Religious Services Minister orders establishment of religious council.
By JONAH MANDEL
The “total disregard” of the religious needs of Modi’in Illit’s Sephardi residents has prompted Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi to order the establishment of a religious council in the city.Ya’acov Guterman, mayor of the haredi city, was informed of Margi’s decision by the ministry’s directorgeneral, Avigdor Ohana, on Sunday.A statement issued that day by the ministry named Guterman as the figure ignoring “the Sephardi population’s religious needs” and gave the municipality nearly two months to present the names of its candidates for the new body.Sources in the ministry say that Sephardi residents seeking funding for Torah-related activity in the city “run into a brick wall.”The statement points out that Margi’s decision is in accordance with the law for Jewish religious services.Most cities have a religious council that regulates and provides religious services, but in some locales – such as Modi’in Illit – those services are provided by the municipality itself.Guterman, who stands to lose significant clout in Modi’in Illit, slammed Margi for his decision “to create unnecessary positions in the city.”AdvertisementSpeaking on Radio Kol Hai Sunday evening, the mayor asserted that his city’s religious services budget goes solely to religious services.Forming a religious council, he said, “would funnel the money to honorary positions and unnecessary posts.”Guterman maintained that currently nobody has any problem getting the needed funding for religious activities in his city.
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