After brief deliberations on the eve of last week’s Rosh Hashanah holiday, a Tel Aviv judge ruled that Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk could register his official religious status as “without religion.”
“Freedom from religion is a freedom derived from the right to human dignity, which is protected by the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom,” Judge Gideon Ginat of the Tel Aviv District Court wrote in his unusual ruling.
“This is a ruling of historic proportions,” Kaniuk said to Haaretz yesterday, with audible emotion. “The court granted legitimacy to every person to live by their conscience in this land, in ruling that human dignity and freedom means a person can determine their own identity and definition. In this way I can be without religion but Jewish by nationality. I am so thrilled,” Kaniuk said.
In May Kaniuk asked the court to order the Interior Ministry to allow him “to be liberated from the Jewish religion” by changing his “religion” entry in the Population Registry from “Jewish” to “without religion.” The ministry had refused his earlier request.
In his petition, Kaniuk explained that he had no wish to be part of a “Jewish Iran” or to belong to “what is today called the religion of Israel.”
A historic step. Well done Judge Ginat.