"We struggled to bring the bill up for a discussion and a vote in the government and we refused any attempt to delay or compromise submitted to us," said Litzman, adding: "We have clarified to the prime minister that United Torah Judaism will not be able to cooperate with a government that is in the pocket of the Reform Movement and allows them to trample on the Torah and Jewish law."
"The Prime Minister must decide whether he prefers the reformers outside of Israel or the haredim inside of Israel," he continued, referring to the fact that the Reform Movement in Israel accounts for only a tiny minority of Israeli Jews. "The Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the Reform Movement destroys all that is good in the fields of religion in Israel, and this is a red line that we cannot reconcile with."
The bill approved on Sunday states that public Mikvaot, baths used for the purpose of ritual immersion, will only follow the guidelines of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The bill is an effort to cancel the Supreme Court's decision that public Mikvaot must be open for use in all conversions, including conversions through the Reform and Conservative movements that do not adhere to Jewish law.
The bill was proposed by the Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and sponsored by MKs from UTJ, Shas and Jewish Home.
The proposal is expected to undergo a preliminary reading in a Knesset plenum and vote on Wednesday. However, according to the decision of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, after the preliminary reading approval, the coalition will try to reach agreement regarding the bill's advancement.