Ministry of Religious Services

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Ministry of Religious Services
המשרד לשירותי דת
Agency overview
Formed 1949,2008
Dissolved 2003
Jurisdiction Government of Israel
Minister responsible
Website www.dat.gov.il

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 Jewish 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]

List of ministers[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 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.[2] 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).

# Minister Party Government Term start Term end Notes
Minister of Religions and War Victims
1 Yehuda Leib Maimon Mizrachi
United Religious Front
P, 1, 2 14 May 1948 8 October 1951
Minister of Religions
2 Haim-Moshe Shapira Hapoel HaMizrachi
National Religious Party
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 8 October 1951 1 July 1958
3 Ya'akov Moshe Toledano Not an MK 8, 9 3 December 1958 15 October 1960 Died in office
4 Zerach Warhaftig National Religious Party 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 2 November 1961 10 March 1974
5 Yitzhak Rafael National Religious Party 16 10 March 1974 3 June 1974
6 Haim Yosef Zadok Alignment 17 3 June 1974 29 October 1974
Yitzhak Rafael National Religious Party 17 30 October 1974 22 December 1976
Haim Yosef Zadok Alignment 17 16 January 1977 20 June 1977
7 Aharon Abuhatzira National Religious Party 18 20 June 1977 5 August 1981
Minister of Religious Affairs
8 Yosef Burg National Religious Party 19, 20 5 August 1981 13 September 1984
9 Shimon Peres Alignment 21 13 September 1984 23 December 1984
Yosef Burg National Religious Party 21 13 September 1984 5 October 1986
10 Zevulun Hammer National Religious Party 21, 22, 23 7 October 1986 11 June 1990
11 Avner Shaki National Religious Party 24 11 June 1990 13 July 1992
12 Yitzhak Rabin Labor Party 25 13 July 1992 27 February 1995
13 Shimon Sheetrit Labor Party 25, 26 27 February 1995 18 June 1996
14 Binyamin Netanyahu Likud 27 18 June 1996 7 August 1996
15 Eli Suissa Shas 27 7 August 1996 12 August 1997
Binyamin Netanyahu Likud 27 12 August 1997 22 August 1997
Zevulun Hammer National Religious Party 27 22 August 1997 20 January 1998 Died in office
Binyamin Netanyahu Likud 27 20 January 1998 25 February 1998
16 Yitzhak Levy National Religious Party 27 25 February 1998 13 September 1998
Eli Suissa Shas 27 13 September 1998 6 July 1999
17 Yitzhak Cohen Shas 28 6 July 1999 11 July 2000
18 Yossi Beilin One Israel 28 11 October 2000 7 March 2001
19 Asher Ohana Not an MK 29 7 March 2001 28 February 2003
20 Ariel Sharon Likud 30 28 February 2003 31 December 2003
Minister of Religious Services
Yitzhak Cohen Shas 31 14 January 2008 31 March 2009
21 Ya'akov Margi Shas 32 31 March 2009 18 March 2013
22 Naftali Bennett The Jewish Home 33 18 March 2013 14 May 2015
23 David Azulai Shas 34 14 May 2015

Deputy ministers[edit]

# Minister Party Government Term start Term end
1 Zerach Warhaftig Hapoel HaMizrachi 4 5 January 1953 26 January 1954
Zerach Warhaftig National Religious Party 7, 8 9 January 1956 1 July 1958
2 Binyamin Shahor National Religious Party 13, 14 1 February 1966 17 November 1969
3 Haim Drukman National Religious Party 19 11 August 1981 2 March 1982
4 Moshe Gafni Degel HaTorah 24 23 July 1990 13 July 1992
5 Rafael Pinhasi Shas 25 31 December 1992 14 September 1993
6 Aryeh Gamliel Shas 27 13 August 1996 22 August 1997
Aryeh Gamliel Shas 27 24 August 1997 20 January 1998
Aryeh Gamliel Shas 27 25 February 1998 6 July 1999
7 Yigal Bibi National Religious Party 27 13 August 1996 20 January 1998
Yigal Bibi National Religious Party 27 25 February 1998 6 July 1999
Yigal Bibi National Religious Party 28 5 August 1999 12 July 2000
8 Eli Ben-Dahan The Jewish Home 33 18 March 2013 14 May 2015

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]