Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5766 - May 31, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Politica: Changing the System

by E. Rauchberger

David Tal (Kadima) tabled a bill to change the way the president and vice president of the High Court are selected. According to the current law the most veteran judge serving on the High Court takes over when the president retires. The same applies regarding the vice president.

Tal wants to introduce a law making the Knesset responsible for appointing both the president and vice president for seven-year terms. According to the proposed legislation, the Knesset would only be able to choose among the judges already sitting on the High Court.

High Court President Aharon Barak is scheduled to retire soon, to be replaced by Judge Dorit Beinish, currently the most senior of the High Court judges. Her appointment has to receive the approval of the Judicial Appointments Committee, which is headed by the Justice Minister.

At a recent Bar Association conference the current justice minister, Chaim Ramon, hinted it is not at all certain that Beinish will become the next High Court president.

Tal and Ramon have strong ties. Tal is essentially Ramon's MK in Kadima. But regardless of whether Tal's proposal was submitted at Ramon's behest, any change in the selection process for the High Court president would certainly be welcome. The judges there do not represent the public, except perhaps a small handful of elitists from North Tel Aviv and Rechavia.

In a recent interview with Ha'aretz outgoing VP Judge Mishel Cheshin, known for saying whatever pops into his head, lodged stiff criticism of his president's stance on the Citizenship Law, saying Barak doesn't care if another 30-50 terrorists blow themselves up, as long as no harm is done to human dignity.

When Cheshin realized what he had blurted out he retracted the remark, saying it was a slip of the tongue based on an emotional storm — but the thing was already said. And his remark serves as a clear indication of just how far the Court President is from the public in terms of his opinions, desires and world view and attests to the need to change the selection system.

The Anti-Teshuvoh Bill

Warning: Chaim Oron (Meretz) has tabled a bill aimed at curtailing the activities of the teshuvoh movement.

The law carries a six-month jail sentence for acting "directly or indirectly to persuade a minor to do teshuvoh as part of an organization whose aim is to have people do teshuvoh." Oron defines teshuvoh as "transforming an individual from secular to religious."

In the explanatory material on the law Oron writes, "In light of the increased number of cases in which various religious organizations in Israel persuade minors to do teshuvoh through activities, disseminating material including threats in schools and other means, it has been proposed to ban by penal law direct or indirect activities by those who operate as part of these types of organizations in order to persuade minors to do teshuvoh."

Oron even goes one step further. "From a practical standpoint persuading [people] to do teshuvoh resembles persuading [people] to convert to another religion, which is prohibited by Paragraph 368 of the Penal Code."

Heaven help us. How far can a leftist fall into decline? How can one draw a comparison between persuading a child to keep the mitzvas of his people, the mitzvas his forefathers received on Mount Sinai and kept with mesirus nefesh and love, to persuading a person to convert, in which case which we are commanded to give our lives rather than transgress?

The chareidi MKs will probably make every effort to prevent this foolish bill from passing even a preliminary vote, for if it gains momentum, chas vesholom, it could deal a blow to the blessed work of introducing wayward children to the Jewish legacy.

Where Oron got the idea that teshuvoh organizations disseminate threatening material in schools remains a mystery. Teshuvoh work is done only through darkei noam, not by force, for this is darkoh shel Torah.

Why does Oron believe that to disseminate material in schools on every topic under the sun is permissible — except for material on Judaism and the Jewish tradition? Why is it fine to persuade a child to join a soccer team or take judo, but wrong to persuade him to come to Tehillim or a shiur on Parshas Hashavua? Why is it that when it comes to religion the lofty ideals of democratic liberalism suddenly vanish, particularly among the enlightened folk at Meretz?

When they sink low they sink very low. What could be more absurd than to put someone who tries to bring a child a bit of Yiddishkeit behind bars for six months like a common criminal?

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