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May 14, 2015

Attorney General targets Deri with inane self-contradiction

I would be happy if the law in Israel would be changed to say that someone who was convicted of a crime (it could be limited to crimes of public trust or crimes with "kalon" - disgrace or moral turpitude (whatever that is), or some qualification so we don't have the government rounding up and convicting people on minor offenses just to keep them out of politics) will not be allowed to serve in government.

I would like that, and I think it is a good law to have.

However, right now we do not have such a law. Just the opposite. The current law allows anyone to run for office. Even a criminal, if he has served his time, he can fully rejoin society in every way. Even if he was tagged with moral turpitude on his crime, if he waits out the waiting period, after that he ca run for office or do anything else he might want to do.

If you think running for office presents an ethical problem, change the law to say such a person cannot run for office.

I don't get Yehuda Weinstein saying that Deri can legally be made a minister but he would have a difficult time defending such an appointment in the Supreme Court on ethical grounds.

Legally he is allowed to be appointed as a minister, so what's the problem?

You don't like it, and I don't, work to get the law changed.  Weinstein should be pressing the government to change the law to better deal with such situations in the future. Deri should be allowed to serve now. It is a failure of our electoral system, but if that is the way it is, it is wrong to single him out and punish him more when he has already served his time. The entire electoral system needs to be reformed, and this is just part of it.

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  1. I started reading the decision. After citing the law that allows the appointment, he gives the history of a law that was passed in the last Knesset which would prevent someone in Deri's situation to be minister. But it passed with a simple majority (i.e., a majority of those present), but not the 61 votes necessary to change the Basic Law. So they started the process again, but the government was dissolved. (I may have mis-remembered some details, but that's the gist of it).

    So the AG wants to uphold a law which was never passed!

  2. Actually, Weinstein's position here illustrates the problem not with the electoral system, but with the legal/judicial one.

    As you state, the law allowing (that is, not forbidding) the likes of Deri to be a minister is problematic. As you also state, the solution ought to be to change the law. Yet Weinstein aims to change the law extra-legislatively by "not defending it to the Supreme Court".

    The problem is that judicial intervention, accessorized by the AG office has become the default method of changing legislation in the country, superseding the legislative (or executive) branch. The judicial branch and their lackeys don't even bother thinking about having the elected representatives exercise the authority that should be reserved for them.

    What needs to be changed, first and foremost, is the judicial system. Here's wishing good luck to our new Justice Minister, who will need to be strong in the face of her own Ministry as well as the out-of-check-and-balance branches of the government.

    Not to mention that this position by Weinstein, being legally inaccurate (as you point out) as well, should be grounds for his immediate dismissal.

    1. you are right that it is a problem with the legal/judicial system, but I was referring to something else. In my eyes there is a problem with the electoral system that allows someone like Aryeh Deri to get elected and hold so much power just by having a voter base, as small as it is, that thinks he is a martyr and will therefore vote for him.
      it is a legal-judicial problem as well.

  3. It's called a judicial dictatorship. The elected government makes a decision based on their judgment of what is best and comes the Supreme Court and substitutes it's judgment and says that the decision was unreasonable. Why should the opinion of unelected judges hold more weight then the man elected and charged with the responsibility? See http://jewishworker.blogspot.com/2015/05/only-in-israel-can-attorney-general-say.html

  4. Why can't someone who 'paid his debt to society' and did tshuva come back for a second chance? Does this have basis in Jewish law?

  5. paying your debt to society lets you back into society. I dont think it is enough to let you become a "parness" of the community. the larness, the leader, is always somenoe who holds the trust of the people. paying your debt to society is one thing, holding the public trust is another.
    Also, who says he repented? We might give him the benefit of the doubt but he has always claimed innocence and that he was framed. does that mean he repented?
    also, in halacha we find someone who is chashud on a certain crime is never trusted on that issue again. Why dont we assume teshuva? we dont. if we know he did teshuva that's possible but just assume teshuva? we don't find that in halacha to the best of my knowledge

    1. I would add that we have a halacha that someone cannot be king if they come from a certain kind of background that the people will not respect. The same *may* apply to other kinds of power positions. In order for a govt to function well, it should have the respect of the people even when they don't agree on its policies. This is halacha of a king is true even when he has no actual halachic or known moral blemishes. How much moreso should we be careful to choose leaders who are genuinely respectable in the eyes of most of the people?


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