Minister of Justice and now also of Religious Affairs Yossi
Beilin has formulated a detailed plan to dismantle the
Religious Affairs Ministry.
Beilin claims that many of the activities of the Ministry of
Religious Affairs overlap those of other ministries,
resulting in double financial support. "For example, yeshivos
also receive support from the Education Ministry; the
building of mikvo'os, by the Housing Ministry. This
calls for considerable, intricate coordination between the
Interior Ministry, the Housing Ministry and the Religious
Affairs Ministry," notes Beilin.
Minister Beilin proposes a two stage plan for the rapid
dismantling of the Religious Affairs Ministry and transfer of
its departments to other ministries:
The department for institutions and organizations will be
transferred to the Education Ministry in the first stage.
Minimum income insurance for yeshiva talmidim will be
transferred to the National Insurance Institute (Bituach
Leumi.) The Information Branch will first be transferred
to the Culture Ministry, and will later be absorbed by
existing units in the Culture Ministry. Rabbinical courts and
the courts of the Shiite and Druse communities will first be
transferred to the Justice Ministry. In the second stage,
joint administration of the various courts in order to
improve efficiency and save operating costs will be
The Nationwide Center for the Development of Sacred Sites
will be transferred at the first stage to the Office of the
Prime Minster or to the Interior Ministry. At a second stage,
the possibility of expanding the Center's activities to
include sites important to other religions will be
The Chief Rabbinate will be initially transferred to the
Interior Ministry. In the second stage, it is suggested that
efforts be made to replace the two chief rabbis with one.
According to the proposal, the same procedure will pertain to
the chief rabbis of the cities and other local
The Branch of the Religious Councils: In the first stage the
construction issues of the following departments will be
transferred to the Housing Ministry: the Department for the
Development of Religious Structures, Mikvo'os and
Eruvim, and the Synagogue Department, and the
construction issues of the Religious Services Department will
be transferred to the Interior Ministry. It is recommended
that the Department for Burial Services and the Rabbinate
Department be transferred to the Interior Ministry. In the
second stage, the Rabbinate Department will be divided into
two: Settlement rabbis and marriage registration.
Concomitantly, Minister Beilin notes in his proposal that a
suggestion has been made to consider a law proposed by Rabbi
Moshe Gafni, according to which the religious councils will
be replaced by a Jewish Religious Service Authority. This
authority will concentrate on the building, development and
maintenance of religious services in conjunction with the
chief rabbis and the municipal rabbis.
A ministerial committee will be established to facilitate
transfer of the departments to the appropriate government
ministries, to work along with a unit in the Office of the
Prime Minster for control, supervision and inter-religion
cooperation. It will be headed by a senior administrator from
the Religious Affairs Ministry.
In response to Beilin's proposal, Rabbi Gafni said: "I favor
dismantle of the Religious Affairs Ministry. But the
initiative as well as particulars of the transfer must be
determined by the chareidi representatives, so that religious
services in the state won't be adversely affected."