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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘israeli law’

School Fires Unmarried Pregnant Teacher: The Whole Story

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

An Israeli “national religious” girls high school (“ulpana“) fired a teacher who was pregnant…and single.

This headline has been floating around the web yesterday, especially in light that the teacher sued the school in court for damages, specifically for having broken the law which prevents women from being fired if they are pregnant.

When an ulpana expects their teachers to be more than educators, but also role models for their students, did the school do the right thing even though they broke the law?

I could almost understand the ulpana’s point of view until I looked around and found that our story above is missing some important details (courtesy of The Marker):

1. The teacher is religious, and observes a religious lifestyle in school and outside of it. 2. The teacher was 41 years old and single. 3. Not finding a husband by her age of 41, the teacher decided to undergo artificial impregnation so she could have a child and she would raise the child as a single parent. The Ulpana claimed they fired the teacher not because she was pregnant, but because she was not observing a religious lifestyle (i.e., had she been married and pregnant, they wouldn’t have fired her). The plaintiff’s lawyer stated that the Ulpana should have taken into account her unique situation of being a single, religious teacher who wanted to have a child before she would be biologically unable to.

The court ruling stated an important point:

The court does not make light of the defendant’s right to determine their school policy, but the right of the defendant is less than than the right of plaintiff, and doesn’t justify terminating the plaintiff’s employment while violating her right to parenthood. The court awarded 180,000 NIS in damages to the teacher, which is a rather expensive lesson in democracy and “freedom of employment” to the Ulpana. In my opinion, if the ulpana truly wanted to act as a role model for their students, they should not have fired their teacher.

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We Could Be Without a Coalition for a Long Time

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Thanks to IMRA for posting the details of the government coalition law in English

At present, a period which has lasted months already, the State of Israel has had a version of a “lame duck government.”  It’s not the same sort of “lame duck” that exists in the United States.  In the Israeli version, it has the following characterisitcs:

* the ministers are of the previous government coalition
* the new MKs have been sworn in and are working as MKs
* the MK who has been given the responsibility/opportunity to form a new coalition hasn’t yet done it

Political pundits are floating all sorts of scenarios about possible coalition deals and even possible new elections. Recently, Netanyahu has requested and was granted a 14 day extension to form a new coalition government by President Shimon Peres.

If Netanyahu fails to create/negotiate a new coalition, that doesn’t mean that we’re going directly into elections.  There are a few more stages, and if a majority of this Knesset never manage to agree/compromise enough to work together as a coalition, we won’t have elections for a few months.

Here’s the time table according to IMRA:

Elections
Publications of results
Max 7 days President assigns task of forming government after consultations
28 days first attempt to form government
14 days extension
3 days maximum before assign task to a second MK
28 days to form government by second MK
21 days for a majority of MKs to nominate third MK to form a government
2 days for President to announce appointment of the third MK
14 days for third MK to form government President announces government cannot be formed.
Last Tuesday before the end of 90 days elections held

In all that time the previous Prime Minister remains. So like it or not, coalition or not, Netanyahu may continue as Prime Minister for quite a while.  Who wants to add up the days to see how many months he may last without needing a coalition?

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Menachem Elon: The Sweet Revolutionary

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Justice Menachem Elon, who passed away on February 6, revolutionized the study of Jewish law, Mishpat Ivri. He personally took the Choshen Mishpat – the hornbook of Torah laws on interpersonal relations – out of the closet of the yeshivas, where it was the specialized expertise of rabbis given the honorific accolade of Yadin Yadin, into the modern courtroom.

Scores of leading American law schools now emulate Elon and offer courses in Jewish or Talmudic law. Israeli lawmakers in the Knesset now look proudly to our traditional teachings when they enact laws that govern a contemporary society because Elon taught them that the wisdom of centuries of rabbinic study and debate can guide a modern society.

He was an intellectual revolutionary, but unlike most historic figures who have broken new paths, he had no ego. All who knew him were struck by his humility, personal grace, compassion, and sweetness. Lawyers are a contentious lot, but Menachem Elon – a mentor to hundreds of lawyers – had no sharp elbows. Though he differed frequently with colleagues on the Israeli Supreme Court – and particularly with Aharon Barak, who served as president of the court for much of Elon’s tenure – he never was heard to utter an unkind word about those with whom he disagreed.

As a frequent guest in the Elon home and one who was in tune with virtually all his views, I expected expressions of acrimony from him over issues on which his opinions were rejected by less traditionally oriented colleagues. I never heard what I expected. Dissenting judges frequently say, “I respectfully disagree,” not truly meaning the respect that the words express. Justice Elon truly respected even those who disagreed or did not comprehend his own commitment to Torah and Halacha.

A remarkable feature of Elon’s scholarship was his insistence on personally doing the work that bore his name. When I first met him, the English translation of his monumental Ha-Mishpat Ha-Ivri was being crafted by American lawyers and scholars Bernard Auerbach and Melvin J. Sykes. Elon happily confided in me how much he enjoyed his many sessions with the translators, reviewing punctiliously the remarkable work they did in making his landmark treatise understandable (and even enjoyable) to English-speaking readers.

In their Introduction to the Jewish Publication Society’s four-volume translation, Auerbach and Sykes observed that they had benefited from “the many hours we have spent with Justice Elon” and said that the product was “more than just a translation, our work has been a collaboration with him.”

Justice Elon encouraged me to file friend-of-the-court briefs in cases pending in the United States Supreme Court to transmit to the American justices the wisdom of Jewish law on issues that came before the court.

In 1999 and again in 2007 the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of execution methods that were excessively cruel. A brief I wrote and filed in 1999 on behalf of Jewish groups appended 30 pages from an English translation of the Talmud in Sanhedrin. My friend-of-the-court brief concluded with the observation that “if execution by the electric chair, as administered in Florida, results in unnecessary pain and disfigurement, it would be unacceptable under the principles underlying the traditional Jewish legal system applied 2,000 years ago, and should also be unacceptable under the Eighth Amendment today.”

To top off more ancient authorities, I cited and quoted Justice Elon’s conclusion in an opinion he wrote for the Israeli Supreme Court in State of Israel v. Tamir:

According to Jewish law, a death sentence must be carried out with the minimum of suffering and without offense to human dignity. This is based on the biblical verse, “Love your fellow as yourself,” and the rule is, “Choose for him a humane death.” From this we declare that even a condemned felon is your “fellow.” The justice gave my brief – which I sent him in draft form before I filed it – the personal attention and critical review I had hoped for, and he even considered seriously (but wisely rejected) my request that he formally attach his name to it.

He was, of course, a master of the Hebrew language, and he wrote lovingly and poetically not only about the law but also about Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. He came within a hairs-breadth of being selected Israel’s president, and no one could have filled that position with greater elegance than Menachem Elon.

Why is MK-Elect Dov Lipman Afraid of Losing His US Citizenship?

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The Knesset’s basic law requires an Israeli Member of Knesset to renounce foreign (dual) citizenship before being able to enjoy the rights as a member of Knesset:

If a Knesset member holds an additional, non-Israeli citizenship, and the laws of the country whose citizenship he holds permit him to be released from such citizenship, he shall not declare allegiance until after he has done everything required on his part to be released from such citizenship, and he shall not enjoy the rights of a Knesset member until he makes his declaration.

MK-elect Dov Lipman said to Makor Rishon that he “spoke to his lawyers” about this issue, and Haaretz reported wasn’t very happy about having to relinquish his U.S. citizenship:

I am going to be relinquishing my U.S. citizenship with a very heavy heart,” he said. “One side of my family came to America to escape pogroms in Russia, and the other survived the Holocaust. America provided us with a safe haven in which to rebuild our family. My father was someone who was able to become a federal judge while being a religious Jew. It’s painful, but I’ve been told it’s the law. I do so with a heavy heart and of course, there is also the flip side – knowing I’ll be pure Israeli. We decided to figure out if there are any other reasons that MK-elect Dov Lipman doesn’t want to give up his U.S. citizenship.  In our on-line poll – which do you think is correct?

9.    Is afraid he’ll be out of a job a in a year and won’t be able to get a green card to work in the U.S.

8.   Doesn’t want to lose out on U.S. social security retirement benefits

7.    Not willing the pay this small price for peace with the Palestinians

6.    Needs a U.S. passport for refuge when his party’s peace plan explodes

5.    Doesn’t want to stand on a separate line for passport control than his family when visiting the U.S.

4.    Thinks the law should only be intended for Meir Kahana and not for progressive rabbis.

3.    Won’t be able to be considered an “Anglo” representative anymore.

2.    What will the “non-Jews” say?

1.    Doesn’t want to lose out on the $1000 per child IRS tax rebate.

 

MK Lipman – Welcome to the big leagues — Political satire is the highest form of flattery!

PS: If you had any doubts about Yesh Atid’s founder, here’s a great video extolling Lapid’s intelligence on a wide range of subjects.

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/why-is-mk-elect-dov-lipman-afraid-of-losing-his-us-citizenship/2013/01/28/

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