JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's justice minister called for Jewish law to become binding in Israel, causing a stir Tuesday that cut to the heart of the country's simmering secular-religious divide.
Yaakov Neeman's office tried to contain the uproar Tuesday by saying his words were taken out of context and that he had no intention of replacing Israel's current legal system. But his comments touched a raw nerve among secular Israelis wary of what they consider to be religious coercion by the Orthodox Jewish minority.
Neeman, an observant Jew, told a rabbinical conference on Monday that the Bible contains ''a complete solution to all the things we are dealing with.''
''Step by step we will bestow religious law upon the citizens of Israel and transform religious law into the binding law of the state,'' he said. Israeli newspapers said the rabbis attending the conference applauded him wildly, but some lawmakers later attacked his remarks as antidemocratic.
The New York Times