Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Av 5760 - August 16, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Allocation of Areas for Religious Services Approved At Preliminary Reading
by Eliezer Rauchberger

At a preliminary reading, the Knesset approved a proposal by MK Rabbi Meir Porush to mandate the designation of areas for religious structures and mikvo'os in plans of every new settlement, city or neighborhood. The proposal passed by a majority of 31 MKs against 26 opponents. There was one abstention.

According to existing law, the allocation of areas for religious structures is a matter of choice, not an obligation. Developers are required to allocate areas for education, health, sanitation, and transportation needs in new cities, settlements and neighborhoods -- but not for religious needs. Rabbi Porush claimed that in many instances, room for religious structures was not allocated; consequently many places lack suitable areas for synagogues and mikvo'os.

A case in point, he noted, is the Karkum settlement, which has no mikveh. Subsequently, although many residents asked for the construction of a mikveh, its secular residents are opposed. Rabbi Porush hopes to avoid a repetition of the Karkum incident in other cities or settlements by designating an area for a mikveh in every neighborhood, since taharas hamishpocho is one of the foundations of the Jewish Nation.

Although the Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided to support the proposal, Meretz and Yisrael Achat coalition members made an attempt to topple it. Despite their efforts, UTJ managed to recruit a majority to pass this proposal. They were aided in their efforts by other religious members of the Knesset and the Likud representatives -- including Likud chairman, Ariel Sharon, who arrived especially for the vote -- as well as representatives of Ha'ichud Haleumi and the Arab parties.

Rabbi Porush upbraided the members of Yisrael Achat, noting that they have proved with their vote that their main goal is to foment animosity toward the chareidi sector and the Torah, and that they change their approach only when there are coalition considerations.


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