Historic Victory for Jewish Pluralism in Israel

November 24, 2016 22:51

This week marks a very important moment for Progressive Judaism and the cause of Jewish pluralism in Israel. On Tuesday 19th May the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) won a precedent-setting case in the Israeli Supreme Court which says that the State has to provide equal funding for Reform and Conservative conversion classes.

The case itself may seem inconsequential but the implications are huge. This is the first time that the Court has declared that government funding must be provided to non-Orthodox Jewish religious services in Israel.

The verdict was amazing, going well beyond the issue of funding for conversion classes, and addressing the core issue of religious freedom in Israel. The three judge panel, including Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, found the State’s practice of favouring only one Jewish stream discriminatory and contradictory to the their responsibility to ensure freedom of religion, ruling "The duty of the State to pluralism is not only a passive duty, but an active one as well." They also sited their previous ruling (Naamat and IRAC in 2002) that "Jews in Israel cannot be seen as only one religious sect."

Anat Hoffman of IRAC said: "It is a hot day in Israel but we all have goose-bumps." Writing to Head of the Movement Rabbi Dr. Tony Bayfield she added: "Most importantly, thank you for your friendship, support and unwavering commitment to Jewish pluralism in Israel that has certainly helped us to win this victory today."

November 24, 2016 22:51

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