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The religious council of Be'er Sheva is currently the focus of a legal battle between the city and Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi, after the municipality petitioned the High Court of Justice to demand Margi explain his failure to approve the council's makeup.

The city submitted the list of people that it had selected to sit on the city's religious council to Margi's office two weeks ago, but Margi has not approved it. Other religious councils in additional cities are also awaiting the Shas minister's approval.

"Shas members are trying to take control over the religious councils and put their own people on them," said one council member.

The city's petition requests the court forbid Margi from using his power to make his own appointments to the council, as temporary nominations.

This demand came after Margi appointed Shlomo Ohayon as the council's temporary head, instead of elected chairman Yitzhak Amor. Margi's office has launched a probe to look into the council's financial actions under Amor, citing complaints.