Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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15 Adar 5766 - March 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Deft Political Maneuver by Rabbi Gafni Scores Gain for Dayonim

By Eliezer Rauchberger

In a 37-1 vote, the Knesset plenum passed a law that will allow the appointment of associate judges. A magistrate court or district court judge who retired will be allowed to return to the bench for a maximum of four years to help relieve the backlog of cases.

The plenum also approved an amendment submitted by MKs Rabbi Moshe Gafni and Nissim Zeev that extends the law apply also to dayonim at the Rabbinate botei din where there is also a backlog of cases.

The proposal was approved as an interim order for a period of four years, after which the issue will be raised for review. The aim of the proposal is to allow the retired judge or dayan to contribute his experience to ease the burden on the court system.

The vote on the proposed law was at first postponed when its sponsor, Constitutional Committee Chairman MK Michael Eitan (Likud), pulled it off the agenda at the last moment after realizing that it lacked a majority for passage without the amendment on the issue of extending the innovation to the Rabbinate Botei Din. Eitan was hoping to pass the bill without the amendment at a suitable opportunity.

MK Rabbi Gafni then sent a letter to the Knesset Chairman objecting to his conduct, and effectively blocked the law from being proposed without the amendment that he had added. He wrote that as it stands, the law regarding associate judges was "embroiled in controversy" because certain MKs (he and MK Nissim Zeev) wanted it to include dayonim. Generally, controversial proposals are not brought to a vote while the Knesset is meeting within a recess, as it is now. As such, Rabbi Gafni writes, Eitan should not be allowed to submit the proposal unless an agreement is reached.

Following the letter MK Eitan agreed to include the dayonim in the law, thereby making it uncontroversial and eligible for a vote during the recess meeting. It was eventually passed with the amendment that would allow associate dayonim to be appointed to the Rabbinate botei din.


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