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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tzipi Livni Movement’

Brave New Nation: 30 New Rabbinical Courts to Process Conversions

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

If you’re a student of American history, you may recall a time early in the FDR presidency, when the largely Republican appointed Supreme Court would knock down much of the Democratic president’s new legislation on constitutional grounds. Eventually, FDR announced that he would double the number of justices, appointing a kind of associate justice to every sitting member of the high court, thus completely diluting their power. The threat worked and the court became much more reasonable in dealing with the newcomer’s legislative agenda – ushering in the New Deal.

Mk Elazar Stern of the Tzipi Livni movement, who is an observant Jew, may have succeeded in doing something similar to the stranglehold that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has had on conversions, not only in Israel, but in America as well. as you may know, the Rabbinical Council of America has had the resilience of a wet shopping bag in standing up to Israel’s Rabbinate in deciding which American rabbis are approved to conduct conversions and which aren’t.

But as MK Stern has told Israel radio tonight, his new conversion bill will enable the creation of some 30 new 3-judge conversion courts throughout Israel, adding about 90 new rabbinical judges to the existing conversion system. That’s a feat that even old FDR would have admired.

According to Stern’s pending bill, which already appears to enjoy the initial, albeit tacit, support of Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home, “a city’s rabbi is permitted to establish a conversion court within his municipal authority, as needed. The confirmation by the city rabbi that a person has been accepted into the Jewish ethnic group and has had a religious conversion will constitute an official certification with no need for any additional confirmation.”

In the current coalition government, Jewish Home has a veto power over state and religion legislation. Some in the party support the Stern Bill, some are not sure. The faction has asked Stern for two weeks, during which they’ll deliberate the issue with the two chief rabbis who are livid, apparently. They really don’t like the Stern bill. They’re Haredim, they were elected against the wishes of Jewish Home leader and Minister of Religious services Bennett, so of course they hate it. But some of the Zionist Haredim, such as Rabbi Yaakov Ariel and Rabbi Dov Lior, also oppose the bill.

Rabbi Ariel told the website Srugim that he is against the bill because he likes things the way they are today, when there’s only one source of approval or disapproval for conversions in Israel. He fears a situation whereby some courts will get a reputation for being too easy on candidates for conversion, and then he and his colleagues would be forced to research every single conversion that comes before them for, say, the purpose of marrying another Jewish person.

Yes, having just one court is so much easier on rabbis.

At this point it looks like Jewish Home will not use its veto power to kill the Stern legislation, but they might ask for a few improvements. Control of the standards of conversion seems to be a major issue for the Haredim. Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, Jewish Home, made an effort to calm everyone involved, promising to work together with the President of the Supreme Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, an expert on conversions, on a version of the bill that the two chief rabbis would approve.

The chief rabbis are no fools, they understand that MK Stern represents a very large majority of Israelis who wish to see the monopoly over everything Jewish wrested from the hands of the chief Rabbinate. This is why Chief Sephardi Rabbi, Rav Yitzhak Yosef (same name, different rabbi) has already expressed his trust in Ben Dahan’s ability to reach the kind of language for the new law that would “maintain the unity and wholeness of the people of Israel.”

That’s code for giving the chief rabbinate back some control over the conversion process.

The Reform Movement, nebech, has expressed its reserved support for the new bill. They approve, of course, of anything that would give the chief rabbinate a bloody nose. On the other hand, none of the proceedings mentioned above comes even close to recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions inside Israel. So they hate it.

Interior Minister to Legalize Tyranny under Guise of Good Govt.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

If you’re an American citizen, and are used to antiquated things like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, you may start thinking that the story on your screen is taking place in Saudi Arabia, or some other a-democratic feudal society. So I want to reassure you that it’s taking place in Israel, where the box cover declares a democracy, but the inside is Bolshevik through and through.

Israeli Interior Minister Gideom Sa’ar is expected to disseminate next week a memorandum of law that would make it possible for a committee appointed by the Interior Ministry to suspend for a year the heads of municipalities facing serious criminal charges, Israel Radio reports.

According to the memorandum, should the accused survive his or her trial, they could return to their elected office.

The appointed committee, comprised, presumably, of civil servants, employees of the Interior Ministry, will be empowered to extend the suspensions should the accused mayor’s trial not be over.

The memorandum is based on a bill proposed by Labor MK Moshe Mizrachi earlier this year, supported by pillars of democracy like MK Dov Lipman of Yeash Atid and MK Eliezer Stern of the Tzipi Livni Movement.

The three authors of the bill wrote: “In light of the current judicial situation, a legal void exists regarding a situation in which criminal charges have been issued against a serving municipal head.”

The “legal void” those three democrats are referring to is the archaic principle of “Innocent until proven guilty.” Apparently, that idea gets in the way of good government, which will hence be defined as “government not yet charged with a crime.”

What you see here is a blatant attempt on the part of these three MKs, Interior Minister Sa’ar and the band of clerks collecting a paycheck at the Interior Ministry, to subvert the will of the voters and to make for them better choices than they, the voters, could have made with their limited intelligence and very busy lives.

I would venture that such a law could be planted anywhere in the Iranian legal system and blend right in. There is no difference, in principle, between Minister Gideon Sa’ar picking the most fitting candidate for a given municipality – and the Supreme Leader dropping Ahmadinejad and choosing Rouhani. In both cases, there is no real play for the will of the voter.

According to the law today, a mayor must resign his post only after he or she have been convicted for a crime that “bears shame.” Such a crime, incidentally, is entirely up to the taste and preference of the presiding judge, and can stretch from embezzling to blocking an intersection during a demonstration.

Also, according to the law as it stands today, the elected city council may decide to impeach a sitting mayor for improper behavior.

Our Supreme Court, which is more Alice in Wonderland red Queen’s court any given day, recently decided that the decision by the city councils of Natzrat Illit and Ramat Hasharon not to impeach their respective mayors despite the fact that said mayors had been charged with crimes – is unacceptable.

You’re getting this? The law says the city council must use its judgment whether or not to impeach its mayor over the fact that there are charges pending against him or her – but the Supreme Court sees that exercise as having to result only one way: in impeachment. Nothing else will do.

These people won’t recognize a democracy if it landed in their shrimp cocktail and caused the shpritzed juice to spell out Habeas Corpus on their white tablecloth.

Nevertheless, the high court did not decide against the criminally charged mayors’ right to run for office again – and they both ran and they both won, by hefty margins.

The court wrote in its decision: “It is a well known judicial principal that as long as a person has not been convicted, he is considered innocent (Pheew, they are familiar with the concept!). However, we must be more severe in our treatment of elected officials, and as soon as they have been charged they must suspend themselves immediately.”

I believe this is the precise definition of tyranny: an appointed government prosecutor decides to charge an elected mayor – and that, by itself, regardless of the chances of the charges to be proven, the mere fact that the clerk sent papers to the court saying the mayor is accused of a crime – that should subvert, at once, the will of the people.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/interior-minister-to-legalize-tyranny-under-guise-of-good-govt/2013/10/30/

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