Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Av 5764 - July 28, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Assistant Attorney General Opposes Mezuzoh Law
by Eliezer Rauchberger

Attorney Yehoshua Shifman, assistant to the Attorney General, joined Shinui MKs on Monday in voicing opposition to proposed legislation to require a mezuzoh be posted on every public facility in Israel. Proposed by MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (UTJ), the bill was passed by a large majority in a preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum and Monday the Interior Committee began preparing the bill for a first reading.

Committee Chairman MK Yuri Stern (HaIchud HaLeumi) said Jewish signs and symbols should be strengthened in Israeli society in public facilities. "Unfortunately, we have become a country that scorns national symbols," said Stern, speaking in support of the bill.

MK Rabbi Litzman said the bill aims to require every doorway built in the future in the Jewish sector to bear a mezuzoh.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said the bill does not entail any significant budget funding and is not an act of coercion since mezuzas would only be required in public facilities which belong to the entire public. Those who oppose the bill are opposed to Judaism, he said.

Attorney Shifman claims the drafting of the bill is unclear since it does not specify whether mezuzas would have to be posted on all doorways or just at the main door. "Out of respect for halacha this bill is out of place," he opined.

MK Chemi Doron (Shinui) said the bill aims to transform the State of Israel into a nation based on halachah. MK Roni Brizon (Shinui) claimed, "This bill is an unconstitutional law and as such it is the epitome of coercion." Whoever votes in favor of the bill, he said, "takes the Shulchan Oruch and tries to bring it into the law book of the State of Israel. This should be avoided out of honor to Judaism."

A debate also developed over the cost of the law because the draft of the bill does not make it clear whether it would apply only to public facilities to be built after it takes effect or to existing buildings as well. In the former case it would cost only NIS 1.7 million ($380,000), whereas in the latter case the cost would come to over NIS 200 million ($45 million) based an a figure of 75,000 existing buildings, including schools, kindergartens, day-care centers, clinics, and so forth.


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