JERUSALEM (Jun. 15)
The High Court of Justice ruled this week that the Ministry of Religious Affairs must allocate grants to the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel.
The ruling came down Tuesday following a petition filed before the court by the two movements alleging that they suffered discrimination at the hands of the Religious Affairs Ministry, which they said has provided grants only to Orthodox organizations.
At stake in the ruling were sums in excess of some $300,000, which must now be distributed to the Conservative and Reform movements.
The Reform and Conservative movements run thriving congregations in different parts of the country and organize training programs for rabbis from abroad, who often must study in Israel before qualifying for leadership positions.
Rabbi Ehud Bandel, a spokesman for the Conservative movement, described the court ruling as “a big step forward in the direction of religious pluralism in Israel, especially at a time when (the Sephardic Orthodox party) Shas is trying to anchor the discriminatory status quo in religious matters in legislation.”