Written by Tamara Symonds
Women May Soon Select Religious Judges
New legislation recently passed by the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs means women may soon have a say in the selection of religious judges (dayanim). Proposed by MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and MK Shuli Mualem (Jewish Home), the legislation reserves three places for women on the selection committee for the judges. MK Lavie called the bill "another step towards returning Judaism to Israelis." There will be eleven members on the committee, one of whom will be a female rabbinical court advocate.
The Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court (Source – Wikimedia Commons)
The rabbinical courts are responsible for all personal status issues for Jews in Israel. Currently, only male dayanim are allowed to serve on this committee.
This breakthrough follows an intensive period of lobbying by the NIF-founded International Coalition for Agunah Rights (ICAR), which includes 24 organizations devoted to solving the problem of agunot (women whose husbands won’t grant them a religious divorce).
Robyn Shames, ICAR Executive Director, said: "This is a first and important step in the inclusion of women and their influence on the system of the rabbinical courts in Israel, which is currently controlled only by men. We hope that the government and the Knesset will succeed in fixing the injustice of the unequal representation of women in this committee before new rabbinical court judges are appointed."