Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bill In Israel's Knesset Encouraging Female Muslim Judges Draws Orthodox Jewish Opposition

While it is well known that Israel has a system of Jewish religious courts, it is sometimes overlooked that the country also has a system of religious courts for over a dozen other religious communities.  These religious courts deal with personal status family law matters of Israelis who are members of those religious groups. (Background.) Times of Israel reported yesterday on a bill proposed by three members of the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) that would require those appointing judges to Muslim religious courts to include at least one woman on the list of nominees and encourage in other ways election of women to Muslim courts. The bill has the backing of the important Ministerial Committee of Legislation.  However under the coalition agreement between the parties in Prime Minister Netanyahu's government, the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party has a veto over legislation on religion-state matters.  A party spokesman said it was planning to exercise the veto here because it fears the bill could set a precedent for Jewish religious judges which, under Orthodox Jewish law, are only male.