Ben Gurion Heads Cabinet Body Probing Rabbinic Ban in Israel

The Israel Cabinet named a special committee today to investigate the refusal of the rabbinate to permit the burial of a five-year-old boy of a recent immigrant couple in a Jewish cemetery because he had not been circumcized. The incident, involving a child of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, has created a storm throughout Israel.

The problem is actually much wider than the issue of burial, since it raises the entire sensitive question of rabbinic jurisdiction over personal matters. At present, the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel has exclusive jurisdiction over marriages, divorces, inheritance, etc. This has been the subject of considerable protest in liberal circles.

A great deal of importance is attached to the Cabinet committee because it is headed by Premier David Ben Gurion. It also includes the Minister of Religious Affairs as a representative of the religious parties in the government and the Minister of Interior who represents the leftists in the Cabinet.

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