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Feb 27, 2012

MK Gafni Sued For Supporting Disengagement

In a sad, and pointless, lawsuit, 3 families who had been evicted from their homes in Gush Katif and Sa-Nur (in the Shomron) are suing MK Moshe Gafni personally for his part in allowing the Disengagement to happen. (source: Srugim)

While Gafni and the other haredi MKs voted against the Disengagement, they did continue to prop up the Sharon government when it was teetering through those politically precarious times, and specifically they voted to approve the 2005 budget. The passing of the 2005 budget was crucial to allow the Disengagement to happen, as the budget passing had already passed its deadline and was about to finish the extension period. Any further delays would have forced new elections.

I took a look back and see that the budget was passed by a vote of 58-36 and really hinged on the 700 million NIS given to Shinui to vote in favor (with 14 votes), rather than on the 290 million NIS given to UTJ. Either way, UTJ does bear at least some responsibility for the Disengagement.

Also, I am not sure Gafni needs to bear the legal brunt of an entire government as if he alone caused the Disengagement to happen, that he should be held personally responsible. It does not seem judicious to me that Gafni should bear the blame of the entire government.

Regardless, these families are suing MK Gafni in the beis din of Rav Avraham Dov Levin in Jerusalem (as an aside, the beis din of Rav Levin in Jerusalem was the location of the strange story reported in June 2011 of a lawyer reincarnated as a dog and hanging around the entrance of the beis din looking for forgiveness) for his part in being responsible for enabling the Disengagement.

The 3 families say they decided to sue Gafni in beis din because "in beis din the "smallest" Jew is able to sue the "biggest" Jew. Everybody is equal in the law, there is no statue of limitations and there are no excuses of "national security"."

MK Moshe Gafni responded saying the lawsuit is not against him but against the rabbonim and gedolim who direct the decisions of UTJ. Gafni is also trying to have the venue moved to the beis din of Rav Karelitz in Bnei Braq, saying that the defendant has the right to choose the beis din in his city.

The families suing see Rav karelitz's beis din as being favorable to Gafni as 3 dayanim of the beis din have already written that the gedolim are over the messengers and they are the ones who are meant to judge the actions of the messengers, for good or for bad". Beis din is supposed to be impartial and judge everybody equally. they are not supposed to have already decided just because one side is connected to the gedolim. I can see them saying the case has no merits and should be dismissed because Gafni is not the one who made the decision on the budget vote, and the families should be suing the panel of rabbonim who make the decisions. But to say that only the gedolim can judge the messengers seems to me to be directly against the prohibitions of לא תעשו עול במשפט לא תשא פני דל ולא תהדר פני גדול, בצדק תשפט עמיתך.


  1. It is ironic how the same haredi parties which whine and cry incessantly about the haredi housing crisis were MORE THAN HAPPY to expel non-haredi Jews from their houses, in exchange for money.

    It is ironic how the same haredi parties who claim to 'hoist the flag' against grave (and shabbat) desecration were more than happy to support the Gush Katif expulsion which entailed both (ask the widows and orphans who had to sit SHIVA again as United "Tora" Judiasm pocketed the 290 million shekels).

    And of course haredi leadership is immune to criticism - any legitimate critism of their perfidious actions is 'anti haredi' and 'stoking hatred.'

    And of course, Orwellian style, in 2005 and thereafter you could not find ONE WORD in the haredi press about the treacherous policies of the haredi politicians which would have been opposed by the good haredi Jews. Just like Shas will NEVER mention their support of Oslo (for -- you guessed it -- money) - never did, never will.

  2. I agree that the prime responsbility of the Gush Katif expulsion is with Ariel Sharon.
    HOWEVER .....
    My wife used to teach in a nominally religious high school were the kids were not really from frum homes. Once she 'caught' a couple walking hand-in-hand in public -- she said to them, 'if you are going to act this way, the least you can do is take off your kippah first to avoid the hilul hashem.'
    THIS is advice to Gafni, Eichler and all of UTJ - if you are going to dispossess and endanger Jews in exchange for MONEY, at least take your kippah off first.

  3. For 7 years now I have held a bitter grudge against UTJ for this. At the time I was totally mortified, shellshocked, sickened. I could not believe that so-called frum Jews could, in good conscience, accept such a blatant and transparent bribe at the expense of their Jewish brothers. I cannot forgive them; it is not even for me to forgive. They need to grovel in front of the Gush Katif expellees and beg forgiveness.

    And they should pay. I am very happy that someone is bringing the case to Din Torah.

    And don't give me shtick about how they got instructions from the "Gedolim". If they did get any psak from R' Elyashiv or another other posek, it's only because they fed him only the information they wanted him to hear, and manipulated the answer to be what they wanted. And if you don't believe that, then you're faced with a worse alternative - that R' Elyashiv himself didn't care about his fellow Yidden.

    Until they express remorse - and pay - for what they did, I cannot see how any frum Jew can support them.

  4. as wrong as what they did was, I dont see how it gives Gafni personal responsibility as if he was responsible for the Disnegagement

  5. Rafi G - don't know if what you're saying is correct. What's the halacha if I'm part of a mob of 50 people that sets fire to your house, and you want to bring me to Din Torah: can I claim that I should only pay 1/50 of the damages and you need to sue the other 49 people to get the rest? Or are all 50 of us jointly and severally liable for the damages?

  6. interesting question, but I think there is a difference. In your casem the person himself is part of the mob going out andd doing the damage.

    In Gafni's case, he didnt physcially do any damage and I dont think "shlichus" applies. Even if it does, he did not vote in favior of the disengagement, which would have been a direct cause. He supported the budget which is fairly indirect in relationship to the disengagement.

    So I dont think the analogy works,

  7. Gotta agree strongly with Rafi G on this one. If you can sue an MK for any vote you don't like, nobody would be able to serve in the Knesset or the government. The left can sue the right-wing MKs because they claim Israel is being damaged by the settlements. If anyone puts their mind to it, they should be able to find infinite examples of potential lawsuits. Anyway, why Gafni? Because he's haredi? Because religious people expected better from the haredi MKs? It's the same argument the haredim use against the dati leumi when they take a position the haredim don't consider sufficiently frum - such as their anger at Otniel Schneller, a religious MK from Kadima, over his sponsership of the organ donation law, a very good bill in my opinion by the way. It's just not fair to Gafni on any number of levels, no matter how much one might hate the disengagement.

  8. Rafi G / Baruch - you are probably right, and I seriously doubt whether any Beis Din could award damages in this case.

    But the moral liability is still there. You are not chayav in Beis Din for Grama, but you are chayav midinei Shamayim.

    And these same "Yarei Shamayim" MKs who supported the budget and stabbed the Jews of Gush Katif in the back, are still sitting in the Knesset and whining about their yeshivos that aren't getting enough money. And they don't even have the busha to admit that they did wrong.

    If nothing else, I hope this Din Torah has the effect of making them do a little soul searching about their role in the expulsion. But maybe that's asking too much...

  9. I still want to sue r o yosef for oslo agreements...he got $40,000,000 for his party for that.

  10. Here' what Rav Shach had to say: "For according to the Torah laws, whoever takes a bribe is disqualified to pronounce judgement, whereas here all the members of Knesset take bribes. Only this week, the prime minister and his ministers convinced some of the factions to vote for them in exchange for a bribe, promising six million to one, seven million to the other, and ten million to another one. And where did they take it from? From the public funds and our money."

  11. Ephraim - and therefore what? thats why it is ok for a MK to take bribes? because everyone else is?

    1. I am not sure "everyone else is" is a valid argument.

    2. I am not sure the money being used for the bribes is a valid argument

    that being said...

    3. I do not think the work of an MK falls into the prohibition of not taking bribes. The issur of not taking bribes is referring to a dayan in beis din. someone not sitting in din, I dont think there is such an issur. there might be other problems and reasons not to take bribes - illegal (not in the example used in your quote from rav Shach), theft (asmachta lo kanya), bad morals, or whatever, but I dont think the job of an MK is the same as a dayan in beis din in this regard.


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