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Tags: Israel Women High Court

Jewish Women Want Right to Lead Rabbinical Court

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 01:44 PM EDT

Women and social advocacy groups filed on Wednesday a petition to Israels High Court of Justice against Justice Minister Yaacov Neeman, demanding that he clarify why a woman wouldn't be enabled to vie for the position of director of the rabbinical courts.

Alternatively, the petition in the name of The Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women at the Bar Ilan University, Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), Kolech Forum and other groups, calls on the minister to determine that the law's wording, which currently does not enable a woman to apply for the job, is not constitutional and against women's rights.

The petitioners also request of the court to order appropriate representation for women in the advisory committee to appoint the rabbinical courts, that was formed by Neeman.

In June, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan's cadency as head of the rabbinical courts, which he held for some 20 years, was brought to an end following the implementation of recently instated government regulations, which set time limitations on the tenure of public officials.

The petition came after the rabbinical court administration published a tender over the weekend for the position, conditioning the applications to a person who can be appointed to a rabbinical judge or city rabbi.

Women cannot fill either of the roles, and this legal condition creates inherent discrimination against women, according to the petition.

Two women have already expressed their will to vie for the position.

Attorney Ricky Shapira-Rosenberg of IRAC stressed that their petition is a direct continuation to the High Court ruling of 1987, which determined that there is no halachic limitation to a woman serving in a religious council, since the nature of such work is largely administrative.

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Israel Women High Court
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 01:44 PM
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