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Netanyahu Rebuffs U.S. Jews Over Conversions

June 13, 1998| Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angered a delegation of American Reform Jews on Friday, rejecting their plea for equal rights for non-Orthodox Jewish movements and suggesting they carried out "quickie" conversions.

The 170 rabbis and other Reform leaders are in Israel for the country's 50th anniversary celebrations and to campaign against a bill that would deny recognition of conversions carried out by the non-Orthodox Reform and Conservative movements in Israel.

Netanyahu is under pressure from religious parties in his governing coalition to pass the bill, which already has passed its first reading in Israel's parliament.

Since Israel grants automatic citizenship to all Jews, he said, accepting all conversions would have dangerous results.

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