Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) has responded to calls from women's and rabbinical organizations to appoint Zionist religious judges and not to "give in" after the haredi parties used a veto in the committee for appointing judges.
"I have received many appeals from various organizations asking me not to help disqualify Zionist religious judges. I understand the concern and hope that all the appellants and the critics could ensure that half of the appointed judges are Zionists, as I have done in my role," said Shaked.
She explained that she will not allow anyone to be disqualified and that she does not need lectures on the issue. "I would like to know, for example, where all the people crying out were before now, when we appointed Rabbi Igra to the Supreme Religious Court after decades in which no religious Zionists were put on the court. There are those who speak and there are those who take action."
On Thursday night, the religious organization Tzohar's council asked Shaked to appoint quality judges to the rabbinical courts and not to limit the candidates according to the haredi parties' demands.
The council, which is made up of more than 40 religious Zionist rabbis, wrote to Shaked that "The Committee for Appointing Rabbinic Judges is expected to meet soon in order to appoint the most fitting judges to the Supreme Religious Court and regional courts. We believe that you are aware of the weight of responsibility that has been placed on your shoulders at this time."
According to the rabbis, the Israeli society is crying out for a rabbinical court system that will, in their words, sanctify God's name in public and not cause the opposite effect.
"The immediate need is for judges who will be appointed according to their abilities and good qualities, and not according to the ability to please political interests from various groups," they added.
The letter emphasized the importance of appointing qualified judges. "There shouldn't even be the possibility that a particular group could disqualify national religious scholars whose only sin is their that they serve on government courts or that they want to ease the suffering of women whose husbands refuse to grant them divorces."