Reform, Conservative rabbis set to receive funding through Culture Ministry

New arrangement will release Shas-run Religious Services Ministry from responsibility for paying salaries of non-Orthodox rabbis

Reform Rabbi Jalena Rubinstein reading from the Torah in 2003. (photo credit: Flash90)
Reform Rabbi Jalena Rubinstein reading from the Torah in 2003. (photo credit: Flash90)

A day after Religious Services Minister Ya’akov Margi threatened to resign if forced to pay the salaries of non-Orthodox rabbis, Channel 10 revealed a deal to transfer funds for that purpose to the Culture Ministry instead.

With this move, “every link between the ministry and heads of the Reform and Conservative communities has been cut off,” Religious Services Ministry spokesman Daniel Bar was quoted as saying in Wednesday night’s report.

Margi, of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said Tuesday he would seek to resign should the government transfer funds to non-Orthodox movements, and that he would ask permission from Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to quit the government.

In an Army Radio interview on Wednesday morning, Margi blamed Reform Judaism for “centuries of assimilation.” He added that the Reform movement “thinks it is bringing a new spirit to Judaism, but in practice it is an evil spirit.”

His remarks came the day after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein adopted a recommendation that would, for the first time, allow non-Orthodox rabbis serving in municipal posts to receive state funding.

Hillary Zaken and Gabe Fisher contributed to this article

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