Far-right Knesset Member Bezalel Smotrich, who was seeking to become justice minister, said that Israel should “return to the way it was in the days of King David and King Solomon, run by the laws of the Torah.”
He added there would be no stonings, however. (How generous!)
“Nothing will happen immediately, and nothing will be done by coercion,” he said. “I think there should be rabbinical courts and their authority should be respected and allowed to play a greater role.”
The problem is that halacha, Jewish law, is based on rabbinical interpretation and is not strictly biblical. For instance, the Bible forbids the pagan practice of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk. However, Jewish law took that to a ridiculous extreme that you can NEVER eat dairy and meat together.
Such a move would impose restrictions on Israelis regarding food, dress, Sabbath observance and civil decisions such as who is really a Jew and who can marry who. In short, it would be a disaster.
By the way, members of Smotrich’s far-right party have ties to the organization Lehava that sponsored a protest at a Messianic concert last week that we reported on in the lead story this week.
“Smotrich can now forget about the justice portfolio. After the comments he made, Netanyahu will not allow him to serve as justice minister,” an associate to the prime minister said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself tweeted quickly afterwards that: “The State of Israel will not be a Halachic state.”
Labor Knesset Member Shelly Yachimovich said Smotrich’s comments should serve as a wake-up call. It could cause his far right religious party to lose support.
“According to the prospective ministers of justice and education, Israel should become a country in which men are able to divorce their wives for dressing immodestly, slavery and stoning to death are practiced, homosexuality is banned and only men are allowed to own property,” she said. “The fact that Smotrich and his cohorts are not hallucinating from the sidelines and are in fact assuming important and influential roles, poses a tremendous danger to the future of humanity and the age of enlightenment.”