Groundbreaking Court Ruling on Rabbinical Courts

14 January 2016

In a groundbreaking ruling, the High Court has ruled that women can apply to be staff directors of rabbinical courts. This follows a petition by NIF grantee Mavoi Satum and women’s rights groups Na’amat and WIZO. In August 2014, Mavoi Satum director Batya Kehana-Dror submitted an application for the position of rabbinical court director, but was rejected because she had not previously served as a rabbinical court judge or as a municipal chief rabbi – two positions that are still closed to women. The High Court has now voided this decision.

The court recommended that the rabbinical courts immediately begin integrating women into other senior positions, and gave the state 30 days to draw up new criteria for the position.

Kehana-Dror said: “After many years of discrimination and the prevention of women from taking up administrative roles in the rabbinical courts, which are responsible for the women who come to their gates, the High Court of Justice ruled that they are of equal value. The decision is a message to women that they can and must struggle for their rights and not to capitulate to discrimination.”

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