Jan 30, 2014

Proposed Law: what City Rabbis can and cannot say

Freedom of speech out the window, thought police front and center.. That's been the trend. Even when it sometimes makes some sort of sense, such as when it was proposed to make it illegal to call someone a Nazi, or when it does not make all that sense, such as when Yair Lapid threatened the Chief Rabbis for sticking to an opinion held by the Chief Rabbinate for 65 years.. either way the thought police are gaining more traction.

Now, they want to further legislate what can and cannot be said..

Minister of Justice Tzippi Livni and Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan are cooperating to propose a law that would limit the freedom of expression for rabbis employed by the State of Israel as city rabbis.

The main part of the proposal is that it would be illegal for City Rabbis to express themselves in opposition to a position held by the government, by a government ministry or by the decision of any minister.

The proposal would also have a judge at the head of the disciplinary board for city rabbis, instead of the way it is today with a dayan at the head of the disciplinary board. This makes rabbis different than other State employees, in that others, such as judges, lawyers, accountants, and other State employees are judged by their professional peers.
source: NRG

Examples of the ramifications of this law proposals:
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against women being drafted to the army..
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against public transportation on Shabbos
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against some aspect of the peace process
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against the television tax
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against migrant policy
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against price regulation of milk and bread
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against gay rights
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against the drafting of yeshiva bochurim
 * if a city or chief rabbi speaks out against forcing general education in the haredi school system

(regardless of my position on some of these issues, I do not believe people who think differently than me should not be allowed to express their opinion)

and so on and so forth. you get the point. Basically, if the rabbi says anything against government policy, if he expresses what he thinks the halacha or Jewish tradition should say in opposition to any government policy on anything, he will be brought for disciplinary hearings and possibly fired. If he appeals the decision of the disciplinary board, the case will be heard by the Supreme Court.

I can understand not letting a State employee, chief or city rabbi included, speak against government policy regarding issues not relevant to his job... but to not allow a rabbi to voice his opinion on halacha or Jewish tradition just because it goes against government policy? What's the point of the rabbinate of that's the case? If this becomes law, it is just another reason to cancel the State rabbinate - it is a meaningless office if their only mandate is to uphold any position held by any minister, no matter its position in regard to the Torah.

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  1. I have to say I'm surprised at Ben Dahan. I thought he was better than that.

  2. There was no doubt when people voted for Bayit Yehudi that they would get stuff like this. Voting for Bayit Yehudi in the local elections will contribute to the Bayit Yehudi effort to separate state and religion.

  3. Just like the Rabbinical appointees during Czarist Russia, when you think about it.


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