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Two Different Take on Yaakov Neeman’s Remarks

Much has been written about the Israeli Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman’s remarks about Jewish law. There are two different comments on the episode in Haaretz. The first by Anshel Pfeffer can be found here. His conclusion, “Bring it on.” The second, by Seth Farber, places Neeman’s comments within their political context and his battles with the rabbinical court system. I personally favor Pfeffer’s approach, and to some extent it is already being done. The Foundations of Law, 1980, includes the following,

Where a court, faced with a legal question requiring decision, finds no answer to it in statute law or case law or by analogy, it shall decide it in light of the principles of freedom, justice, equity and peace of Israel’s heritage.

This is quite vague and has been interpreted in different ways.

For some interesting historical perspective see Assaf Likhovski‘s paper The Time Has Not Yet Come to Repair the World in the Kingdom of God: Israeli Lawyers and the Failed Jewish Legal Revolution of 1948.

2 Responses to “Two Different Take on Yaakov Neeman’s Remarks”

  1. 1

    I don’t understand what the big uproar is about. Western law is based in large part on (what some people refer to) the Judeo-Christian tradition. British “common law” for instance was based on old anglo-saxon custom. Halacha can likewise be reformed to conform to present day reality.

    p.s. Check out my new posts when you have a chance. Thanks.

  2. 2
    Harry Perkal:

    The big deal is that Halacha is religious law and in a democratic society law grows out of the will of the people, not God or God’s supposed “interperters” the Rabbis. There is enough problems deciding Halacha within Judaism to last many life times than to incorporate it into secular law. Nor do I want Islamic Law to be the law of any Muslim country, nor do I want it in Israel or any other country. Yes religious law can inform general legal and moral priciples but not dictate it. Anything else is really a very bad idea and frankly undemocrtaic. Harry




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