Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Av 5763 - August 27, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Government Plans to Transfer Rabbinate Botei Din to Justice Ministry
by Betzalel Kahn

In the latest of its efforts to destroy Israel's religious institutions, the Ariel Sharon government is expected to announce plans to transfer three departments currently in the Religious Affairs Ministry to other ministries. In addition, 67 religious councils across the country will be closed immediately and their functions merged into other councils.

According to a report in Yediot Achronot last week, the Rabbinate botei din will be transferred to the Justice Ministry, the National Center for the Development of Holy Sites will be transferred to the Tourism Ministry and the Department for Non-Jewish Religious Communities will be transferred to the Interior Ministry. Prime Ministerial spokesmen say that to transfer these departments there is no need to change the legislation and that an announcement by the Prime Minister will suffice.

Another plan calls for the setup of 25 regional councils for religious services to replace the 134 local religious councils currently in operation. The immediately closure of 67 religious councils is designed to fire hundreds of employees who are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed and to strike a blow at religious services across the country.

The current scheme to dismantle the Religious Ministry is a result of the coalition agreement between the Likud Prime Minister and members of the Shinui Party who demanded the Ministry be dismantled within ten months from the time the government was set up. Last week MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said the government clearly intends to dismantle everything related to religion and tradition and make it vanish without a trace. "We, the religious parties, should have improved the efficiency of the apparatuses that provide religious services when we had the power and when we were an integral part of the coalition. Unfortunately we did not do this and today we must fight with all our strength against all of the various attempts to alter this situation. Had we done this [the dismantling of the religious councils] with intention of improving the efficiency of religious services, it would have been positive. But when this is done as part of a desire to reduce religious serves and deliver a serious blow in all of these areas, we must fight with all our strength to prevent it."

Rabbi Gafni added, "The very fact that there is a desire to transfer the botei din to the Justice Ministry is evidence of secular attempts to take control of the botei din. When a plan to transfer the botei din from the Religious Affairs Ministry was originally discussed the idea was that it would be an independent unit like the Chief Rabbinate and not that it would be subordinate to a secular Justice Minister like Tommi Lapid."


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.