Israeli court frees writer of religious status


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli writer Yoram Kaniuk can be listed as "without religion" in the country’s population registry, as he requested, a Tel Aviv court ruled.

District Court Judge Gideon Ginat in his ruling of Sept. 28, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, granted the request by Kaniuk to change his religious status from Jewish, Haaretz reported Sunday. Kaniuk, 81, who is married to a Christian-American woman, had made the request in May.

Ginat said that Kaniuk had the right to freedom from religion, as protected by the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom; the Basic Law functions as a kind of constitution in Israel.

"This is a ruling of historic proportions," Kaniuk told Haaretz. "The court granted legitimacy to every person to live by their conscience in this land, in ruling that human dignity and freedom means a person can determine their own identity and definition. In this way I can be without religion but Jewish by nationality. I am so thrilled."

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