To Israel's Chief Rabbi: I Make Coffee for a Goy on a Regular Basis

The day on which Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said it is forbidden for non-Jews to live in the Land of Israel unless they are the servants of Jews was the day on which I decided that I am no longer willing to serve this system.

Roni Bar
Roni Bar
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Israel's Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, 2015.
Israel's Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, 2015.Credit: Lior Mizrahi
Roni Bar
Roni Bar

The health tax serves the health system, National Insurance payments fund the institution of the same name, the local property taxes I pay go to the city and the television tax, may it rest in peace, was intended to support public television. But what tax serves to pay for the rabbis and rabbinate in Israel? What tax do we need to stop paying to the powers that be in order to put an end to the function of the Chief Rabbinate as an official public institution?

The day on which Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said it is forbidden for non-Jews to live in the Land of Israel unless they are the servants of Jews (“Who will be the servants? Who will all our helpers be? So we leave them here in Israel.”) was the day on which I decided that I am no longer willing to serve this system. If this is the face of the supreme Jewish spiritual leadership, I will leave for my own independent denomination and sit there alone with my quiet conscience. But first of all – I want to cut, sever and eradicate every remembrance of the covenant between me and this institution – it is for the economic reason.

I am not asking to pay less taxes – on the contrary, raise them a level if necessary, but only if I will have an influence on where they go.

The principle is simple, and thank you Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev for the inspiration: “freedom of public funding.” In my imagination I see a government form arriving at my home once a year, in which are listed the institutions in the country that provide services to all its citizens – and all its citizens are required to fund in an identical manner. That is the rule for the legal system, police, welfare, health and mental health systems, and so on.

But this is not how religious services, which are intended for only a certain group, work. I have never needed the help of a local, regional or chief rabbi. This is my tradition from my parents’ home. My parents did not marry before I was born, and my bat mitzvah was a not large event in the members’ club that served as a wonderful excuse to buy a red velvet dress.

As for a wedding, there is nothing to talk about. Even if I could marry my non-Jewish partner within the borders of Israel, I would not do so (The chief rabbi will be shocked to hear this: This "Daughter of the King" prepares coffee for this goy regularly!), and I have no intention of circumcising my son either.

Similar to payments for optional services that come in addition to university tuition that allow students to attend parties and other activities outside of class, in my imagination I see a separate box on this form of my dreams, in which the State of Israel asks me if I want to have money go to religious services too – or not.

Until now, I have reconciled myself to the existence of the Chief Rabbinate alongside me, the same way Regev has accepted the Israeli Opera – but that’s it, it’s over. I don’t want to support the establishment whose leaders believe in any version of racial theory. I will not take part in the development of an institution that gives preference to the laws of the Torah over the laws of the democratic state. I will not remain silent in the face of an extremist, separatist and fundamentalist chief rabbi.

How sad it is that if I do so and stop paying taxes to the rabbinate, I am the one who will go to prison, and not him.

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