Shaked with activists.
Shaked with activists. Eli Daniel

One of the first matters the incoming Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, intends to tackle as she begins her new job, is the cancellation or alteration of State Attorney's Office Instruction 2.5, which many jurists see as encouraging women to file false accusations against men.

Activists for divorced men's rights held a show of support for the new minister outside her home in Tel Aviv Saturday evening. She came down from her apartment to speak with them and told them: “I want you to know that on the matter of Instruction 2.5, I scheduled an appointment with the Attorney General even before I was appointed Justice Minister.”

Instruction 2.5 was promulgated by then-State Attorney Dorit Beinisch and given its final form by Edna Arbel, who followed her in the State Attorney's seat.

It notes that Israel's penal code determines that “a person who submits a statement or testimony on a single matter before different authorities, and his statements or testimonies contradict each other on a factual question that is substantive to the issue, and does so with intent to mislead, shall be punished by up to five years in jail,” and that the law also allows the court “to rule that compensation be paid by the complainant who submitted his complaint light-headedly or out of spite or without grounds.”

Despite all this, the instruction determines that “in cases where a victim of a sexual offense or of a violent offense retracts testimony, a careful approach must be taken and the victim should usually not be put on trial for his conflicting testimony.”

Green light for false accusations

Critics of the instruction say it provides a de facto green light for filing false accusations against men, and activists for men's rights demand that it be cancelled, and that a strict policy be adopted against whoever files such false accusations. They claim that false complaints have become a widely used, everyday tactical weapon, especially in divorce cases.

Among other experts, opponents of the instruction cite Dr. Pini Yehezkely, a former police brigadier general, who has written that in some police stations, over 50% of women's complaints about men's violence are false.

Following heavy pressure by women's organizations over the years, Israel's law enforcement authorities have adopted a policy of automatically distancing men from their homes following complaints by women. Academicians, including Dr. Yoav Mazeh of the Ono College, claim that the State Attorney's Office is biased against men, based only upon their sex.

The ranks of the State Attorney's Office are over two-thirds female, and some see this as an additional factor in the alleged anti-male bias.

Dorit Beinisch was a protege and appointee of former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak. Arbel is considered close to her, and she followed Beinisch into the Supreme Court after serving as State Attorney.