HEMDAT — the Council for Freedom of Religion in Israel — is a broad, non-political coalition of liberal religiousmovements, women’s groups, new immigrant organizations,and civil rights movements which serves as an umbrella organization promoting, through mass action, advocacy, education and legal initiatives, freedom of science, religion and culture in Israel based on the noble ideals expressed in the Israel Declaration of Independence — which promised to assure all the citizens of Israel: “equal rights, freedom of religion, conscience and culture….”. It works to help build bridges between Israel and the Jews of the world by promoting religious pluralism.
- firmly believes that, side by side with dialogue and the search for consensus, there must be a determined activist-advocacy struggle for freedom of choice in religion and pluralism in Israel;
- has initiated, together with Shatil, a new broad coalition called the “Forum for Freedom of Choice in Marriage,” whose goal is to enable every Israeli to freely choose between civil marriage or a religious ceremony according to the religious stream of their choice;
- has established and administers the broad activist-advocacy Freedom Front to block the continuing attempts by the Ultra-Orthodox/Haredi political parties to force Orthodox lifestyle on the general population of Israel;
- works to promote religious pluralism programs in the high schools which teach about the important contribution of the Reform, Conservative and Secular Humanist Movements in promoting modern interpretations of Judaism;
- works with the Masorti (Conservative) and Progressive (Reform) Movements to achieve their rightful recognition and to prevent the passage of the Conversion Law and changes in the Law of Return;
- advocates military service for yeshiva students so that the burden of defending Israel is shared by all her citizens in a just manner;
- believes that the growing disparagement, and overtreligious discrimination against Reform and Conservative Judaism in Israel undermines the unity of the Jewish People and threatens to destroy the ties of the majority of world Jewry with Israel.