A Conservative rabbi, a homosexual and an Israeli Arab were appointed to the Jerusalem City Council last week, but they cannot take office until Israel’s fervently Orthodox interior minister approves. As of midweek, Eliyahu Yishai still had not acted.
"I’ve been told by my colleagues that there is a good chance we will have to go to court," said David Lazar, the Conservative rabbi.
Rabbi Lazar, who is on a five-week speaking engagement in Detroit, said he and the other two men were appointed by Yerushalayim Achshav, a liberal party, after its three representatives stepped down. He said the party selected the three from segments of the population not currently represented.
Once he is seated, Rabbi Lazar said he would press for rights for those wishing to practice non-Orthodox Judaism, as well as environmental, educational and fiscal matters. In addition to the three members of Yerushalayim Achshav, three members from the liberal Meretz party are on the 31-member council.
"The six member opposition cannot change the face of the city, but we will have a platform to raise consciousness about issues on Jewish identity and pluralism," he said.
Rabbi Lazar said everything might change, however, if Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert steps down to accept a senior ministerial post in the next government. If Olmert resigned, the rabbi said, elections would be held quickly and the courts may not move to compel Yishai to act.