Ministry of Religious Services

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The Ministry of Religious Services (Hebrew: המשרד לשירותי דת‎ (HaMisrad leSherutay Dat) (formerly Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Religion) is a government ministry of Israel that handles religious affairs.

Responsibilities[edit]

The Ministry of Religious Services appoints religious councils and covers 40% of the shortfall in approved budgets for religious facilities and services; grants financial assistance to yeshivas; plans and finances the construction and renovation of synagogues and ritual baths; supervises Jewish holy places; organizes Torah teaching activities and outreach; organizes public religious celebrations; cultivates religious ties with Diaspora Jewry; certifies kashrut in public and government institutions; coordinates religious services of non-Jewish groups in Israel; plans supplementary religious education for underprivileged youth; provides Jewish ritual articles to new immigrants, schools and the needy; and provides budgets for the Chief Rabbinate and rabbinical courts.[1]

Religious Services minister[edit]

The Religious Services Minister of Israel (Hebrew: שר לשירותי דת‎, Sar LeShirutei Dat) is the political head of the Ministry of Religious Services and a relatively minor position in the Israeli cabinet. The current minister is Naftali Bennett of The Jewish Home party. Eli Ben-Dahan serves as Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs.

The post was included in the provisional government, and was initially known as the Minister of Religions and War Victims. Upon the formation of the second government on 8 October 1951 it became the Minister of Religions. On 5 August 1981 the post was renamed Minister of Religious Affairs. The post was scrapped on 1 January 2004, but resurrected on 14 January 2008.

Most office holders have been religious Jews, though some were secular. Haim Yosef Zadok, a secular Jew, served twice, in 1974 and 1977. [2]During his short stints, Zadok worked to streamline the operation of the rabbinical courts and strengthen relations with the religious leaders of all faiths. [3]Zerach Warhaftig was the longest serving minister, holding the post for over 12 years between 1961 and 1974. In Benjamin Netanyahu's government the portfolio changed hands six times, with four people holding the post (Netanyahu three times and Eli Suissa twice).

List of Religious Services ministers[edit]

Parties

      Mizrachi/URF/HHaM/NRP       Shas       Alignment/Labor       Likud       Independent

No. Name Party Term of office Govt. (P.M.)

Minister of Religions and War Victims (1948–1951)[edit]

1 Yehuda Leib Maimon Mizrachi
United Religious Front
May 14, 1948 October 8, 1951 Prov·1·2 (Ben-Gurion)

Minister of Religions (1951–1981)[edit]

2 Haim-Moshe Shapira Hapoel HaMizrachi
National Religious Party
October 8, 1951 July 1, 1958 3·4 (Ben-Gurion)
5·6 (Sharett)
7·8 (Ben-Gurion)
3 Ya'akov Moshe Toledano Not an MK December 3, 1958 October 15, 1960[1] 8·9 (Ben-Gurion)
4 Zerach Warhaftig National Religious Party November 2, 1961 March 10, 1974 13 (Eshkol)
14·15 (Meir)
5 Yitzhak Rafael National Religious Party March 10, 1974 June 3, 1974 16 (Meir)
(4) Haim Yosef Zadok Alignment (Labor) June 3, 1974 October 29, 1974 17 (Rabin)
(5) Yitzhak Rafael National Religious Party October 30, 1974 December 22, 1976
(4) Haim Yosef Zadok Alignment (Labor) January 16, 1977 June 20, 1977
6 Aharon Abuhatzira National Religious Party June 20, 1977 August 5, 1981 18 (Begin)

Minister of Religious Affairs (1981–2003)[edit]

7 Yosef Burg National Religious Party August 5, 1981 September 13, 1984 19 (Begin)
20 (Shamir)
Shimon Peres (as PM) Alignment (Labor) September 13, 1984 December 23, 1984 21 (Peres)
(7) Yosef Burg National Religious Party September 13, 1984 October 5, 1986
8 Zevulun Hammer National Religious Party October 7, 1986 June 11, 1990 21 (Peres)
22·23 (Shamir)
9 Avner Shaki National Religious Party June 11, 1990 July 13, 1992 24 (Shamir)
10 Yitzhak Rabin (as PM) Labor July 13, 1992 February 27, 1995 25 (Rabin)
11 Shimon Sheetrit Labor February 27, 1995 June 18, 1996 25 (Rabin)
26 (Peres)
Benjamin Netanyahu (as PM) Likud June 18, 1996 August 7, 1996 27 (Netanyahu)
12 Eli Suissa Shas August 7, 1996 August 12, 1997
Benjamin Netanyahu (as PM) Likud August 12, 1997 August 22, 1997
(8) Zevulun Hammer National Religious Party August 22, 1997 January 20, 1998[1]
Benjamin Netanyahu (as PM) Likud January 20, 1998 February 25, 1998
13 Yitzhak Levy National Religious Party February 25, 1998 September 13, 1998
(12) Eli Suissa Shas September 13, 1998 July 6, 1999
14 Yitzhak Cohen Shas July 6, 1999 July 11, 2000 28 (Barak)
15 Yossi Beilin One Israel (Labor) October 11, 2000 March 7, 2001
16 Asher Ohana Shas (not an MK) March 7, 2001 February 28, 2003 29 (Sharon)
Ariel Sharon (as PM) Likud February 28, 2003 December 31, 2003 30 (Sharon)
Ministry abolished 2003.

Minister of Religious Services (2008– )[edit]

(14) Yitzhak Cohen Shas January 14, 2008 March 31, 2009 31 (Olmert)
17 Ya'akov Margi Shas March 31, 2009 March 18, 2013 32 (Netanyahu)
18 Naftali Bennett The Jewish Home March 18, 2013 Incumbent 33 (Netanyahu)

1 Died in office.

Deputy Ministers[edit]

Parties

      HHaM/NRP/DHaT       Shas

No. Name Party Term of office Govt.
1 Zerach Warhaftig Hapoel HaMizrachi
National Religious Party
January 5, 1953 January 26, 1954 4
January 9, 1956 July 1, 1958 7·8
2 Binyamin Shahor National Religious Party February 1, 1966 November 17, 1969 13·14
3 Haim Drukman National Religious Party August 11, 1981 March 2, 1982 19
4 Moshe Gafni Degel HaTorah July 23, 1990 July 13, 1992 24
5 Rafael Pinhasi Shas December 31, 1992 September 14, 1993 25
6
7
Aryeh Gamliel
& Yigal Bibi
Shas
National Religious Party
August 13, 1996 August 22, 1997 27
7 Yigal Bibi National Religious Party August 22, 1997 August 24, 1997
6
7
Aryeh Gamliel
& Yigal Bibi
Shas
National Religious Party
August 24, 1997 January 20, 1998
February 25, 1998 July 6, 1999
7 Yigal Bibi National Religious Party August 5, 1999 July 12, 2000 28

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ministry of Religious Affairs
  2. ^ Haim J. Zadok Israel Democracy Institute
  3. ^ Haim J. Zadok Israel Democracy Institute

External links[edit]