Story and image courtesy The Times of Israel
Putting an end to an eight-year battle, four non-Orthodox communal rabbis of the Reform Movement were finally paid salaries at by Israel’s Culture and Sport Ministry recently in accordance with a court order dated June 2012.
Though there were initial reports of the four rabbis being paid by the Religious Services Ministry, the latter clarified that the budget for Reform rabbis comes solely through the Culture Ministry.
Back in 2005, a lawsuit was filed by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) against the State of Israel. American-born Rabbi Miri Gold was at the forefront of this step. IRAC won the suit as the court directed the government to pay the quartet’s salaries towards parity in title and payment with their Orthodox brethren.
However, intense objections by the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox leaderships and a sluggish bureaucracy had held up the payment all this while. In 2012, former Sephardic chief rabbi Shlomo Amar, told an ultra-Orthodox radio station that in writing the historic 2012 mandate, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein made a “reckless” decision, which could ”uproot all the foundations of the Torah.”