By Simcha Abir
Israel’s Minister of Housing and Construction Yaakov Litzman has warned the new unity government that he will quit his post if the rabbinate allow women to take rabbinical exams.
The head of Agudet Yisroel offered his ultimatum following a meeting with Religious Affairs Minister Yaakov Avitan, Higher Education and Minister of Water Resources Zeev Elkin and Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef on Tuesday.
The quartet discussed ways of halting the High Court of Justice allowing women to take rabbinical exams for accredited certification.
Orthodox communities in Israel are outraged by the prospect.
Inclusivity is a major debate in Israel and Litzman told ministers during Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet meeting on Sunday that he would relinquish his post if the rabbinate was compelled to ordain women to the rabbinate or dayanut.
“We will not allow some to receive smicha from the rabbinate,” Rabbi Yosef reportedly confirmed during the meeting.
“If we have to, we will cancel all testing for the rabbinate if the High Court forces us to test women. If they force us to test and give smicha to women, I will instruct all echelons within the rabbinate to refute this in any way they can and I will demand that all testing and programs to prepare for the rabbinate be stopped.”
Avitan added, “Halacha as well as Jewish tradition, which the rabbanite has sworn to uphold, prevent the giving of smicha to women. If women would like to take tests in the study of Talmud they can do so under the framework of the Ministry for Higher Education.
“Such tests already exist in numerous universities around the country.”
Plans are now afoot to ensure details in this matter are concise. A detailed proposal will be put in place to counter any decision by the High Court