Hebrew Date Leads to Acquittal

Nazareth Court acquits young driver with four passengers because he was 21 according to the Hebrew date.

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Hillel Fendel , | updated: 1:12 PM

Jewish calendar
Jewish calendar
Israel News Photo: (illustrative)

The Traffic Court in Nazareth acquitted a young man who drove four passengers - because he was 21 according to the Hebrew date.

The story began in September 2007, when Chaim Frankel was stopped by a policeman for a random check – and was found to be in violation of the law for carrying four passengers.  The law states that drivers under age 21 may only carry up to two passengers.

Frankel told the policeman that he had actually turned 21 nearly two weeks earlier, and pointed to the Hebrew date as proof. The policeman told him that the Hebrew date was not germane, and gave him a court summons.  But that was not all: In court, the police asked to revoke his license for three months!

Frankel explained, via his attorney, Roni Faloch, that he was not accustomed to using the Gregorian date. “In a Jewish state, it cannot be argued that the driver was not 21 years old on the day of the incident,” Faloch said.

Judge Ilona Arieli, a daughter of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, accepted the point, and acquitted Frankel of all charges.

Attorney Faloch, a hareidi Jew himself who also serves as the Deputy Chairman of the Transportation Committee of the Israel Bar Association, said he plans to recommend that the Bar take action in the direction of upgrading the status of the Hebrew date in Israeli law. So reported Yediot Acharonot.

Both the Hebrew and Gregorian dates are used on all official government communications and documents, including personal ID cards and birth and death certificates.  The Knesset passed a law in 2007 requiring the Interior Ministry to ensure that the Hebrew date on birth and death certificates is registered not merely by correlating the Gregorian and Hebrew dates, but also while taking into consideration the fact that according to the Hebrew calendar, the new day begins at nightfall, and not at midnight. 



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