Synagogue (illustrative)
Synagogue (illustrative) iStock

The Knesset's Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee on Wednesday added a clause at the last moment, allowing Israel Police to issue fines against synagogue sextons who run their synagogues.

MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) slammed the MKs' intention to approve the sanctions, saying, "A harsh decision was made here about places of worship: Not only did they lower and limit the number of worshipers allowed in synagogues, they now also wish to impose sanctions on the one operating the synagogue, the sexton."

"In the Justice Ministry, they brought the bill without these draconian sanctions, because they know that you cannot sanction the one operating the synagogue.

"Maybe, unfortunately, the Constitution Committee Chairman knows synagogues of another type, but our synagogues do not have someone who 'operates' it. It is a public place which is intended for the benefit of the public. There is no one who operates the site; rather, it's a place that is usually open to the public domain."

"This is harassment and making things specifically worse. This is a deterioration which is not appropriate for a Jewish country. The Committee has the authority not to accept this clause, and I ask you not to approve it," Maklev concluded.

MK Gilad Kariv (Labor), who chairs the Committee, responded: "The fine will not be imposed on the sexton but on the body operating the synagogue. The worshipers in Israel are as worthy of protection as any other public. From the moment the Green Pass is applied in the synagogue - which is only when there are more than 50 worshipers - there must be enforcement, with the ability to apply sanctions. Anything else is criminal negligence."