'Rabbinical Judges Faced with Impossible Task'

Chetboun's 'Judges Law' to go before Ministerial Committee on Legislation: 'We cannot blame judges; we do not give them tools to work.'

Hezki Baruch, Cynthia Blank,

Rabbinical Court
Rabbinical Court
Flash90

MK Yoni Chetboun's (Jewish Home) "Judges Law" will be brought to discussion Sunday before the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.

Under the proposal, the Minister of Justice, with the consent of the president of the High Court, will determine the necessary amount of judges for each region and city in the country, with respect to population size and the jurisdictions of the rabbinical court.

Chetboun explained that this amendment would prevent situations of personnel deficiencies and significantly ease the unreasonable burden placed on current judges.

MK Chetboun was joined by Knesset members Shuli Mualem (Jewish Home), Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) and Pnina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid) in sponsoring the legislation. The proposal is also supported by the chief rabbis, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who is president of High Court, and Rabbi David Lau.

According to a study commissioned by MK Chetboun from the Research and Information Center Committee, the difficult burden placed on the shoulders of rabbinical court judges in Israel presents a very bleak picture. 

The data shows that in the past few years rabbinical courts have opened over 84,000 new cases every year. The study also found that an individual judge handles more than 900 new cases a year, separate from ongoing cases that can take up to several years to resolve. 

The study also shows there is a gap between the standards of the Rabbinical Court and the amount of judges actually serving. An individual court requires 99 rabbinic judges, but in 2013 approximately only 90 religious judges actually served per court.

This discrepancy is explained by the retirement of religious judges and subsequent delay in filling open positions. The inability to fill positions quickly has also led to rabbinical judges traveling between courts to help fill in the gaps. 

It is clear that the lack of judges also causes a delay in the decisions reached by the rabbinical courts. This seems like an almost impossible reality that is crying out for a solution.

MK Chetboun said "In the last few years, the rabbinical courts have become punching bags [of the public]. But when we come to the truth, as the study suggests, judges are faced with an almost impossible task. "

"You cannot blame the rabbinical courts, when we do not provide judges with the minimum tools to work. Judges handle thousands of cases each year and are forced to bounce around from court to court. Given the deficiencies in manpower, they could never provide fast and efficient service to the public."

"These courts service people from all sectors of Israeli society - traditional Jews, religious Jews, Hareidim, and secular Jews. Providing them with relief is a public service, and therefore this law addresses a very important issue. I expect and believe that the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs and Justice will approve the law."




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