Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

3 AdarI 5760 - February 9, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Storm in the Knesset Regarding Blasphemous Remarks Against Gedolei Hador

by Eliezer Rauchberger

A storm erupted in the Knesset plenum last week when Shinui MK Paritzki uttered outrageous words of blasphemy against gedolei hador. Knesset members from UTJ and Shas protested vociferously against his appalling statements and did not let Paritzki continue speaking. This resulted in a ruckus which continued for quite a while even after Paritzki stepped down.

The incident occurred in the middle of deliberations on proposals for the day's agenda raised by a number of Knesset members, among them MKs Rabbi Moshe Gafni and David Tal of Shas. They sought to protest remarks by State Prosecutor Edna Arbel who had said that HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv's criticism of the High Court contained "an element of violence."

Rabbi Gafni stressed that the State Prosecutor had behaved in an untoward manner, and he demanded that the Justice Minster reach the correct conclusions regarding her dismissal. "She has transformed the State from a democratic to a communist one. Do you want to send us to Siberia? Insolence! Impudence!" he cried out.

He then noted that HaRav Eliashiv had criticized intervention by the High Court in ideological and religious and issues as well as in issues of conscience. "Aren't we allowed to express our beliefs? Apparently our spiritual leaders are forbidden to say what is said by everyone else who criticizes the High Court, including the former Chief Justice of the High Court, its former vice president, judges, Knesset members, ministers, public figures, jurists and journalists."

MK David Tal asked why secular figures may legitimately criticize the High Court, while similar remarks by a religious person become a cause for attack and instigation. "With all due respect to Ms. Arbel," he said, "I think that her remarks contain two elements: audacity and bias, and I protest."

Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, responding in the name of the Government, defended Ms. Arbel and even leveled his own criticism -- albeit more restrained and indirect -- against HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv's remarks, saying that "they are not simple." Beilin claimed that while it is legitimate to criticize a particular High Court verdict, issuing general criticism against the High Court by saying that it defies the Torah is problematic.

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