Women’s participation in the Chief Rabbi Election Assembly

The Rackman Center drafted a proposal to amend the Law of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel (Amendment – Composition of the Electoral Assembly). The proposal was submitted by MK Mati Sarfati Harkabi, who was joined by other Knesset members.

In the last elections for the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel that were held in 2018, only 10% of the 150 members of the Electoral Assembly were women. It is time that more women sit on the assembly that elects Israel’s chief rabbis.

Now that the date for electing the Chief Rabbis has been postponed to April 2024, there is enough time to correct the existing situation, change the structure of the Electoral Assembly and make it more equal.

The Assembly includes fellow rabbis and public representatives. Out of the rabbis, 10 are appointed to the assembly by the Chief Rabbis of Israel. We propose that at least five of them be women scholars of Halacha, or nashot halacha.

We also propose that certain spots among the public representatives be reserved for women. Specifically, positions for heads of councils can be reserved for women and if there are not enough women, then deputy heads of councils or female council members will also be appointed. Of the public representative spots for general positions such as Knesset members or ministers – at least half will be women.

Further, we propose changing the section that deals with the appointment of “public figures” to “public women” (10 representatives) and the addition of representatives from women’s organizations.

The time has come for women to take an equal part in decision-making centers in Israel, including in the religious establishment.

To read the bill, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Bill (Amendment – Composition of the Electoral Assembly), 2023-2023.



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