Opposition to the expansion of Rabbinic court powers

The Rackman Center, in cooperation with other organizations appealed to the Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, with a request that he oppose the expansion of the powers of the rabbinic courts:

We would like to bring to your immediate attention our strong opposition to the expansion of the authority of the rabbinical courts (both for adjudication and arbitration) and to explain to you the far-reaching and unprecedented significance of such a move from a legal and sociological point of view.

The expansion of jurisdiction, even when it is based on the agreement between the parties, in practice means that there would be, under the wings of one country, two legal systems, based on different bodies of law, and based on different conceptions of justice.

The rabbinic courts  system currently unashamedly excludes women from its ranks.

Such a move would lead to the loss of the legal uniformity that exists in Israel, the loss of the “normative coherence” of the Israeli legal system: to a situation where in Israel there will be religious labour laws and civil labour laws, religious commercial law and civil commercial law, civil tenant protection laws and religious tenant protection laws and so on.

academic research, provided evidence that the rabbinical courts, despite their familiarity with the protective laws in the field of labour law, ruled contrary to them and did not grant proper relief to workers.

Supporters of the expansion of powers claim that only with the consent of the parties, will a civil conflict be brought before a religious court. There is concern that in many cases consent to litigation will be forced on weak parties, especially on women.

This is an opening for a serious violation of the rights of divorcing women, perhaps the most serious that the Israeli justice system has seen in years.

It must be remembered that Torah law as it is currently applied in the state rabbinical courts is a discriminatory and problematic law for women and others.

We call on you, as someone who has trust in the state-run, secular legal system in Israel, to oppose the move to expand the authority of the state rabbinic courts.

Read The Rackman Center’s and other organizations’ letter to Minister of Justice.



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