The High Court of Justice demanded Monday that the state explain its failure to recognize Muslim sites of worship and to funnel sufficient funds to preserve mosques in Israel.
"Why shouldn't the National Authority of Religious Services respect the relevant laws and introduce ordinances to ensure that all Muslim religious sites in Israel are preserved?," Justice Edmond Levy wrote in response to a petition against the state by the Arab advocacy center Adalah.
During a hearing on the petition last month, the state argued that there was no need for new ordinances and vowed to earmark NIS 2 million (about $476,000) for the maintenance of mosques in Israel.
The court adopted the petitioners' stance that earmarking a budget for the mosques did not guarantee a long-term commitment to their maintenance and demanded that the state provide explanations for its decision.
Adalah lawyer Hassan Jabrin told Ynet that the government's refusal to recognize mosques was part of an "unjust" policy that ignored "their religious and historical importance."
"Some of these sites are holy not only to Muslims in Israel but to millions around the world. The absence of ordinances that define these holy sites will perpetuate the ongoing damage they have been sustaining," he added.