Settler leaders expressed alarm Monday at a decision by the Rabbinate to reduce operating hours at the Ariel Rabbinical Court to just two days per week, warning that the move would severely impact the lives of religious settlers.
Residents of the Judea and Samaria regions, two-thirds of whom are national religious and Haredi, are serviced only by the rabbinical court in the West Bank city of Ariel.
The court provides services on family law, property disputes, wills, inheritance and more to tens of thousands of settlers.
Judea and Samaria abandoned?
"Reducing the activities of the court and stopping service to the region will leave the region of Judea and Samaria without this state religious institution," wrote seven officials from Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley in a letter to Chief Rabbi David Lau and director-general of the Rabbinical courts, Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan.
"The State of Israel cannot act in a way that closes one of its symbols from the heart of the land. This is a step that may be interpreted as a violation of the sovereignty of the State of Israel in relation to the status of the region and in relation to its residents."