Yisrael Ze'ira, head of Rosh Yehudi
Yisrael Ze'ira, head of Rosh YehudiFlash 90

The Supreme Court discussed this morning (Friday) the petition submitted by the organization 'Rosh Yehudi' demanding to allow the holding of a Simchat Torah celebration in Dizengoff Square contrary to the decision of the Tel Aviv Municipality.

The judges asked the municipality to reach a compromise after criticizing its conduct. After discussion, the municipality decided to accept the proposal according to which the celebration would be held in Dizengoff Square and the organization 'Rosh Yehudi' would undertake not to put up a partition between men and women.

During the discussion, lawyer Uri Israel Paz, who represents Rosh Yehudi, emphasized that if it is permitted to conduct the celebration in the square - there is no intention to place partitions.

The judges asked the legal advisor of the Tel Aviv Municipality, Adv. Uzi Salman, regarding the source of the authority to prevent gatherings in Dizengoff Square - as part of a petition by the 'Rosh Yehudi' organization demanding that the celebration be held on the evening following Simchat Torah.

The legal advisor replied that the municipality acts by virtue of the municipal by-law concerning the maintenance of order and cleanliness and admitted that he had not prepared for a deep discussion on the question of authority.

MK Tali Gottlieb, who was sitting in the courtroom, broke into the conversation at this point and shouted: "Maybe you should come to an agreement and stop this embarrassment already." Later, Judge Ofer Grosskopf noted that "the event is appropriate in itself, but not in Dizengoff Square."

The judge emphasized that the municipality originally gave permission to hold the celebration at this location and then canceled it. The lawyer replied that "the municipality does not want an incident of violence".

Judge Grosskopf rejected the argument. "This is a consideration of the police, isn't it? With this consideration, you allow the opponents of the event to act against it."

During the discussion, one of the attendees burst into tears and had to leave the hall. "How come no one stands up and says - 'This can't happen in a Jewish state. I'm sitting in court and we're debating whether it's okay for a Jew to pray a Jewish prayer. Anywhere else in the world we would condemn a state that would conduct such a discussion,'" she said.

The chairman of the organization, Israel Ze'ira, told Israel National News before the start of the debate that he would act according to the law, but he had difficulty accepting the attempt to "determine people's faith", as he put it.

"We came to Israel after two thousand years of exile to live a Jewish life. Does praying or rejoicing with Torah scrolls hurt anyone's feelings? In the USA, England, and other countries, huge Sukkas are erected and separate events are held while paying respect to people of faith," he noted.

According to him, "We are in favor of free choice not only because we are liberals, but because the Torah teaches free choice. I oppose religious coercion and equally secular coercion. This case is a surrender to extreme fringe forces that managed to convince the Tel Aviv municipality to behave rapaciously and reward violence."

He emphasized that he would obey the court's decision. "We will act according to the law. But the law of prohibiting partitions between men and women is an immoral law and will end up disappearing from the world. This is an arrogant law that comes to suppress people who believe in their faith, comes to re-educate the enlightenment of the new progressive religion and the 'obsolete religious'. Never will we agree to laws that are against the Torah will be imposed on us. Tonight and tomorrow we will dance with the books of the Torah and say to ourselves and to the whole world - 'For from Zion shall come forth the Torah and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' And we will sing 'Moses is true and his Torah is true.' Looking at the Torah immeasurably surpasses the fake and imagined equality that a loud and coercive minority is now trying to impose on us."

"Thousands of worshipers on Yom Kippur did not receive the greatest prayer in the world this year because of anarchist rioters who have no God and no earthly path. We found the formula in which we both acted according to the Halakha and received with love each and every one who joined according to their own path. This unity was defeated by violence, and now in the name of human rights they are trying to exclude 'Rosh Yehudi' from public services. This attempt to silence will not succeed and we will continue to spread and make the Torah accessible to the majority of the people of Israel who are very interested in it."