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Jul 11, 2024

beis din musings

I have had to spend some time recently in the building of the Rabbanut Beis Din in Jerusalem.

Yes, I have heard and read all the statistics of divorce rates always going up and reaching new highs, and even the divorce rates in the religious and Haredi communities climbing. 

It is different to see it yourself, with your own eyes.

The place is hopping, all the time, during business hours, with couples breaking up and going through the process. the days I have been there the crowd was even mostly Haredi (all types, Hassidic, Litvishe, modern, sefardi, etc). The couples were mixed between those only married for short times and others who were clearly married for longer periods. All types of people and couples deciding to get divorced. I am sure each has their story and i no way am I saying that any given case is not justified. I dont know their stories.

But it is sad/disappointing/upsetting/depressing to see.

And on that note, I was surprised to see that among all these couple going in for their hearing, and sometimes with the voices behind closed doors getting raised and becoming screaming matches, young 16 year old women are also sitting their waiting to declare themselves  as religious before a beis din to qualify for an army exemption. Must these young ladies really sit there among all these divorcing couples, have to listen to their arguments and even screaming while they wait for their turn?

The beis din should separate these young women and have them do their declarations in a different part of the building.

And there should be more discretion in the lobby of the discussion halls - divorcing couples and their families have to sit there waiting while the other side to the dispute is sitting just a few chairs away and they both have to sit there uncomfortably. And that's if they aren't screaming at each other. And everyone has to hear everyone else talking to the lawyer or talking to the soon to be ex or families talking amongst themselves... At what is surely a private and sensitive, and emotional, moment, the people should be given more privacy.


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Jul 8, 2024

what should they do?

In light of the ongoing coalition crisis (which can fizz out just as easily and quickly as it can expand and intensify), here is what I think the various players should do, each from their perspective (as I understand it):

Itamar Ben Gvir: should resign and call for elections. Ben Gvir should declare himself as running for prime minister, no more being second fiddle to a party that is not as right wing as they claim to be.

Betzalel Smotritch: he has no hand to play, and he knows it. He has to just be as right wing extreme as he can and hope he doesnt get decimated in whatever happens next. He does not have the power to be proactive in this.

Moshe Gafni and Yitzchak Goldknopf: they don't have much of a hand. Quitting the coalition wont help them, but it also wont hurt them. If they have a serious enough crisis (eg yeshiva boys get drafted or arrested), they can quit. If not, they really have no reason to.

Aryeh Deri: he has a hand to play but has no real option. Bringing down the government won't really help them, but at some point, when they run out of complaints, they have to show they have some ideology behind them and not just looking for jobs. I dont think we are far off, if things keep not falling their way, but I dont think they are there just yet.

Benjamin Netanyahu: He should resign from politics, but he wont. Bring down the government, dissolve the Knesset, and call for elections, while stepping away from politics. If he does that now, his legacy is gone and destroyed and will only be remembered as having presided over the worst attack and massacre with all the failures involved, and having abandoned the hostages. So he can't do that, at least not now. He won't do that until he rebuilds his image a bit, and will need a big win for that to happen.
Netanyahu should take advantage of this current crisis, along with the other recent coalition crises, and say he has had enough (he has done this before in previous governments). He should blame the heads of all the parties for their bickering, blackmail, irresponsible behavior, and unreasonable demands. he should blame them for the impossibility of coming to a hostage deal (while stressing most of the blame is on Hamas). 
Netanyahu should declare that after elections he will move to form a unity government, not an extreme Right government. He needs to get into discussions with Gantz and Lieberman and others from the other parties (specifically the more center leaning parties) to talk about forming a government together, maybe as a rotation, though it can only work if Netanyahu offers to go second in rotation rather than first. Nobody will trust him to follow through with rotating when the time comes. Obviously specifics will depend on results of elections and which comes out the bigger party, but in general that is what he should be doing.







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