Justice minister submits bill giving rabbis more power

Sunday, March 18, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann is to submit a bill to the Minister Committee on Legislation on Sunday, extending power to the rabbinic courts. The bill calls for giving authority to the rabbis not only for family related matters, but also concerning civil and financial matters.

Some groups, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and the Reform Movement's Israel Religious Action Center, say it violates the status quo between religion and the state.

The bill is the product of collaboration between the Justice Ministry and the rabbinic courts. It was prompted by an April 2006 ruling when the High Court of Justice said the rabbinic courts could not decide on financial disagreements.

The drafted law gives the rabbinical court full authority pertaining to divorce matters. The courts would have authority pertaining to civil matters, which include, “any matter that is not criminal, administrative or within the jurisdiction of the [state] courts.”

The law gives women almost no rights and full authority to their husbands and the courts even concerning personal finances.

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