November 23, 2011
Picks for rabbinical judges’ panel riles Israeli women’s groups
Women’s and human rights groups in Israel criticized the Israel Bar Association’s decision not to appoint any women to a committee that appoints rabbinical judges.
In its selections Tuesday for the Appointments Committee for Rabbinical Judges, the bar association for the first time in 12 years did not have any female representatives on the panel picking rabbinical judges, or dayanim.
The committee elects judges to the country’s 12 regional rabbinical courts, which are responsible for matters including divorce.
The appointment of two males to the committee reportedly came about as part of a political deal struck with the bar association’s haredi Orthodox faction despite a written promise from Yuri Geiron, the head of the bar association’s largest internal faction, to the International Coalition for Agunah Rights to appoint a woman to replace the woman who was being rotated off the committee, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“The lack of female representation deepens the outrageous [religious and gender] imbalance that exists on the committee, which also includes only three non-haredi members,” Batya Kehane, director of the women’s divorce rights organization Mavoi Satum, told The Jerusalem Post. “The rabbinical courts are a state institution which are supposed to serve the general public.”