The Rackman Center congratulates Deputy Minister of Religions Matan Kahana for publishing the Regulations for Jewish Religious Services (Electing Municipal Rabbis) 5782-2022.
In particular, we are encouraged by its inclusion and legitimization, for the first time in legislation, of appointing women as members of the assembly that elects the head rabbis of Israel’s municipalities. Further, it stipulates that at least 40% of the assembly members shall be women.
In recent years, we have persistently advocated for the adequate representation of women in the bodies that elect Israel’s head rabbis. Already in 2018, in the ruling given in the petition we submitted to the High Court of Justice on this matter, Judge Solberg was of the opinion that, “Our work will not be complete if we do not recognize the need to diligently identify a fair legislative framework that will ensure the adequate representation of women in the Electoral Assembly, knowing that there are many talented women among us working in religion and with Halacha, for their benefit, for the benefit of their gender and for the public as a whole.”
Israel’s chief rabbis and municipal rabbis are entrusted with issues that affect women’s lives such as the religious courts, mikvahs and conversions. This only emphasizes the importance of women’s presence on the body that elects them.
We hope that the new regulations are only the start of additional legislative changes to come that will further uphold Israel’s Equal Rights Law and the principle of equality. These are of great importance now as the elections for the Chief Rabbis and the Chief Rabbinate Council are scheduled for next year.