Rabbi Yaakov Ariel (file)
Rabbi Yaakov Ariel (file)PR photo

Rabbi Ya'akov Ariel, the President of the Hotam Forum, an umbrella group of religious research institutions, is upset over an instruction that forbids municipal level religious courts from settling monetary disputes in accordance with Jewish law.

Rabbi Ariel, who is also the Rabbi of Ramat Gan, recently learned that the instruction was given by the Attorney General.

"The situation is a very grave one," he said. "It is unacceptable that religious bodies have to go to [secular] court to settle disputes, and a religious council cannot operate a court for monetary matters."

"Something is wrong here. Religious law must have a status that is at least equal to regular law, so that a rabbi who has the authority to decide matters in accordance with Torah, will be able to do so."

Rabbi Ariel called on the Minister of Religious Services to stand firm in the face of pressure on the matter.

"The Minister of Religions wrote us in a letter from the Director that we are not allowed to discuss Torah laws. I asked the Minister of Religions – 'who told you to do something like this?' He said, 'I was told by the Attorney General.'"

"This behavior is unbearable from the Minister of Religions, who is supposed to represent the municipal rabbis, will behave this way. He has to stand up for his rights and not allow the AG to enslave him."