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Ethiopian Kessim Reach Accord

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Ethiopian religious leaders won a pledge for fuller recognition this week and agreed to end a two-week strike outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

The kessim agreed to a compromise proposal under which they will undergo a study program of up to a year, at the end of which they will be legally entitled to perform marriages and divorces.

The course of study is to be drawn up by a committee representing the kessim, the Chief Rabbinate and the government.

The compromise was put together by Tourism Minister Uzi Baram, Immigrant Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban, the Chief Rabbinate and the striking kessim.

It stipulates that the committee will study official status for the kessim as “religious leaders” to be paid by the state and their inclusion in religious councils in areas with large concentrations of Ethiopian immigrants.

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