A historic moment
First non-Orthodox rabbi recognized by State of Israel
Israel's first non-Orthodox rabbi will be recognized by the State. Rabbi Uri Regev: "time will tell whether the government will actually carry out this new policy in good faith"
Secular women singing and dancing opposite a haredi shabat demonstration in Jerusalem. 23.07.2011. Photograph by: Kobi Gideon, Flash 90.
See Uri Regev's blog post for Ha'aretz, The Miri Gold Case Demystified
Yesterday, in an unprecedented and historic move, Israel’s attorney general announced they are prepared to recognize rabbis of non-Orthodox streams, as well as governmentally fund the salaries of rabbis serving communities just as Orthodox rabbis are. A petition that was made in 2005 by the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, in the name of the Reform community at Kibbutz Gezer and Rabbi Miri Gold, who demanded equal financing of non-Orthodox religious services to those of the Orthodox via the municipal authority.
These rabbis will be considered “community leaders” and funded through the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as opposed to the Ministry of Religious Services which funds Orthodox rabbis.
While celebrating among the liberal movements and many members of Knesset was in order, others took the decision as a big blow. Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi swore to resign his post if he is forced to pay the salaries of these rabbis. Margi spoke further saying "the Reform movement is guilty of hundreds of years of assimilation." of
Rabbi Regev: It’s time for the leaders of Israel's civil parties and Diaspora leadership understand that it's long overdue for Israel to to embrace, clear and simple, the core values of religious freedom and equality
In response to Margi’s incendiary statements, President of Hiddush, Rabbi Uri Regev, told Yisrael HaYom that "Only in the Israeli reality can a Minister of Religion announce he will continue to oppose the law and the attorney-general's instructions." In addition, Rabbi Regev told Ha’aretz that "It is regretful that it took years for the attorney generals to recognize the state's obligation to act in the spirit of equality."
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union of Reform Judaism, wrote in Ha’aretz “The Reform Movement, both in Israel and around the world, feels a deep commitment to Israel. But that commitment will be hard to maintain if we are not equal in Israel...It has always been a puzzle to our members that in a state that lives in our heart and in our lives, we, as Reform Jews, are considered second-class citizens at best. Now, thanks to Rabbi Miri Gold...we have begun a new era.”
In Rabbi Regev’s words, “In this historic moment, time will tell whether the government will actually carry out this new policy in good faith, or put further obstacles on the road to implementation. It’s time for the leaders of Israel's civil parties and Diaspora leadership understand that it's long overdue for Israel to to embrace, clear and simple, the core values of religious freedom and equality.”