(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A liberal religious Zionist organization is asking the High Court of Justice to
put a freeze on the process of electing a chief rabbi for Jerusalem until the
regulations governing the process are altered to better represent the public and
prevent political deals.
Ne’emanei Torah Ve’avoda on Monday filed a
petition asking the court to basically reduce the weight of the religious
services minister in the process.
In a city like Jerusalem, the rabbis
are elected by a body composed of 48 people – 24 representatives of synagogues,
18 from the city council, and another six who represent the religious services
minister. The petition is asking to change the regulation, set forth in 2007, to
the effect that either the number of synagogue representatives, or of city
council members, be increased.
A spokesman for the organization explained
that, in the current situation, it is much easier for the minister to have a say
over which synagogues take part in the election process.
The process to
elect city rabbis for Jerusalem was recently relaunched, after a petition by
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat against the Religious Services Ministry put a halt to
a previous process. The city has had no chief rabbi since 2002.
a city rabbi should enable the public to choose a suitable leader in a
democratic process, and a fair, open and egalitarian vote without political
control and the creation of mechanisms leading to manipulations,” the
“This is yet another piece of proof of the urgent need
to free Judaism from the grasp of the political establishment, and of the vital
need to democratize religious services.”