Israel announces it will fund non-Orthodox rabbis for 1st time

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, June 3 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

JERUSALEM — Israel's attorney general has announced that non-Orthodox rabbis serving their communities will receive state funding for the first time.

Up to now, the state has recognized and supported only Orthodox rabbis, leaving the more liberal clergy and their congregations without state funding.

The decision was in response to a 2005 appeal by the Reform movement for one of its rabbis, Miri Gold. She welcomed the decision in an interview on Army Radio Tuesday.

"This is a historic move of justice in our country," she said.

The Justice Ministry said religious councils could employ liberal rabbis, but they would be called "community leaders," not rabbis.

Unlike in North America, the two liberal streams of Judaism in Israel are tiny compared to the stricter Orthodox.

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