Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Israel to pay salaries of Reform, Masorti rabbis

    Non-Orthodox communities in Israel were celebrating a victory this week after a landmark decision requiring the state to provide the same financial assistance to Reform and Masorti religious leaders as it does to Orthodox ones.

    The disproportionate privileges enjoyed by the Orthodox religious establishment in Israel have long been a source of resentment, but the attorney general has now announced a change in the rules.

    The state will now be expected to recognise rabbis from denominations other than Orthodoxy and pay the salaries of those who serve communities. It will only apply to rabbis serving regional councils and farming communities – at least 15 rabbis so far.

    Until now, non-Orthodox rabbis were paid for by membership fees, but the around 4,000 Orthodox rabbis enjoyed state funding. The non-Orthodox rabbis, who will come under the title "community leaders", will not have any influence over matters of halachah.

    The change has come about seven years after Reform Rabbi Miri Gold filed a petition in Israel's Supreme Court.

    Although the money will come not from the Ministry for Religious Services but from the Culture Ministry, the decision was still welcomed as "an important breakthrough in the efforts to advance freedom of religion in Israel" by the head of Israel's Reform movement, Rabbi Gilad Kariv.

    Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, of the Conservative Movement Rabbinical Assembly executive, compared the decision to man landing on the moon.

    "In the Israeli context - a giant leap for the Jewish people," she told Globes. "This is the beginning of the end of the Orthodox monopoly on Israelis' lives."

    "This historic victory is another step in levelling the playing field," said Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Centre.

Israel

Israel on fire: Counting cost of a nationwide i...

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel on fire: Counting cost of a nationwide i...
Israel

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk
Israel

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective

Nathan Jeffay

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective
Israel

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...

Orlando Radice

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...
Israel

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...

JC Reporter

Friday, November 25, 2016

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...
Israel

Bibi faces probe over subs deal

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bibi faces probe over subs deal
Israel

Meet the rabbi that's making waves

Tim Marshall

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meet the rabbi that's making waves
Israel

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...

JC Reporter

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...
Israel

Israeli rabbis, Hamas founder call for peace

Nathan Jeffay

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Israeli rabbis, Hamas founder call for peace