Israeli minister favors Orthodox exclusivity


(JTA) — Israel’s Religious Affairs Minister said non-Orthodox Jewish streams should not receive state funds.

Ya’acov Margi of the Orthodox Shas party said Wednesday that if the Reform and Conservative movements want to build religious facilities in Israel, they should do so with privately raised funds.

“I recommend to those organizations that do not want to accept [Orthodox] halacha to build their own mikvaot and their own synagogues according to their own halacha,” Margi told the Jerusalem Post.

Under Israeli law, only the Orthodox chief rabbinate is recognized by the state. The non-Orthodox movements, which are dominant in the United States, have long sought to reverse that exclusivity with appeals to Israel’s supreme court. The court has handed down several decisions in favor of the non-Orthodox.

Margi said that if the Reform and Conservative movements wanted to see the law changed, they should pursue that goal democratically, through the Knesset, rather than through the courts.

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