Nissan Slomiansky
Nissan Slomiansky Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Knesset approved in a preliminary reading the proposal submitted by MK Nissan Slomiansky(Jewish Home) and other Knesset members to establish in conjunction with the Justice Ministry and the Lawyers Bureau an institute for application of Jewish Law. The proposed institute and its administration would be under the auspices of the Justice Minister.

The explanatory preface to the law stated that: "It is suggested that a national institute be established to "translate" the literature of Jewish Law into modern Hebrew understood by all. The main need is to translate the literature in Jewish Law which deals with civil law. The institute should be established in conjunction with the Lawyers Bureau and the Justice Ministry."

"The institute will be headed by three representatives from the Justice Ministry, the Lawyers Bureau and from academia, with the academic representative chosen jointly by the other two representatives. The Justice Minister will define the guidelines for the establishment and administration of the institute."

MK Slomianski said that "this law tells a judge that before going to see what is in the Austrian or New Zealand law, see what Jewish jurisprudence says and if you like it, adopt it. If not you know what to do."

MK Zehava Gal-on (Meretz) fumed over the law: "It's unthinkable that the Knesset should add the ancient Jewish laws to the legislature and the lawbooks. This is another phase in attempts to turn the state into a halakhic state and not a democratic state."

The law passed its preliminary reading by 41 votes to 32 and it will be transferred to committee.