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Status of Karaites in Israel to Be Clarified by Government Body

Israel’s Cabinet voted today to name a special committee, to be headed by Supreme Court Justice Moshe Silberg, to study and clarify the situation of the Karaites in Israel.

The Karaites, an ancient sect, are not recognized by Israel as a separate religious community, and some rabbis in this country will not permit them to marry into the Jewish faith without prior conversion to Judaism, Opinion on this point is divided among the Karaites themselves. Some request that they be regarded as Jews. Others insist on perpetuation of their beliefs and their interpretation of the Jewish religion, which declines to recognize the holiness of the Talmud and the Mishnah.