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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘judge’

IDF Kills PA Terrorist at Allenby Bridge Crossing

Monday, March 10th, 2014

On Monday morning, a Palestinian Authority Arab tried to grab a gun from an IDF soldier, while yelling “Alahu Ahkbar”, near the terminal at the Allenby Bridge. IDF soldiers, from the Engineering corps, shot and killed the terrorist, according to Galei Tzahal.

The crossing has been temporarily closed following the attack.

The terrorist was identified as Raed Za’eiter (38), formerly of Shechem (Nablus). The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister said that Za’eiter worked as a civil court judge in Jordan.

The Allenby Bridge is the primary land-crossing point between Israel and Jordan. It was first built in 1885 by the Ottomans, rebuilt in 1918, destroyed in 1946, rebuilt again in 1968 (the wood bridge pictured above), and then finally a modern bridge was built adjacent to the wood bridge in the 1990s.

Modern Allenby Bridge

The bridge is also called the King Hussein Bridge.

The Sins of a Leader

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Leaders make mistakes. That is inevitable. So, strikingly, Parshas Vayikra implies. The real issue is how he or she responds to those mistakes.

The Torah makes this point in a very subtle way. Our parshah deals with sin offerings to be brought when people have made mistakes. The technical term for this is “shegagah,” meaning inadvertent wrongdoing. You did something, not knowing it was forbidden, either because you forgot or did not know the law, or because you were unaware of certain facts. You may, for instance, have carried something in a public place on Shabbat, either because you did not know it was forbidden to carry or because you forgot it was Shabbat.

The Torah prescribes different sin offerings, depending on who made the mistake. It enumerates four categories. First is the high priest, second is “the whole community” (understood to mean the great Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court), a third is “the leader” (nasi), and the fourth is an ordinary individual.

In three of the four cases, the law is introduced by the word “im” (if) – if such a person commits a sin. In the case of the leader, however, the law is prefaced by the word “asher” (when). It is possible that a high priest, the Supreme Court or an individual may err. But in the case of a leader, it is probable or even certain. Leaders make mistakes. It is the occupational hazard of their role. Talking about the sin of a nasi, the Torah uses the word “when,” not “if.”

Nasi is the generic word for a leader: a ruler, king, judge, elder, or prince. Usually it refers to the holder of political power. In Mishnaic times, the nasi, the most famous of whom were leaders from the family of Hillel, had a quasi-governmental role as representative of the Jewish people to the Roman government. Rabbi Moses Sofer (Bratislava, 1762-1839), in one of his responses, examines the question of why, when positions of Torah leadership are never dynastic (passed from father to son), the role of nasi was an exception. Often it did pass from father to son. The answer he gives (and it is historically insightful) is that with the decline of monarchy in the Second Temple period and thereafter, the nasi took on many of the roles of a king. His role, internally and externally, was as much political and diplomatic as religious. That in general is what is meant by the word “nasi.”

Why does the Torah consider this type of leadership particularly prone to error? The commentators offer three possible explanations. Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno cites the phrase “But Yeshurun waxed fat, and kicked” (Deuteronomy 32:15). Those who have advantages over others, whether of wealth or power, can lose their moral sense. Rabbeinu Bachya agrees, suggesting that rulers tend to become haughty. Implicit in these commentators – it is in fact a major theme of Tanach as a whole – is the idea later stated by Lord Acton in the aphorism, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Rabbi Elie Munk, citing the Zohar, offers a second explanation. The high priest and the Sanhedrin were in constant contact with the holy. They lived in a world of ideals. The king or political ruler, by contrast, was involved in secular affairs: war and peace, the administration of government, and international relations. He was more likely to sin because his day-to-day concerns were not religious but pragmatic.

Rabbi Meir Simcha HaKohen of Dvinsk points out that a king was especially vulnerable to being led astray by popular sentiment. Neither a priest nor a judge in the Sanhedrin were answerable to the people. The king, however, relied on popular support. Without that he could be deposed. But this is laden with risk. Doing what the people want is not always doing what God wants. That, Rabbi Meir Simcha argues, is what led David to order a census (II Samuel: 24), and Zedekiah to ignore the advice of Jeremiah and rebel against the king of Babylon (II Chronicles: 36). Thus, for a whole series of reasons, a political leader is more exposed to temptation and error than a priest or judge.

Religious Right and ACLU Protest Judge’s No Messiah Ruling

Monday, August 19th, 2013

It began when Jaleesa, 22, took the father of her baby, Jawaan P. McCullough, 40, to family court in Tennessee, to establish paternity and to set child support. Oh, and the baby’s name was Messiah, according to the LA Times.

In court it was revealed that the father had wanted to name the baby Jawaan P. McCullough Jr., but he no longer objected to calling the boy Messiah Deshawn. But the judge decided to change the baby’s name anyway.

“It is not in this child’s best interest to keep the first name ‘Messiah,’” Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew wrote in her decision. “‘Messiah’ means Savior, Deliverer, the One who will restore God’s Kingdom. ‘Messiah’ is a title that is held by only Jesus Christ.”

An entire Jewish family of Iraqi extract named Mashiach would argue differently, but you don’t get many Iraqi Jews in Tennessee. But even without that Iraqi-Jewish input, “Messiah” is an increasingly popular American baby name, according to the LA Times, as are the names Lord and King.

The name would impose an “undue burden on him that as a human being he cannot fulfill,” the judge wrote, although she really didn’t know just how spiritually gifted the baby Messiah was.

She also noted that in Cocke County, Tenn., where the new Messia resides, there is a “large Christian population” as evidenced by its “many churches of the Christian faith.”

“Therefore,” the judge concluded, “it is highly likely that he will offend many Cocke County citizens by calling himself ‘Messiah.’”

Maybe, maybe not – there’s a slew of Jesus’s out there and no one seems to mind, and then, come to think of it, using that same logic, the name David should also irk some people. So the ACLU of Tennessee got on the case, and, surprisingly, received many calls of support from the religious right, which typically threatens to blow up their offices over abortion cases.

“I got the classic call the other day,” Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, told the LA Times. “They said, ‘I really don’t like the ACLU, but I support what you are saying and doing about the baby Messiah.”

UC Davis constitutional law professor Carlton F.W. Larson said the judge’s “entire line of reasoning totally violates basic freedom of religious purposes. This kid can’t be a Messiah because the Messiah is Jesus Christ? Judges don’t get to make pronouncements on the bench about who is the Messiah and who is not.”

The ACLU’s Weinberg agreed: “The judge is crossing the line by interfering in a very private decision and is imposing her own religious faith on this family. The courtroom is not a place for promoting personal religious beliefs, and that’s exactly what the judge did when she changed the baby Messiah’s name to Martin.”

On the other hand, if a certain Miriam from Nazareth had gone ahead and changed her own child’s name to Martin, we’d all be spared a lot of embarrassment…

Israeli Judge: ‘Some Women Enjoy Being Raped’

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Six years ago, a 13 year-old Israeli woman was raped by four young Palestinians from the Shu’afat refugee camp. It happened when she was walking home, in a town located near the Hizma checkpoint. The four Arabs were convicted and imprisoned.

On Monday morning, a judicial review panel assembled in the Tel Aviv District Court to discuss at the Young woman’s appeal of a decision of the Defense Ministry not to recognize her rape as an act of terrorism, as she had requested.

In Israel, a Victim of Terrorism is a person injured as a result of a terrorist act committed for nationalistic reasons, in Israel or abroad.

Victims of terrorist attacks are eligible for compensation, pursuant to the Compensation for Victims of Hostilities Act of 1970.

Attorney Roni Aloni-Sadovnik.

Attorney Roni Aloni-Sadovnik.

During the hearing, the young woman’s attorney, Roni Aloni-Sadovnik, a well known feminist lawyer, tried to convince the panel of judges, headed by Retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge Nissim Yeshaya, that there are cases of rape whose circumstances justify recognition as an act of terrorism committed for nationalistic reasons.

Attorney Aloni-Sadovnik later described the scene that ensued to Israel Army Radio: “In the midst of the passionate debate, he (Judge Yeshaya) suddenly said aloud, in earshot of everyone present, ‘There are some girls who enjoy being raped.’”

“The room fell into silence,” the attorney continued her description. “Even the panel members were silent for several minutes. And he didn’t even get what he had just said. He didn’t understand why everyone became quiet all of a sudden.”

The rape victim was very upset and very hurt. Two panel members tried to calm the situation down and minimize the damage of the judge’s statement.

“I have no doubt he did not say these things out of malice or with an evil intent,” Aloni-Sadovnik commented. “The problem is that this is the state of mind, this is the thinking this is the prejudice against victims of sexual assault. We encounter only the tip of the iceberg when judges trip themselves and express to what’s really in their hearts.”

Courts Administration responded that “things were said in the heat of the debate, and that there was no intention to hurt or belittle the plight of rape victims. The Judge apologizes for the things he said. The Court Administration will review the case and the retired judge will be summoned for a clarification in the coming days.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-judge-some-women-enjoy-being-raped/2013/06/05/

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