Monday morning, 23.2.20, NGOs and politicians met at a conference focused on a new status quo document written by the Israeli Democracy Institute, Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah, Itim, Mavoi Satum, the Center for Women’s Justice, and the Institute for Zionist Strategies. The document addresses issues of religion and state in Israel.
A number of Members of Knesset attended and make remarks at the conference.
Head of Yisrael Beiteinu MK Avigdor Lieberman said:
“We must cancel religious councils. They have turned into branches of the Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) parties. Just as every municipality has a department of culture, they should have a department of religious services. During coalition negotiations, we will demand adopting the 1992 Tzadok Report and placing religious councils under the authority of local municipalities. In addition, the whole topic of public transportation and businesses opening on Shabbat needs to be moved to the authority of local municipalities. Tel Aviv is not Bnei Brak, Eilat is not Elad, Modiin Elite is not Modiin. There is no need to force anyone–Not religiously or secularly. The Ultra Orthodox institution does not represent values or Judaism but rather idolatry and and anti-Jewish values. What is the connection between Judaism and not being allowed to serve in the army or work? Rambam and Rashi worked full time jobs and were no less knowledgeable about the Torah than Litzman or Gafni. The State of Israel is the only state that funds with millions of shekels an education system that prevents children from learning Science, English, and Math. Our condition is that there will not be an educational system that will be funded by the state without teaching a core curriculum”.
MK Hili Tropper (Blue and White):
“The political field needs to go back to proportional representation of the Israeli public. That will fix everything. Today, the political representation of the Ultra-Orthodox are the only ones who care about issues of religion and state, and they build and break apart coalitions based on that. The government that Benny Gantz will form will need to primarily reflect the center-left and the Zionist majority. The majority of Israelis need to shape issues of religion and state. The door is not closed to the Ultra-Orthodox, but they are not our first partners”.
MK Merav Michaeli (Labor-Gesher-Meretz):
“The fact that Israel does not have identical freedom of religion for and does not recognize all types of Judaism is absurd. Secular politicians need to fix their deep ignorance on Halachic (pertaining to Jewish law) issues, so that they can negotiate on the meaningful content in these issues”.