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An update of the Israel Religious Action Centre’s activities for the Progressive Jewish Movement

Dear friends,

Many of you will recall the visit in March 2019 of Orly Erez-Likhovski, from the Progressive Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center.  Below is an update reporting IRAC’s huge impact in correcting many of the social and religious ills affecting life in Israel over the last year.”

There’s a lot of exciting news to share with you.

Every year, just before Sukkot, the Israel’s Supreme Court justices choose the central rulings from the past year; the court hears thousands of cases every year, and the judges highlight the most significant decisions that they have made. The judges chose to highlight 26 decisions related to constitutional law. Of those, 4 are cases that IRAC led (and won).

We fight hard for our cases, and pour all of our efforts and focus into each one. This list recognizes our role in shaping the judicial agenda in Israel and pushing Israel to live up to its values.

Our cases that the justices chose were:

Disqualification of Kahanist Candidates

  • The two decisions to disqualify Kahanist candidates. IRAC appealed to the Supreme Court during both elections campaigns to disqualify Kahanists from running to the Knesset. Years of tracking Jewish supremacists and research into legal options preceded these successes. The judges chose these decisions to appear first on the list. We are so proud to have pushed the Supreme Court to draw a red line when it comes to racist incitement and protecting Israeli democracy. We are thrilled that the judges not only stood up to immense political pressure in rendering their decision, but are continuing to see it as a critical decision for Israel’s future.

Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence

  • The decision to offer victims of domestic violence protections during the immigration process. This precedent-setting decision will protect the most vulnerable immigrant women in Israel, and allow us to offer the dozens of women and children we represent every year the opportunity to start a new life. We are proud to represent the best of Jewish tradition in embracing women and families who suffer from domestic violence, and offering them dignity and equality in Israel.

Banning Modesty Signs in Beit Shemesh

  • The decision to ban modesty signs from the streets of Beit Shemesh. Following almost a decade of work with a group of brave Orthodox women in Beit Shemesh, we managed to take down one of the most obvious signs of segregation and discrimination in Israel—signs banning women from certain areas and ordering them to dress in specific ways. The court’s show of support for women’s equality will help us as we continue to fight against gender segregation in other parts of Israel.

These victories could not have happened without you. Reading about how much these cases had an impact on the Supreme Court justices and Israeli law made us even more mindful and appreciative of the partnership we share and the impact it has made. This new Jewish year will bring us back to court many more times, whether it is advocating for the rights of our movement; against racist rabbis and racial incitement; on behalf of the rights of women and the LGBT community; and more. As we look ahead, the publication of this list from the court reaffirms our commitment to the work we do every day.

May we go from strength to strength in the upcoming new year,

Noa Sattath, Director, Israel Religious Action Centre