A petition filed with Israel’s Supreme Court on behalf of a number of organizations has resulted in preventing the appointment of attorney Shimon Yaakobi to replace Dayan Dichovsky as director-general of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel batei din nationwide. The petition, representing Na’amat, Mavoi Satum, and WIZO asked the court to issue a temporary injunction blocking the appointment in the hope of placing a woman in the post. The temporary injunction was issued and the court will now hear the case.
Na’amat counsel attorney Gali Etzion explained to the media that the Ministry of Religious Services tried an underhanded move to appoint someone to replace Dichovsky, who is scheduled to step down in August but their petition to the court has prevented this as they wish to give a qualified woman the opportunity to compete for the slot.
Attorney Batya Kahana-Dror of Mavoi Satum called on the court to act as it did in the case of Alice Miller [who broke the IAF gender barrier, becoming the first woman to enter the IAF pilot training program].
Chairperson of WIZO Israel, Gila Oshrat also made the comparison to Alice Miller, expecting the court to rule in a similar fashion to open the door to women in the nation’s batei din system. “It is inconceivable that a public role is blocked to women, especially a role controlling all aspects of personal status and affects the lives of so many women and children in Israel. The presence of women in the rabbinical courts constitute a proper balance regarding the injustice that exists today in the rabbinical court system that excludes women and will ensure the status and rights of women”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)