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Municipality Snubs High Court by Rejecting Council Nominees

Ignoring a ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice, the Jerusalem municipality has again voted against appointing Reform and Conservative rabbis to its local religious council.

In a vote taken last week, the council voted 17 to 8 against the appointments.

The secularist Meretz Party and officials from the Reform movement said they planned to petition the High Court this week against the municipality’s vote.

In January, the High Court reaffirmed an earlier ruling that local religious councils cannot bar candidates from non-Orthodox denominations solely on the basis of their religious affiliation.

In its ruling at the time, the court rejected the Jerusalem municipality’s decision not to appoint Reform and Conservative rabbis to its council.

The rabbis were to serve as representatives for the left-wing Meretz faction in the municipality.

The court were to serve as representatives for the left-wing Meretz faction in the municipality.

The court gave the municipality 60 days to hold another vote.

The council was asked to choose two Meretz representatives from four candidates – two of them Reform rabbis, two Conservative.

The local religious councils, supervised by the Religious Affairs Ministry, have exclusive jurisdiction over marriage, kashrut, burial and other religious matters for all Jews living in Israel.

The services provided by the councils are rendered according to Orthodox practice regardless of the affiliation or religious customs of the individual receiving the service.

Forty-five percent of each religious council is appointed by the local municipal council, with another 45 percent appointed by the religious affairs minister and 10 percent by the local rabbinate.

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