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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘law’

Law And Order – Or Chaos?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

If a novice were to ask for my counsel about going into public service and running for higher office, I would start with this tidbit of advice: Pick a side. You are either for law and order or you’re against it.

And if you’re against law and order, find another career path. Elected officials owe it to their constituents to hold the law and those who defend it in the highest regard.

As we saw with the events surrounding Occupy Wall Street, certain elected officials – to say nothing of some community leaders – are too quick to ride populist waves, sowing seeds of anger and tacitly encouraging lawlessness and violence. And now, as this summer of discontent unfolds and policemen are randomly assassinated in the streets, precisely because they are policemen, many are wondering how it ever got this far, while in fact we should be worrying about how much further it will go… and for how long.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In Pirke Avot 3:2, Rabbi Chanina the deputy high priest taught, “Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, men would swallow one another alive.”

In 1964, pressured by a non-violent civil rights movement and under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited segregation in public accommodations and made discrimination in education and employment illegal. In 1965 Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which suspended the use of any voter qualification devices that prevented blacks from voting. Other civil rights battles still lay ahead, but the civil rights movement had used a campaign of nonviolent actions to end centuries of open, legal racism in the United States.

A half-century later, we’ve allowed a quest for justice to devolve into absurd political correctness. Being pro-equal rights does not mean having to tolerate crime, regardless of the race of the perpetrators, or of the victims. Being anti-prejudice should not require blindness to facts or tolerance of abhorrent happenstances.

Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind. When we tie the hands of our police, we make it impossible for them to effectively protect our citizens. When we take away police-recommended (and highly effective) measures like stop and frisk from law enforcement, we make it harder (and sometimes impossible) for them to enforce the law.

But this is what our elected officials did. And in so doing, they encouraged some people to hate the police. The president of the United States, above all other U.S. elected officials, should be an icon of law and order for all of us. But how many of our citizens – even his political supporters – regard him that way? His refusal to condemn groups that encourage violence against police amounts to a deafening silence. How much the more so other elected officials closer to home?

First they sow seeds of discontent, then we all reap the whirlwind.

Clearly, as we define deviancy down (as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan phrased it) and watch the disintegration of law and order in America – as public urination is decriminalized in our city and police are shot at all over our nation – the connection should be clear.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Perhaps it’s time to consider a new direction – respect for the police and law and order – and find more satisfying outcomes.

State Senator Simcha Felder

Knesset Passes Law Assigning Running State Mikvahs to Chief Rabbinate

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Following a lengthy debate and numerous objections, on Monday night the Knesset plenum passed the amended Jewish Religious Services Bill by a 41 to 35 majority. The amended law, proposed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and endorsed by several MKs, will require that state-run mikvahs-ritual baths be subject solely to the directives of the Chief Rabbinate. The law will take effect within nine months of its passage in order to allow preparation for the new amendment.

The explanation attached to the bill reads, “Since the inception of the State of Israel, the mikvahs have been used for halakhic traditions and customs, and for this purpose they were allotted public funding for construction and maintenance. In the wake of petitions by entities wishing to destroy the accepted foundations of Judaism that have been in existence for thousands of years, the High Court has ruled that various sects should be permitted to use the mikvahs to their various ends.”

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said that “this is the first time that a mikvah, which is a place of purity, has become a place of exclusion. We view this as discrimination under primary legislation.”

“Others who are hurt by this are, of course, our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Diaspora,” Lavie continued. “Once again they receive the ‘heartwarming’ message that the State of Israel doesn’t count them in. Not at the Western Wall, or in marriages, or in conversions, and now at the mikvahs, too — you have no place in the State of Israel.”

“This law is neither Jewish, nor legal, nor democratic,” Lavie added.

Meretz Chair MK Zehava Galon said the law is part of a “battle over the face and character of Israeli society.” Turning to the ultra-Orthodox MKs, Galon said, “You feel threatened? Why? Because someone is trying to undermine your monopoly over the Rabbinate, over Orthodoxy, over a pluralistic and equal life here?”

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Camp) said, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated so many times that every Jew, wherever he may be, should consider Israel his national home. So what do they do in order that a Jew feel at home in Israel? They do not allow him to wed in a civil marriage; they do not allow him to be buried next to his loved ones if he is defined as someone who is not worthy of burial in a Jewish cemetery; they do not allow him to convert in an appropriate and respectful manner; and then they pass the Mikvah Law which deals a devastating blow to all those who underwent a Reform or Conservative conversion, which is about 20 percent of all converts.”

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), who is an Orthodox rabbi, also expressed his objection to the legislation. “MK Gafni, why does it bother you that a Reform woman immerses in a mikvah?” Glick asked the bill’s author. “She does not stop you from immersing. Why do we need this divisiveness? You said the Jewish Agency will build mikvahs (for the non-Orthodox), but a representative of the Agency told me they do not plan to build any,” he said. Glick held a 30-second moment of silence in the plenum in protest of the legislation.

MK Gafni argued back, saying his law is not discriminatory. “All the claims made here that this constitutes a ‘selection’ are baseless,” he said, adding, “There was a violation of the status quo by the High Court of Justice; we asked that the status quo not be violated. Reform Jews in the US don’t have a single mikvah. All of a sudden they need a mikvah over here? This law aims to prevent the Reform from getting this legitimization through the back door.”

Jewish Agency of Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky has released a statement in response to the passage of the bill, saying, “This bill, which offers no solution to the non-Orthodox denominations, circumvents the rulings of the High Court of Justice. It is unfortunate that the bill passed before such a solution was ensured.”


After Filibuster Knesset Passes ‘Dismissal Law’ Empowering It to Oust Sitting MK

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

The Knesset late Tuesday night passed into law a bill that allows it to remove a sitting lawmaker from office. According to the so-called “Impeachment Law,” which passed by a 62 to 45 vote, the Knesset can oust a legislator for incitement to racism and support of armed struggle against the state—which many in Israel’s media have said makes the law all but tailor-made for the inequities of one MK — the vociferous Haneen Zoabi (Joint Arab List). Incidentally, since Zoabi’s own party members have already ousted her from a realistic spot for the next Knesset elections, it is doubtful the law will be employed any time soon.

Another obvious reason why the new law is unlikely to be used in the foreseeable future is the fact that it requires a majority of 90 lawmakers to launch expulsion proceedings, following which the votes of 70 out of the 120 MKs are required to oust a sitting legislator, and those votes must include 10 opposition lawmakers.

So the new law is all for show.

The vote itself Tuesday night was great parliamentary theater, as opposition MKs who had submitted hundreds of objections to the bill, which they were set to discuss into the wee hours, suddenly withdrew them in a hurry and demanded the vote be held immediately, when they realized that the 66-seat coalition did not have enough members present to pass the vote. But the coalition whips were not born yesterday, and they managed to filibuster the vote until enough lawmakers had been rustled in to guarantee a majority.

The filibuster method they used was perhaps less elegant than those late night readings of the Cat in the Hat by US Senators, but it was just as effective: Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin stood at the podium and repeated the phrase: “Today it has become clear that the Labor party and Yesh Atid work for Haneen Zoabi. You should be ashamed of yourselves.” He just kept saying this mantra until enough coalition MKs had arrived.

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) said about the new law: “There will be a big stain on the Knesset if we allow this law to pass.”

Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) opened the debate over the new law, saying, “The Knesset will no longer be a shroud for terrorism and racism. Members of the Knesset whose salary is paid by the state cannot use it to undermine the state’s foundations.” He added: “If there is an MK who is thinking of being involved with racism, I hope this law will deter him and we will not have to use it.”

Opposition MKs said the law itself was racist, targeting as it does an Arab House member, which would technically mean that MK Slomiansky could become the first target of the Dismissal Law, in an M. C. Escher-like serpentine of parliamentary cause and effect.

Under the law, an MK may not face impeachment proceedings during an election campaign, 180 days before Election Day.

The impeachment proceedings would begin with a request which shall be submitted to the Knesset Speaker. The Speaker will pass the request to the Knesset Committee for discussion. Approval of the request will require support from a three-quarter majority of the Knesset Committee members. After approval by the committee, the request shall be submitted for final approval by the Knesset plenum.


New Israeli Law Compels Couples to Undergo Counseling Before Divorce

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

As of Sunday, a new Israeli law titled the Domestic Dispute Settlement Act requires couples to make an attempt to resolve their disputes through peaceful means before they can embark on divorce proceedings. The new law is the result of a collaboration between Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), and MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi), Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp), and Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid).

Minster Shaked said in a statement about the new law: “It is our duty to protect the children, and I’m sure this is what the parents want more than anything else. In the end they remain parents even when they are no longer a couple.”

According to the new law, before a couple is allowed to start divorce proceedings, the couple must engage in up to four meetings, at the state’s expense, to try to resolve their differences through peaceful mediation in order to avoid dragging their disputes to court. The couple’s first meeting will be in a therapeutic setting, without their attorneys present. During this initial meeting the support unit will determine the character of the next three meetings — whether the couple should engage in more therapy without their lawyers, or should move ahead to mediations, with their lawyers present.

The process of having the therapeutic and/or mediation meetings before being able to file for divorce will take 45 days.

MK Michaeli believes the new law will cut down the number of divorces in Israel. “The dispute will begin, instead of with courtroom wars, with a session at the nearby support unit, where the couple will arrive for four meetings at the state’s expense, completely confidential, where they’ll receive information on ways to manage their dispute without starting world war three and without tearing up their children,” MK Michaeli said.

Some couples who are already in the midst of their divorce proceedings have told Army Radio that the new law is ineffective and only complicates things. The new law is also not a favorite of divorce lawyers, who have been enjoying a bonanza in recent years, with the rate of divorce in Israel soaring.

Some women’s advocates have argued that in cases of a violent husband who beats up his wife and engages in vindictive action against her, the 45 days of therapy will only extend the woman’s suffering.


Official: Israeli CEO Salary Cap Law May Result in Hundreds Fleeing Banking Industry

Monday, June 20th, 2016

As many as 80 senior employees at Israel’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, are threatening to leave shortly, in response to a new law capping the salaries of senior bank officers, Israel Army Radio reported Monday. The report cites a letter from the Supervisor of Banks in Israel Bank Hedva Bar to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), which warns that as many as 215 senior bank administrators are expected to retire from the two top banks. Bar added that in the rest of Israel’s banks the numbers of departing administrators would be smaller.

So far Bank Hapoalim CEO Zion Keinan and the number two administrator at Bank Leumi Danny Tsiddon have already retired, and according to Bar there are 39 high ranking administrators at Hapolalim and 43 at Leumi who are at a very high risk of retiring.

These figures are particularly worrisome to Bar, who wrote that such mass departure could expose the banks to a real crisis — a managerial breakdown as well as a loss of knowledge and experience. The banks are preparing for such a scenario and have set aside the funds in case all these CEOs would be leaving close to one another and the banks would have to lay out their severance pay all at once — about $70 million.

Meanwhile, the banks have lost their first appeal to the Supreme Court against the salary cap law. And the Knesset, the Finance Ministry and Israel Bank have informed the court that they object to an interim ruling on the senior CEO salary cap law. The banks were asking for the time out to try to figure out whether the salary cap would include the severance and pension benefits the senior bank administrators have accumulated — would those funds also be limited to $650 thousand a year like the capped salaries? The banks fear that if the caps apply retroactively and include severance pay and pensions, a much larger number of bank officials would be seeking to leave before the law goes into effect in October.

The Knesset and the State argued in court that the banks are actually requesting the suspension of a law that otherwise passes constitutional muster in the eyes of the high court — something the court has applied on very rare occasions in the past.

The Knesset and the State also told the court that, assuming the appeal hearings would take roughly three weeks, this should be ample time for the banks to figure out the intricacies of the law and whether or not it applies retroactively.


Tunnel Digging Part of New War on Terror Law Passed by Knesset

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The Knesset on Wednesday night, following a lengthy debate, passed in a second and third and final vote the War on Terror Law 5776-2016,by a 57 to 16 majority. The new law includes stricter punishment for terrorists and expands the state’s legal means of fighting them, including, for the first time, making digging a tunnel for terrorist purposes a criminal act.

The new law eliminates the emergency regulations which have been used since the establishment of the state. One of the new law’s provisions says that the punishment of a terrorist sentenced to life in prison may not be reconsidered during the first 15 years. It also punishes with 5 years’ imprisonment the direct incitement or encouragement for acts of terrorism. The new law does not require proof of any actual act of terrorism that resulted from the incitement.

The new law authorizes the defense minister to impose administrative forfeiture of the property of individuals suspected of security violations. It also empowers government to prevent an attorney representing two clients involved in the same investigation from meeting his clients. The law also imposes seven years’ imprisonment on a person threatening to carry out a violation that would be punishable by a life sentence.

The new law also revises the court procedures in terrorism cases, including interviewing a witness outside court, pre-trial testimony, statute of limitation on terrorist acts, detention of a security suspect, diversions from the rules of evidence, and concealed evidence.

Altogether, the new law cancels out two laws, two orders, and dozens of emergency Defense Regulations. It also modifies a long list of sub-items in as many as 14 existing laws.

Constitution Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) who presented the bill for its final vote said that the conformation of the new law nullifies “60 laws and rules dating back to King George VI, so this is a kind of Day of Independence.” He praised the new law for emanating directly from Israel’s real, everyday experiences, “the real life in the State of Israel.”

MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) said that the only way to fight terrorism effectively is to eliminate the motivation for terrorism. She voted against the bill , saying, “I think it won’t do one thing: it won’t really provide tools for the war on terror, instead it will place us yet again on the list of countries that take advantage of a democracy’s ability to carry out anti-democratic legislation.”

The Arab MKs objected to the new law, saying it was anti-Arab rather than anti-terrorism. But MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) said in response that despite the fact that the law is complex, it is an Israeli law and not an anti-Arab law, “and it’s a law intended to protect all the citizens of Israel, since terror, if I may remind you, my friends, does not tell the difference between those sitting by this table or the other.”


Knesset Extends Law Limiting Arab Family Reunification in Israel

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Knesset plenum on Monday extended by a year an emergency provision that restricts the ability of residents of Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip to automatically gain legal status in Israel under the Family Reunification Law.

The Family Reunification Law grants automatic legal status to foreign nationals who marry Israeli citizens. The provision to the law, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, was first enacted in 2003 at the height of the Second Intifada. While the Supreme Court banned the provision from being permanently added, the Knesset has voted to extend the temporary act as an emergency measure every year since 2004.

Sixty-five MKs voted in favor of extending the provision until June 20, 2017, while 14 opposed.

“In the war against terror there is no one switch that stops all the attacks; there are a number of switches, and one of them is the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which was enacted in 2003 during the Second Intifada, when hundreds of Israelis were murdered and thousands more were injured in terror attacks,” said MK Avi Dichter (Likud), chairman of the joint committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee, which discussed the various aspects of the provision.

“One way of dealing with this is self-flagellation, which has become popular as of late,” Dichter continued. “There are those who say we treat the Arabs as an inferior race and compare us to Nazi Germany. A mayor became a star on Al-Jazeera when he said the terror attack in Tel Aviv was the result of the occupation. A ‘we apologize for winning’ attitude has been created here. The other way is to understand that the barrel of terror has a bottom. There are ways to fight terror, and this law is one of them.”

Ahead of this year’s vote to extend the act, the joint committee heard testimony from experts and security officials on the effects of the provision.

A representative of the Shin Bet internal security service said those seeking reunification with family members in Israel pose a security risk due to the possibility that they will be used to carry out terror attacks or engage in espionage. According to the Shin Bet, 104 citizens or legal residents who had been brought into Israel under the Family Reunification Law had committed acts of terrorism from 2001 to 2016. Of those 104, 17 had married Israeli citizens, while 87 were relatives of those who had married Israelis.

The Shin Bet official also noted that residents brought into Israel under the Family Reunification Law were playing an increasing role in terrorism. He noted that 73% of terrorists with Israeli citizenship who had committed acts of terror against Israelis since the beginning of the terror wave last September were brought in as part of family reunification.

Of the 104 terrorists who entered Israel in this manner, 30 had committed terror attacks over the past nine months. He also noted they were responsible for 13% of all terror attacks in the recent terror wave.

During Monday’s plenary debate, MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint Arab List) called the law “the most racist in the Israeli book of laws,” and said the statistics presented to the joint committee were misleading because residents of eastern Jerusalem who took part in terror attacks over the past year have nothing to do with family reunification. “In practice, barely one out of every 1,000 people who carried out terror attacks since 2003 are living here by virtue of family reunification,” Sa’adi told the plenum.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/knesset-extends-law-limiting-arab-family-reunification-in-israel/2016/06/14/

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