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Statuary Jewish Community in Palestine before 1948 (Nakba): its Constitution, British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine: Volume II - Page 915. Chapter XXII: Community And Religious Affairs: Section 4:
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Posted on October 28, 2007
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British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine
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Posted by Webmaster on June 15, 2013 #151219


Section 4.

(a) Constitution.

94. Article 15 of the Mandate enjoins upon the Mandatory to ''see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all". This direction is reflected in Article 83 of the Palestine Order-in-Council, 1922* which reads as follows :

41All persons in Palestine shall enjoy full liberty of conscience, and the free exercise of their forms of worship subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals. Each religious community shall enjoy autonomy for the internal affairs of the community subject to the provisions of any Ordinance or Order issued by the High Commissioner."

To implement this Article the Religious, Communities (Organisation) Ordinance was enacted in 1926**. This provided that "if any religious community in Palestine makes application under this Ordinance, the High Commissioner may, with the approval of a Secretary of State, make rules for its organisation as a religious community and its recognition as such by the Government of Palestine. This Ordinance also provided for the constitution, through such rules, of religious and cultural councils or boards of the community with powers inter alia of imposing upon members

. of the community contributions or fees for commercial purposes.

95. On the 1st January, 1928 the Jewish Community Rules*** were enacted in accordance with the Religious Communities (Organisation) Ordinance. Under these rules statutory recognition was given to a "Community of the Jews in Palestine". This recognized Jewish community embraces the overwhelming majority of Jews in Palestine. Membership is in effect automatic for all Jews of both sexes who have attained the age of eighteen and who have been resident in Palestine for not less than three months; but every Jew is entitled to opt out of this community by a simple declaration of will (Section 17 of the Rules).

96. The principal organs of the recognized Jewish community are as follows :-

(i) A Rabbinical Council. This consists of. two Chief Rabbis, one for the Sephardic and the other for the Ashkenazic section of
* Drayton, Vol. III, page 2588.
** Drayton, Vol. II, page 1292 .
*** Drayton, Vol. III, page 2132.