Court Gives the Go-Ahead for Shabbos Baptism in Ra’anana


ranDespite strong objections from the Ra’anana Rabbanut, the Lod District Court ruled in favor of J-hovah Witnesses to hold a baptism ceremony in the city on Shabbos. The event is set to take place in the city’s MetroWest Sports Center.

Ra’anana Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Peretz Shlita decried the court’s decision, calling the baptism ceremony a “missionary event” and accusing the court of failing to take the religious sensitivities of the city’s residents into account.

Rabbi Peretz told Kol Berama Radio on Thursday night 11 Iyar that he spoke with Mayor Ze’ev Bielski that he must use the full authority of his office to combat the planned event and if he does not, he [the rabbi] will be forced to step down. The mayor reportedly told the rav he is on his side and would work to stop the event.

The baptism was originally set to take place in Holon about two months ago but it was prevented by Yad L’Achim by contacting city officials and the latter acted to cancel the event. Yad L’Achim learned it was to be held in the Yad L’Banim Center built in memory of fallen IDF soldiers. Yad L’Achim claimed that the program included the baptism of Jews.

Ra’anana City Hall appealed to the Supreme Court in the hope of overturning the district court’s decision. The court’s decision is expected before Shabbos.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. baptism is part of a religious exercise and any person who holds a sincerely held belief in that religion should be able to go ahead and do it, no?

  2. If it were a mere religious exercise for Christians to bring their newborn children into the faith of their parents, it would be conducted in a Church on a Sunday and nobody has a problem with that.
    This ceremony is a provocative incitement against all that is sacred to Jews, by baptising Jews on Shabbos in a very public domain.

    Chilling reminder of Spain, not so long ago.