Furor after appointment of woman to religious council

The ultra-Orthodox sector in Haifa is in a furor after the recent appointment of a woman to the city's religious council for the first time, reports www.nrg.co.il. Orthodox sources said they had been caused "great sorrow and depression" by the appointment of former city councilor Yaffa Peretz to the religious council, although they said she was a "respectable and good woman" and they had nothing against her personally. According to the report, Peretz is no stranger to controversy in the religious sector. Several years ago, the Orthodox sector refused to form a joint list with the National Religious Party (NRP) when running for council because she was a member of NRP and because of her stance in favor of more women joining the party. Until this point, the haredi sector has been able to ensure that only men serve on the religious council. The source said a "political situation" had been created in which NRP had been able to get a woman onto the religious council, and if the ultra-Orthodox had more power they would have prevented this. Peretz herself said she would work to increase the involvement of women in the religious life of the city, saying she wanted more women to attend prayers in synagogues and study Torah in groups with other women, as well as for them to take more active roles in synagogue committees and in their communities.