Tzohar Rabbis Warn Politicians: Don't Lie

'When a politician fails to keep his promises, he is actually stealing the mandate he received.'

Gil Ronen ,

Kahlon and Netanyahu in better times
Kahlon and Netanyahu in better times
Flash 90

With election season at its climax, the Legislation Team of the Tzohar Rabbis' Organization has published a position paper warning politicians against making promises they do not intend to keep.

"One politician promises that he will support a certain candidate for prime minister, another politician promises not to sit with a certain person in the coalition, a third politician says he will not join the coalition if he does not receive a certain portfolio, etc.,” the rabbis wrote.

Tzohar says that the politicians must respect their promises to the voter, at least on the ethical and moral level: “Beyond the general duty of a person to be honest, a public figure is the public's emissary, who receives the power to realize his promises from the public. When he fails to his keep his promises, he is in fact using his political power illegally, and stealing the mandate he received.”

The rabbinical group adds that “In Hebrew jurisprudence, there is a distinction between an individual person and a group or public (tzibur). Unlike the promises of an individual, which have no formal legal validity, a promise by representatives of the public, even to an individual, or a promise by an individual to a public, sometimes have binding legal validity. Therefore it is mandatory that the representatives of the public be careful with promises they make before the elections, and that they try to fulfill them afterward.”

Tozhar recommends that public representatives formulate their promises carefully and avoid sweeping formulations, which will place them in the category of “mehusarei amana” – a Talmudic term referring to a lack of integrity – about whom it is said that “the spirit of the sages is not pleased with them.”