Freedom of Worship in Israel

Jerusalem, Dec. 11 – Israel grants full social and political equality, regardless of religion.

Israel's Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty (Basic Law) provides freedom of religion. The Basic Law refers to the "Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, which explicitly provides for the protection of religious freedom," according to the U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report 2010.

"In addition, numerous Israel Supreme Court rulings incorporate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including their religious freedom provisions, into the country's body of law," the report added.

Access to holy sites is protected and guaranteed for all. Based on the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194, which called for free access to all of Israel's holy places, Israel maintains openness with relation to minority rights and access to sacred holy sites.

Protecting All Religions: Quotes by Israeli Leaders

“To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour - and with added emphasis at this hour - our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples' Holy Places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.” -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayanat the Western Wall when Israel took control of Jerusalem on June 7, 1967.

"Israeli law does not discriminate between Jews, Muslims, and Christians or between eastern and western Jerusalem." -- Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, 2009.

Israel plans to invest significant amounts in infrastructure that will increase the accessibility of holy sites to all worshipers. By doing so it aims to honor and allow freedom of worship to all, irrespective of their faith, and protect the holy sites. -- Israeli President Shimon Peres, when he met with U.N. Special Coordinator Robert Serry, 2010.


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