The Supreme Court judges issued a conditional order demanding that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit explain why Tzfat's Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu was not brought to disciplinary action following "racist" statements he allegedly made.
Judges Esther Hayut, Yitzhak Amit, and Ofer Grosskopf issued the order in the framework of a petition filed jointly by the Reform Center for Religion and State, the Tag Meir association, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) said in response that "interference in the halakhic freedom of speech of rabbis is unacceptable. The conditional order issued by the Supreme Court today constitutes a severe violation of the independence of the rabbis and their freedom of halakhic expression.
"Rabbis are obligated by their very role and responsibility to express their opinion and to act in accordance with it without fear and without intervention of those who understand nothing in Torah and halakha.
"I'm sorry that the court chose, once again, to be the mouthpiece of the New Israel Fund and to serve extreme leftist agendas," Smotrich added. "I call upon the Justice Minister and the Attorney General to continue the line they've taken so far, to strongly oppose the damage to the independence and dignity of Tzfat's rabbi and to oppose his being tried."