Bar-Ilan University’s Rackman Center for the Advancement of Women petitioned the High Court of Justice with regard to Section 7 (8) of the Chief Rabbinate Law which provides for the appointment of “ten rabbis” to the committee that elects chief rabbis, requesting that female Halachic scholars will also be appointed under the Section.
The Center’s lawyers proved that about 30% of those appointed under this Section in the past in fact lacked ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. In some cases, these were privately ordained rabbis. The petition argues that there are also women who have been ordained in this way following many years of study in Halacha programs at various high Torah-learning institutions. Preventing the appointment of these women constitutes illegal gender discrimination.
The Rackman Center was represented by Attorney Keren Horowitz and Attorney Shay Zilberberg.
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Academic Director of the Rackman Center:
“In recent months, we have witnessed an alarming process of removing women from positions of influence in the public arena, to the point of almost complete erosion of women from public office. In light of this the Court’s decision is particularly significant, and we hope that foresees the final outcome of the proceedings. We call upon the Court to amend this disgraceful situation in which women have almost no representation on the Committee and we demand that a fundamental change is made by the Knesset, the law itself must be changed.
Attorney Keren Horowitz, CEO of the Rackman Center:
“Women should have been included in the election committee years ago. We can no longer accept the religious establishment’s on-going and consistent exclusion of female Halachic scholars from positions of power that impact the lives of the entire Jewish public in Israel.”