Smotrich: I won't stammer and I won't apologize

'Complete lack of understanding' regarding Torah law, MK Smotrich says.


Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Flash 90

MK Bezalel Smotrich, who heads the United Right's National Union faction, on Tuesday discussed the ruckus surrounding his Sunday statement that he aims to "return the Torah to its foundation."

Speaking to 103FM Radio, Smotrich emphasized the "demonization" surrounding issues in Jewish law and the religious parties' stance on those issues.

"There are some people who are afraid of me," he admitted. "I don't think a single person thinks that tomorrow morning I'll turn Israel into a state of Jewish law, that's something I never said, not even in the past few days."

"I have no intention of stammering or apologizing, or ceasing pushing for the things I believe in," he added.

There's also a "complete lack of understanding" when it comes to how Jewish law works, he said. "Reality has changed, Judaism by the way has also changed."

"When you say 'an eye for an eye' it's obviously not physically, it's monetary [compensation]."

Regarding his stance on homosexuality and stoning, Smotrich explained that he "follows Jewish law" and would be "very happy" for more people to join him. However, the Torah way is not one of punishment.

"The Torah's idea of punishment is the opposite of the idea today," he said. "There's hardly any enforcement. The Torah sets norms - good, bad, what's okay, what's not. It stays between a person and his Creator. There's hardly any enforcement, it's only on the extremes."

On the other hand, he added, "if you read the [Israeli] Punishments Law it doesn't talk about what you should do, it says if someone does this their punishment is that." Torah law, on the other hand, tells one how to choose a good life and this is "between a person and his creator, in 99% of cases."

"Jewish law was the first that outlawed the death sentence, even before the enlightened nations, we're trailblazers in many things, including women's rights, worrying about women's honor and finances," he emphasized.

Smotrich also noted that currently, people who want to follow Torah law need to go to private rabbinical courts, and cannot go to the government's rabbinical courts. This, he said, needs to change.