The Rule of Law in Israel

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-In a number of cities “intransigent registrars and rabbis” are refusing to recognize state-sanctioned conversions to Judaism, and it is proposed that these people, “who receive their salaries and draw authority from the state,â€? be fired. (Haaretz)

-Yossi Sarid observes, “it is difficult to point out even one law in Israel that is properly enforced – from the Minimum Wage Law to the law ensuring free education. But the law on smoking in public places – that one is enforced energetically and with strange fervor…Where there is neither will nor way to deal with serious business, they deal with little thingsâ€?. (Haaretz)

-An Israeli district court fined the Education Ministry $3,500 for violating the Freedom of Information Law by hiding a quarter million dollar million study on the results of math achievement tests that showed the superiority of a method developed by two chareidi teachers from Bnei Brak. The judge noted that Education Ministry officials knowingly committed perjury by claiming that they did not have the test results. (Shema Yisrael Torah Network)

-Israel’s Housing Ministry is moving construction of more than 1,000 residential units in East Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood on land held by “absentee” Palestinians. The move is said to be in violation of both a 2005 instruction from the attorney general to stop applying the absentee law in East Jerusalem and explicit promises to the U.S. not to apply that law in the capital’s eastern quarters. (Haaretz)

-The Israeli human rights group Yesh Din charges that Israel’s military court system for Palestinian suspects in the West Bank produces 99.7% convictions with the average hearing just two minutes long. Hearings were held in Hebrew and the Arabic-speaking suspects often did not understand the charges brought against them, and “Most are detained in Israel and their attorneys are not able to meet them.”  The IDF says the report was filled with flaws, faulty research methods and mistaken analysis. (The Jerusalem Post)

-A new proposal will give the ruling government more power and the sitting Supreme Court justices less, when it comes to appointing new Supreme Court justices. (Haaretz)

-In December 2004 Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that Haredi schools not teaching the core curriculum could not continue to be publicly funded. The ruling has not been enforced, and the Education Minister wants another year’s delay. (Haaretz)

-Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison for masterminding the killing of four Israelis and a Greek monk in West Bank attacks, should be released, say an increasing number of Israeli leaders, including Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai. (Haaretz)

-Alexander Yakobson  argues that  “one reason for the ongoing scandal regarding the non-evacuation of the illegal West Bank outposts…is the trauma of Amona. The government fears that outpost evacuation will be accompanied by serious violence…Those who organized the violence at Amona, then, achieved their goal – belligerent intimidation of the government.” (Haaretz)

-More than 6 years ago, the Migron outpost was begun with the erection, without a permit, of a cellular antenna followed by a shipping container to house the antenna’s guard. 5 ½ years ago the Palestinian owners of the land began legal action to evict the settlers, and the state promptly agreed that the settlement was to be evacuated. But a continuing series of postponements has resulted in no state action. Says the Palestinian’s lawyer, “When it comes to outposts… the government does not rule over its citizens.â€? (Haaretz)

Posted on January 16, 2008

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