Published 15 March, 2023
The Israeli Law Professors’ Forum for Democracy, an ad hoc and voluntary group of experts on Israeli law and specifically Israeli public law, expresses its grave concern over the apparent intention to abolish the independence of the judiciary, to subordinate it to the government and to the partisan political considerations of the executive branch, to undermine the independent status of the attorney general and civil service legal counsels, and to violate human rights. In this paper, we examine the implications of the regime changes for the rabbinical courts.
We find that:
The rabbinical courts suffer from many of the flaws that the coalition proposal attributes to the civil court system, and purports to amend.
The rabbinical courts should therefore have been the focus of any plan for improving judicial procedures in Israel. Yet the coalition has no intention of dealing with these problems. Indeed, it seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts - to authorize them to function as arbitrators in civil disputes and decide these disputes under Jewish law, and to extend their jurisdiction to proceedings involving non-Jews so long as one of the litigants is Jewish.
We conclude that in light of the significant “governance” problems in the rabbinical courts discussed in this paper, on the one hand, and the conspicuous absence of any treatment of these problems in the coalition proposal, on the other hand, there is good reason to doubt the sincerity of those proposing changes with respect to the civil court system.