Wednesday, May 30, 2012
In September 2005, the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the legal and public arm of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, submitted a petition on behalf of Congregation Birkat Shalomn, Kibbutz Gezer, and Rabbi Miri Gold herself. This petition called for equal funding of religious services regardless of movement affiliation.
In June 2009, the High Court sent the parties into mediation in order to have a dialogue on how best to satisfy the funding requirements of non-Orthodox rabbis. The negotiations failed and the issue returned to the High Court. A hearing was held on May 5, 2012 to discus the term “non-Orthodox rabbi” and it was requested that the state reconsider its position. The Court gave the State 14 days to change their position and support funding non-Orthodox rabbis in the same manner as their Orthodox counterparts. Earlier today, the State accepted the proposal and informed the Court that they will give equal funding to non-Orthodox rabbis.
This historic, precedent-setting accomplishment goes a long way towards creating real equality for all Jews. The Supreme Court should give a decision on the petition soon.
The Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism said: "the agreement of the State to fund the activities of Reform rabbis in regional councils, and acknowledging them as rabbis is a major breakthrough in the effort to promote freedom of religion in Israel and is truly welcome news for hundreds of thousands of Israelis who enjoy the services of reform and conservative rabbis in Israel. This is the first step, but a significant one towards equalizing all Jewish streams in Israel, and we hope that the State will fulfill its court obligations, as stated. We expect that this will lead to further steps that will eventually cancel the deep discrimination towards the non-Orthodox streams in Israel."