Chief Rabbi Metzger issued an urgent demand to PM Ehud Olmert
and Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson to cancel the
paragraph in the 2007 Arrangements Law that would eliminate
the religious councils (moatzot dat) and transfer
religious services directly to the local authorities.
In his letter the Chief Rabbi said that experience shows even
under the present circumstances in which the local
authorities are responsible for funding just 40 percent of
religious services, many local authorities have been slow to
transfer their share and often their participation in funding
religious services is the first paragraph to be affected by
the need for budget cuts.
"This state of affairs has brought religious services in many
cities and communities to the brink of total collapse and
essential services such as burial, marriage and mikvehs is
only made possible in these locations through budget
allocations from the Prime Minister's Office," wrote Rabbi
Metzger. "Transferring full budgeting responsibility to the
local authorities would likely mean the immediate closure and
cancellation of religious services in these communities."
He also said many people are crying out against the current
situation, which is already intolerable, and asked the Prime
Minister and the Finance Minister to prevent further
deterioration by canceling the decision.