Hundreds of people are expected to gather tonight on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard to declare themselves “without religion,” the Israeli Haaretz daily reported Sunday.
The move follows the recent District Court ruling granting author Yoram Kaniuk recognition as “without religion” by the Interior Ministry.
The meeting, to be held in the abandoned building on Rothschild Boulevard, which has become an ad-hoc community center for protesters, is being organized on Facebook by Tel Aviv poet Oded Carmeli. So far, about 600 people have confirmed they will be attending, the daily said.
Participants will be signing affidavits in the presence of attorneys, informing the Interior Ministry of their change of status to “without religion.”
Carmeli, Kaniuk and Mickey Gitzin, head of Be Free Israel, a movement advocating freedom from religion, will then address the group.
The event is a direct outcome of this summer’s social protest movement, Carmeli said Saturday. “I realized that anyone can create a Facebook page and change something,” he said.
“Personally, I have always been an atheist. I belong to the Jewish nation; I have never belonged to the Jewish religion,” he added.
Carmeli said the move was symbolic, but it can be used to call for separation of religion and state.
“The goal of the event is mainly declarative. To change registration in the Interior Ministry, you have to go to court. For the court to believe that you do not believe in God, you have to pay a fee and a lawyer. We are working according to another law, which states that citizens must inform the Interior Ministry of a change in status,” Carmeli said.