Israeli religious offices in four different cities torched overnight

The police are investigating four apparent cases of arson after three rabbinical court offices and one council office were set on fire, causing damage but no injuries.

By World Israel News Staff

Police opened an investigation Sunday after suspicious fires at Jewish religious offices in four different cities were reported.

Fires broke out in the rabbinical court offices in the cities of Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva and Kfar Saba, while the local religious council office was set ablaze in the port city of Ashdod, Kan Radio reported.

“Damage was caused to property but there were no injuries,” an Israel Police statement said. The investigation is being carried out by the police’s 433 unit for combating economic crime.

Fires were reported overnight Saturday at the four different locations starting with the fire alarm going off at 2 a.m. at the rabbinical court offices in Petah Tikva. Shortly afterwards an alarm was triggered in the rabbinical court in Tel Aviv and fire crews responded to both locations.

The Petah Tikva fire appeared to be in an office where a pile of clothing and combustible materials were set on fire in one of the staff rooms on the ground floor.

The fire in the Tel Aviv religious court also appeared to have been deliberately set.

“Any attempt to harm the rabbinical judicial system is not a local attack but instead hurts the Israeli citizenry and the system that serves its citizens. The court administration thanks the authorities for their prompt response,” the rabbinical court administration said in a statement.

The rabbinical courts are part of the national justice system and handle cases according to Jewish religious law, with exclusive jurisdiction over marriage and divorce in Jewish households. The courts also rule on conversion to Judaism and on some personal law issues and religious matters.

Marriage, divorce and other issues for the Muslim community are handled by the Sharia court system, which is also an official branch of the Ministry of Justice, with special Druze religious courts handling affairs for the Druze community.

The authority for performing Christian marriages is allocated to the specific denominations in Israel and handled separately, depending on the church, with separations or divorces done through ecclesiastical courts.

There is no civil marriage in Israel.