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Chief Justice Keeps Israeli Courts Open Rosh Hashanah

It's a fascinating—and rare—case in which the rights of an individual to a speedy trial clash with the identity of the Jewish state.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Grunis keeps the courts open on Rosh Hashanah.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Grunis keeps the courts open on Rosh Hashanah.
Photo Credit: Ari Dudkevitch/Flash 90

Israeli magistrate courts will continue to process arraignments over Rosh Hashanah this year, according to a special order by Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Grunis.

This year, Rosh Hashanah—the only 2-day Jewish holiday observed in Israel—begins Wednesday night, which means that the state’s non-emergency services will be suspended by law until Sunday morning.

This would result in suspects remaining in detention without an arraignment before a judge for three days, which the Chief Justice finds unacceptable.

It’s a fascinating—and rare—case in which the rights of an individual to a speedy trial clash with the identity of the Jewish state. It also suggests a higher level of attention to defendants’ rights than in the U.S., where anyone arrested late on a Friday must wait behind bars for their arraignment until Monday.

In an order he sent the senior judges of the court system, Justice Grunis wrote there would be no other option but to conduct court deliberations over the holiday.

According to the “work order” issued by the courts administration following Grunis’s instructions, on Wednesday, Rosh Hashanah eve, the courts will stay open until two hours before the holiday, and on Thursday, first day of Rosh Hashanah, the courts will deliberate arraignments based on need. Then, on Saturday night, arraignments will start again normally, one hour after the end of Shabbat.

The court administration directive also says that every efforts should be made to avoid the desecration of the holiday, and in cases of individual employees asking not to work on the holiday for religious reasons, every effort should be made to accommodate them.

The national court employees union said it objects to the directive but its members will cooperate with it.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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9 Responses to “Chief Justice Keeps Israeli Courts Open Rosh Hashanah”

  1. Leona Bazylak Quigley says:

    Should clearly close on a Holy Day!

  2. Should clearly close on a Holy Day!

  3. Shemayah Shiloh Phillips says:

    Seems there’s less and less Jewish in the alleged Jewish State.

  4. I have to agree, Israel has problematic so called Palestinians who I guarantee will demonstrate with rocks, gunfire and Gaza will inflict rockets. Sincerely hope capital punishment will be revised for so called Palestinians murdering Citizens of Israel be they Secular, Jewish or Christian. Murder is Murder and an unprovoked attacked could almost be proven pre-meditated since this is a game the so called Palestinians have played for years. Apart from this I hope there will be peace in Israel over the holiday.

  5. vivgolda says:

    I have to agree, Israel has problematic so called Palestinians who I
    guarantee will demonstrate with rocks, gunfire and Gaza will inflict
    rockets. Sincerely hope capital punishment will be revised for so
    called Palestinians murdering Citizens of Israel be they Secular, Jewish
    or Christian. Murder is Murder and an unprovoked attacked could almost
    be proven pre-meditated since this is a game the so called Palestinians
    have played for years. Apart from this I hope there will be peace in
    Israel over the holiday.

  6. This rotten creep has zero trouble persecuting and demolishing YESHA's inhabitatants and their houses! How sick is that?

  7. Yechiel Baum says:

    His action of keeping the courts open on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the Jewish State of Israel shows the world that Israel does not act as a Jewish state and soon the national athem of Arab squatters will reduce our claim. Ben Gurion would be mortified by this action. SHAME! if HE WANTS TO WORK, HE SHOULD BE THE SOLE WORKER AT NO OVERTIME! Surprised Haredi in the justice department is silent. They learn Jewish law and found nothing to overturn this verdict?

  8. SoniaUSA says:

    The Lord is just and fair, seems fitting that Israel’s judicial system endeavors to be, also. It confuses me that Israel chose to be secular but its people aren’t; hostile against the ones that share their country, also known by commenters here in this thread as, “the so-called” Palestinians.
    If Israelis really detest these people then why not just say it and move forward in the world- go to the UN and drop them off like abandoned children on the steps of a mosque. If you say that they’re citizens then treat them as such and arbitrate respectfully, vice-versa.

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