'You talk of judicial pluralism only for yourselves'

Knesset plenum approves bill granting rabbinical courts power to arbitrate civil law cases. MK Elazar Stern slams rabbinical courts.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

MK Elazar Stern
MK Elazar Stern
Flash 90

The Knesset plenum approved Wednesday the bill to again allow rabbinical courts to serve as arbitrators in cases involving civil law.

The bill, which was initiated by MKs Uri Maklev and Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), is intended to restore the power the rabbinical courts had until about a decade ago, when the Supreme Court removed the authority to serve as arbitrators in cases involving civil law from the rabbinical courts.

The Supreme Court ruling prohibited rabbinical courts from hearing cases involving civil law.

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) condemned the bill and called on Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) to vote against the bill and to support judicial pluralism even when couples do not seek divorce through the rabbinical courts.

"Moses, our [Biblical] teacher, when he appointed leadership, he intervened in favor of women, not in favor of men. If we believe that the rabbinical courts treat men and women equally, as Moses did, then that is great." Stern said.

He turned to MK Gafni and Minister Deri and asked: "Do you think we are idiots? You say: 'Free access to courts.' and 'Judicial pluralism.' Let the couple who wishes to divorce also have judicial pluralism. Why do only you have free access? Why do only you have judicial pluralism? Why are women in Israel not granted judicial pluralism of the kind you ask for?"

"If you are in favor of judicial pluralism then grant it to all." Stern said. "I am prepared to uphold the law, but I ask you to give the same judgement to a husband and wife who want a divorce and don't want to go to a rabbinical court. The rabbinical court in Jerusalem this week refused to grant a woman whose husband beat her three times a divorce. Because you want to be under the authority of those courts, we should expand the law?"