First publication:
Intrusive infiltration at Safed religious council

Strange incident in Safed religious council involving well-known feminist lawyer and rudely curious photographer.

Hezki Baruch & Gil Ronen,

Flash 90

This is a strange story about uninvited guests who appeared at the offices of the Safed religious council, leaving behind a cloud of unresolved questions and a sense of hostile penetration, or at least a rude visit.

The team consisted of three people: one, a well-known lawyer, identified with an Orthodox feminist organization considered a flagship organization of the New Israel Fund, the second a video photographer and the third, a man who allegedly wanted to register for marriage with the lawyer's accompaniment.

The three appeared at the marriage registrar in Safed about two months ago.

The guests began asking questions about how the registrar worked. At a certain stage they focused on Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and sought to know everything possible about his activities and his involvement in registrar work.

The photographer filmed the entire time. At one point she began to wander through the office corridors and photograph workers at work.

However, one of the workers identified the lawyer and warned the registrar. The registrar demanded that the team not use the photographs, and the team was compelled to agree to that.

The strange story raises questions. What was the feminist organization looking for in the corridors of Safed's religious council? Why were they interested in Rabbi Eliyahu? For what documentary - or other purpose - are the photographs intended? The questions remain unanswered, as of now. And religious council employees were advised to watch out for mysterious cameras...

The Religious Services Ministry said, "Thanks to Arutz Sheva's inquiry, a regrettable picture emerges that this is not an incident limited to Safed, but rather similar incidents are taking place in a number of religious councils with the aim of attacking religious service providers. The Ministry makes it clear it turned to the religious council in Safed asking for the security videos to examine whether a criminal offense was committed. The Ministry will not accept the injury of religious council officials and a sitting Chief Rabbi who are civil servants for all intents and purposes.

"The Religious Services Ministry views with great severity attempts to harm or gather information against Rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu or other rabbis. The Ministry is considering its steps, including filing a criminal complaint with the police."