Inter Alia

Inter alia means “among other things.” Legal types use it quite often, along with other choice Latin phrases. Using Latin adds presence, if not a bit of pretentiousness, to a document.

Sometimes, you need some pretentiousness to cover for the lack of substance. The Israeli High Court’s original decision on the Emanuel Bais Yaakov uses inter alia eleven times in the space of forty-nine pages with very, very wide margins. Remove the Latin, and very little else commands respect. As a part-time law prof, I find the decision an embarrassment – not for its conclusions as much as for its uninspired thought and shoddy support of key arguments. I would expect more from bright graduate students, let alone supposed legal luminaries.

Let me remove the issues that concern most people, which will distract from my thesis, which only concerns the way the Court goes about its business. I personally have no doubt that racism abounds in Israel, in many parts of the community, including a variety unique to the frum community. We should be campaigning vigorously against it, rather than denying it, and making foolish statements like “we can’t be racist – we learn Rambam.” I believe that the Court has every right to act against racism, de jure or de facto. (We legal folks just can’t get away from Latin!) As such, I believe that the Court’s order to take down the wall in the Emmanuel Bais Yaakov was justifiable. I believe that I would personally choke or shrivel up in a community with rules as insular as those of the Slonim school; I also believe that as much as I disagree, I cannot say that their position is indefensible. I have yet to meet the person or group that has a perfect or near-perfect way of keeping Torah values intact within a culture of markedly different values. Insularity may be no worse an option than what many of us have come up with. I believe that the Court picked the wrong test case for a just cause, since it is now abundantly clear that what motivated the requirements for admission to the Slonim school was not racism but conformity to strict standards of religious expectations and insularity.

I am willing to concede that reasonable people can disagree about whether the State (which provides the funding to the “recognized unofficial” school system) can set whatever rules it wants to advance the cause of racial and ethnic mixing. Yet here is where the decision fails miserably. To cut to the chase, the justices believe that the rules imposed by the Slonim school unfairly rule out full participation by Sefardim who wish to keep their Sefardi heritage intact, rather than follow someone else’s rules. They concede that some forms of discrimination are acceptable, but not those of the Emanuel Bais Yaakov, even though the authors of the admission requirements argue full voice that their sole concern is maintaining their own religious identity in full flower.

Admittedly there is a possibility of discrimination in other situations, but they are appropriate situations, such as when a boy or girl wishes to learn in a single-sex school. If that is the character of the school, that is how it should be. If there is a situation in which a child who does not observe the Torah and the commandments wishes to be admitted tomorrow to an Orthodox religious school, he will not be permitted to do so. If a Jewish or an Arab child wishes to be admitted to an Orthodox Jewish school or a religious Arab school, or in a certain kind of Jewish school or a certain kind of Muslim school, the student will not be able to say that the refusal is discrimination. [pg. 125]

What we would expect of a high court decision – any high court – is an objective way to differentiate between the examples in the preceding paragraph, and the assertions of the Slonimers. We should expect – demand – of a high court some formula that allows us to tell the difference between the legitimate discrimination (“appropriate” in their words) and the illegitimate. We would expect either a bright-line standard, articulated in a manner that law students would understand, or some usable balancing tests that would allow the same to predict the legal outcome of some theoretical cases.

Making outcomes predictable is what the law is all about. Instead, what we get from the justices is spleen. They looked at the situation, and they didn’t like what they saw. Nothing more insightful than that. This is not very helpful, and is very poor law.

Inter alia, we learn that the Court was well aware of that there was no conventional racist intent in the Slonimer standards. The advocate assigned originally to look into the complaint reported:

This split, with all of its negative aspects, was not done with an intention of discriminating against students because of their ethnic background and in practice there is no such discrimination. I arrived at this conclusion even though I am aware of the quantitative aspect of the ethnic separation between the two schools [pg. 90]

This did not stop Justice Levy from ignoring the finding, and instead arguing that Slonim was guilty of “flagrant ethnic preference with hollow statements.” No explanation or carefully reasoned argument as to why Justice Levy must disagree with Advocate Bas. Just so. [pg.95]

Inter alia, we discover many other things about Israel’s High Court. We learn that the justices must be working without law clerks. How else could we explain, in a decision as important as this one, the absence of footnotes that flesh out important concepts? Should there not be some consideration of the extent of discrimination against Sefardim in Israel, past and present, rather than some conclusory statements? Should we not find out about other and parallel attempts to balance the needs of the State against the right of religious expression?

Inter alia, we see that the Court does better at punting than at thinking or proving. The Ministry of Education doesn’t like the Slonim rules, and thinks them de facto discriminatory; Slonim defends them. Who bears the burden of proof? One would think that it is the function of the Court to weigh in on such an important point. Instead, we get:

With regard to the issue of ethnic discrimination, the Ministry of Education thought that in the absence of clear criteria with regard to the principles underlying the division of the school, the burden of allaying the prima facie concern that the basis for separating the students was ethnic discrimination rested with the Independent Education Centre. (i.e.the operator and manager of the Bais Yaakov) [pg. 93]

The Court tells us that “bureaucratic difficulties are placed in the way of Sephardic parents,” [pg.96], but never tells us what they are, or what the basis is for believing the petitioners rather than the defendants.

Inter alia, we find the investigative rigor of the Court sorely lacking. The decision is rife with statements that speak of anonymous and unsubstantiated reports, such as:

Some of the inhabitants of the town believe that the aforesaid separation was made because of a continuing tension between the Ashkenazi population and the Sephardic population in the town, and some feel that the school, by taking this action, has created an ethnic split, in order to discriminate against and victimize the Sephardic students and their parents [pg. 88; emphasis mine]

There are many more examples of “appears,” or “seems,” with insufficient evidence to back up a hunch.

Or:

A study of the various regulations shows that we are not dealing with a “track whose purpose is the study of the Hassidic way of life,” but with an attempt to separate different sectors of the population on an ethnic basis, under the cloak of a cultural difference. [pg. 115]

What study? What analysis? What results?

Inter alia, we gain insight into the mind of the Court. The justices like citing themselves, and whatever they have on their nightstand, rather than take the time to formulate the crisp, sharp reasoning (whether we agree or disagree) that we generally get from members of the US Supreme Court. I cannot imagine Justice Scalia ever citing the kind of mindless drivel that Judge Melcer cites:

Such discrimination is based on attributing an inferior status to the victim of discrimination, a status that is a consequence of his supposedly inferior nature. This, of course, involves a profound humiliation of the victim of the discrimination. [pg 119]

How profound.

A page later, he invokes two competing doctrines on equality and dignity: Aristotle, and Dr. Orit Kamir. The latter is….(fill in the blank. She is, no doubt, a fine modern thinker, but slightly less often cited than Aristotle.) What ever happened to demonstrating that a concept has a history and an audience before it is accepted as important? Not only does Melcer prefer Kamir, but he uses her axiomatically to deduce new theorems. (“It may be possible to deduce from this approach…) Absolutely breathtaking!

Inter alia, we learn that the Court must have a developed sense of humor. In reviewing the right to education, we are enlightened as to what Israeli students are guaranteed as part of The Basic Laws (i.e., Israel’s substitute for a constitution, effectively the product of whatever is on the minds of the Supreme Court):

To educate a person to love his fellow man, to love his people and to love his country, to be a loyal citizen of the State of Israel, who respects his parents and family, his heritage, his cultural identity and his language; to teach the principles in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel and the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and to develop an attitude of respect for human rights, basic freedoms, democratic values, observance of the law, the culture and beliefs of others, and also to teach an aspiration for peace and tolerance in relations between individuals and between peoples;…To teach Jewish law, the history of the Jewish people, Jewish heritage and Jewish tradition. [pgs. 100-101]

If instruction in all these areas is a fundamental right of Israeli students, the Court had better cancel their vacations. Slonim will be the least of their worries. I see a good number of potential lawsuits in the making – perhaps even a class action brought by a few generations of Israelis who are clueless about Jewish law and tradition, and multiple members of the faculties of Israeli universities who must have failed in the love-of-people-and-country curriculum.

We thought that the right of different communities to express itself according to its own cultural heritage was one of the Basic Rights. Inter alia, we learn that we were mistaken. It is only a relative right, contingent on adding to the cultural expression of others:

Since we have adopted the duty to treat human beings with dignity as a justification for non-intervention in their cultures, then we should say that if we find a group whose culture is not based on treating human beings with dignity, the validity of the group‘s claim that non-intervention in its culture is justified is undermined, and an opening is created for intervention in its cultural practices, in order to restore dignity to the human beings living in that culture. [pg.128]

Aren’t you happy we have a Constitution is this country? Watching the Israeli High Court is sufficient reason to join the ACLU.

Inter alia, we have proof that the haredi leadership was wrong. They thought that this intervention by the Court is part of a slippery slope, leading to the Court’s insistence that its authority must trump that of conscience and Torah. They were wrong. There is no slippery slope. They’ve already reached the bottom:

In Israeli law the right to freedom of religion has not yet achieved the status of a super-legislative constitutional right… According to some authorities, a horizontal balance should not be made with such a right, in so far as it is not super-legislative (if that is indeed its status), against the constitutional right of the protection of dignity, since the latter is higher than the former in the constitutional hierarchy.[pg.127]

Hiding behind the legal argot is a declaration that could not be clearer. The right of freedom of religion has not yet been firmly established in the Jewish State. Whatever right is there must bow to more important rights manufactured or discovered by the Bagatz.

Inter alia, we find some irony. When a people returned, in part, to its Land, it made the desert bloom, and built a viable economy in record time, even while sustaining the burden of ingathering multiple exiles and supporting a vast military apparatus. It applied Jewish genius to a host of disciplines, breaking new ground in medicine, agriculture, and defense. It exported its know-how around the world. When it strains at law – the traditional area of Jewish expertise – it falls on its face. We see in this decision nothing, nothing of the nuance and elegance of a Ketzos or R. Chaim, or even lehavdil the creativity of a Frankfurter, Brandeis, or Cardozo.

Others have expressed frustration with the law by likening it to a particular beast of burden. When Jews try to create a legal system removed from and opposed to their Torah, they come up with a different result, unthinking and sterile. In the hands of the Supreme Court, the law, sir, is a mule.

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32 Responses

  1. Ori says:

    Simcha Younger: I feel that many people responding to this story feel that the court is not only an authority on a practical level, but that its conclusions should not even be questioned. This is the attitude I was addressing.

    Ori: Good point. I wonder if secular Jews inherited this attitude from their religious ancestors. A lot of things in Israel are traditionally Jewish, with the religion rubbed off.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    I would urge all readers and potential posters to read all three opinions that comprise the court’s decision-but especially Judge Melcer-it is a rant predicated on feminist theory and the notion that only rights that “afford” dignity to all, including women, are worth preserving, and a deliberate slap at the free exercise clause of the First Amendment and a well known Supreme Court case that protected the rights of the Amish against Wisconsin’s mandatory education laws. It is quite akin to the argument that freedom of speech is worthless without being afforded cradle to grave economic protection by the state-which AFAIK, is socialism writ large.

  3. Simcha Younger says:

    #
    Ori
    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Simcha Younger: Is it that everyone agrees there must be some supreme council which stands above debate, and the question is who should recognized in that position?

    Ori: It’s not a matter of being above debate, but of having to have an ultimate arbiter. If we don’t have an agreed ultimate arbiter, we might have disagreements that will have to be resolved with violence (such as the one in the US in the 1860s).
    ——————————
    The need for an ultimate arbiter is limited to a moment in time, and is limited to practical, but not moral, acceptance. There is no need for an ultimate arbiter who cannot be criticized or removed. (Thats the argument for abolishing monarchies, and still seems pretty popular on that topic.)
    Also, especially in a democracy, the ultimate arbiter is the people. They must accept the decisions of their highest court for as long as they want to continue to give power to the court, but they should never be restricted in replacing it as their ultimate arbiter.

    I feel that many people responding to this story feel that the court is not only an authority on a practical level, but that its conclusions should not even be questioned. This is the attitude I was addressing.

  4. Moshe says:

    Simcha,

    I did not see any such statement in the Bagatz.

    As for the Halacha, the factors mentioned are irrelevant. The question is under what circumstances can a person abandon “toras imo” and change his or her style of pronunciation in davening?

    In either event, the fact is that , the chasidim here did want their children to have anything to do with girls who of Sefardic practice, now matter how machmir or frum they may be. This is the ugly bias against Sefardim, rife in the chareidi world in Israel, at work. R. Adlerstein himself has acknolwledged this bias and compared it to Anti-Semitism.

  5. Chaim Fisher says:

    My son will always remember how when he was twelve years old he saw another boy the same age dancing on a truck bed with his hands in toy handcuffs, thrilled that his father was going to mekadesh Shem Shamayim by going to jail at the hand of the wicked court because he wanted the best Jewish education he could get for his children.

    My son and about a million other Charedi boys.

    Who proved to these children how sick the Israeli court system really is? The judge himself. Thanks for telling it like it is, Judge Levy!

  6. Simcha Younger says:

    Moshe:
    There was no halachic problem with insisting in praying with a Ashkenazi pronounciation, since the Sephardim had a good school to go to which did not make this demand, and they were under no pressure at all to accept it.
    Also, as I just posted on a nother thread, even the Bagatz did not consider this to be discrimination, see the decision in linked the beggining of R’ Adlerstiens post, p. 27, paragraphs 20/21

  7. Steve Brizel says:

    R Adlerstein deserves a major Yasher Koach for his cogent analysis of this decision and the quality of the same, which confirms that the Court is a post Zionist, post Oslo defender of the secular Ashkenazic sensibility of what it means to be an educated Israeli. It is a classic example of legislation by judicial fiat, which American legal scholars have long described as “substantive due process”, wherein courts inject themselves into the issues and roles best performed by the legislative branch.

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    See my comment to R d Landesman’s post on this issue. If Robert Bork and Ruth Gavison view the Court as overly activist and involved in issues that it should not be deciding, then the Court, as was the case with the US Supreme Court, as one can find in any law review or editorial page, simply has opened the floodgates to criticism of its modus operandi.

  9. rachel w says:

    Going back to Mr. Cohen-if the Rabbi had been of Polish origin, and someone had suggested that his D-I-L was Hungarian, he probably would have reacted the same way. Ditto if he was from a family with great Yichus and was told that she came from a very simple background. Do you get my drift? I am disappointed that Cross Currents would post such petty hearsay. (Who is “Mr. Cohen”? Where did he personally witness this-assuming that is was not taken out of context.)

  10. Shachar Haamim says:

    Prof. Adlerstein,

    It is unfortunate that as an orthodox Jew – who presumably has some degree of fluency with Jewish sources in the original Hebrew – that you still have to read the decision in English rather than the original Hebrew. This is a reflection of the sad state of affairs in terms of contemporary American Orthodox Judaism.

    I am quite certain that the judges did not use “inter alia” in the original Hebrew. This is probably a translation of “lerabot, bein hayeter” which is better translated into the Latin rather than some awkard English phrase. This is quite common in translating Israeli judicial and legal documents (including contracts). Israeli judges largely stopped using Latin decades ago. Now to be fancy they use – Aramaic formulations based on the Talmud or plays on Hebrew phrases based on verses in Tanach. Really – you should try to read the original. As a talmudic scholar and Rabbi you might enjoy it better.

    I want to add that I am not Haredi and I largely disagree with the deicions and find the contempt ruling to be one of the most activist rulings ever issued by the Israeli HCJ. It will be critiqued for years to come.

  11. Moshe says:

    All these arguments are very nice, but the bottom line is, that one of the requirements of the chasidish track, was that the Girls speak only ashkenasis in the home. It is problable assur to make such a demand of sefardim and certainly discriminates against them. There is nothing frumer about ashkenazis by any standard.
    Further, the school demands that families submit to the authority of their ashkenazi posek.

    in other words, on sefardim who are willing to “convert” to the “true religion” are well come.

    The Supremes here in israel may leave a lot to be desired, but they certainly got it right here.

  12. Ori says:

    Simcha Younger: Is it that everyone agrees there must be some supreme council which stands above debate, and the question is who should recoginzed in that position?

    Ori: It’s not a matter of being above debate, but of having to have an ultimate arbiter. If we don’t have an agreed ultimate arbiter, we might have disagreements that will have to be resolved with violence (such as the one in the US in the 1860s).

  13. dg says:

    Sad to say but the Israeli Supreme Court, with this decision, shows itself to be more of a national humiliation than the French Soccer team. Speaking also as a (non-practicing) lawyer, the decision is a classic example of starting with the assumption that there is a wrong and trying to back into some expression of what it must be.

  14. Simcha Younger says:

    As to the main topic of the thread..

    This thread seems to oddly parallel many previous discussion here about Daas Torah, except that the sides seem to be reversed.
    Is it that everyone agrees there must be some supreme council which stands above debate, and the question is who should recoginzed in that position?
    Or perhaps this is a function of how one defines their primary society, and wherever it is, the decisor of the laws of that society stand above?
    Or am I wrong, and thoise who do not agree with the concept of Das Torah are also those who reject the court’s claim of social supremacy?

  15. dovid says:

    Sarah: “You really think the teacher told the kids that Sephardim aren’t Jewish?”

    I am acquainted first hand with a Charedi community where the children are taught that you and I, and the majority of k’lal Israel are not Jewish. So, don’t be so surprised. It can be true.

  16. dovid says:

    Sarah: “What is the point of bringing up these irrelevant anecdotes, especially one about a six year old who more likely than not misunderstood his teacher”

    The anecdotes are very relevant. A child doesn’t discriminate. Adults do. The boy heard the anecdotes from adults. Some adults try to achieve superiority over others by putting them down. That’s the source of disparaging comments about Chasidim, Litwaks, Sefardim, baalei tshuva, guerim, you name it.

  17. Ori says:

    Bob Miller: When will the other governmental bodies put a stop to this? Or are they all being held hostage by the “justice” establishment?

    Ori: Given the large number of criminal investigations of Israeli politicians, that may be true. They may indeed be held hostage. Or they might be secretly hoping for Baga”tz to win, even when they cannot afford to support it openly.

    In democratic governments the supreme court is the most conservative element, by design. This means that when you quick demographic change, as Israel is experiencing, it is the last bastion of the old elites.

  18. Bob Miller says:

    What judge needs law clerks or law itself when judges are allowed to impose their rule arbitrarily? When will the other governmental bodies put a stop to this? Or are they all being held hostage by the “justice” establishment?

  19. Sarah says:

    So Mr. Cohen, what exactly is that supposed to prove about the Emanuel case? What is the point of bringing up these irrelevant anecdotes, especially one about a six year old who more likely than not misunderstood his teacher. You really think the teacher told the kids that Sephardim aren’t Jewish? Give me a break.

  20. Mr. Cohen says:

    I personally witnessed both of these incidents:

    Last year, someone suggested that the daughter in law
    of a very pious Ashkenazic Rabbi was really Sephardic.
    The Rabbi reacted as if his daughter in law
    had been accused of being a prostitute or whore.

    In 1989, a six year old child came come from his yeshivah in Brooklyn.
    His father asked: What did you learn in school today?
    The child said: Chassidim worship their rebbes, and Sephardim are not Jewish.

  21. Tal S. Benschar says:

    “The Supreme Court decision can be looked at in two ways. One is that is a thinly veiled attempt to “get” people who are both hareidim and settlers, doubly hated by the leftist elite. More charitably, one could suggest that they assume racism because they don’t really understand why religious values could really be that important to anyone, since they, the judges, as well as the media establishment, are ultra-secular. Even a judge with a kippa like Levi has really bought into most of their ideology without realizing it.”

    The problem with this “charitable” view is that judges are supposed to be detached from the case and view the facts dispassionately. Most Americans, and certainly most Supreme Court justices, would find the Amish theology hard to understand. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Yoder managed to find their insistence that their children not be educated past 8th grade to be worthy of constitutional protection.

    I am sure you can find things in the Moslem, Christian or Bahai faiths that are equally hard to understand as what the Slonimer, lehavdil, wanted to do here. But I am willing to bet that the Israeli Supreme Court would be much more deferential than they were in this case.

  22. Tal S. Benschar says:

    “In this case however, from the court’s perspective, its previous orders were not obeyed – it does not get any clearer than that.”

    Dr. Bill, sorry, the apologetics fail here too. The school was the defendant in the suit, the parents were mere witnesses. I have never heard of a Court having jurisdiction to order a witness to do anything, other than to testify truthfully. Perjury can be contempt, true, but there is no basis to hold the parents in contempt for transferring their childrens elsewhere.

    Not to mention that parents have fundamental rights to educate their children as they see fit. As I already commented (which seems to have impressed R. Menken), in the U.S. courts routinely ordered schools to integrate, but they NEVER ordered parents to send their children to a particular school. Many parents pulled their children from public schools and sent them to private ones to avoid integration.

    Fundamental rights limit what a court can do as much as they limit what a legislature can do. This is what is outrageous and appaling about the ruling.

  23. mb says:

    lex naturalis

  24. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The Supreme Court decision can be looked at in two ways. One is that is a thinly veiled attempt to “get” people who are both hareidim and settlers, doubly hated by the leftist elite. More charitably, one could suggest that they assume racism because they don’t really understand why religious values could really be that important to anyone, since they, the judges, as well as the media establishment, are ultra-secular. Even a judge with a kippa like Levi has really bought into most of their ideology without realizing it.

  25. Simcha Younger says:

    quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur

    [YA – That translates into: “anything said in Latin sounds profound.” Personally, I would prefere Yiddish. But, as they say, de gustibus non est disputandum.]

  26. L. Oberstein says:

    Accusing one of lacking ahavas yisroel is only possible if you know the person and it is consistent. Having a differing opinion is not a lack of ahavas yisroel. The State of Israel faces many exernal and internal crises. If the chareidim continue to grow in numbers , they will be essential to the survival of the state.They cannot remain outsiders in their own country. Does anyone disagree with that? The fact is that chareidi society in Israel is far different from anything that ever existed in Jewish history. It never ever was the norm for people not to learn a trade, to live on charity as a “L’chatchilah”. If chadorim do not teach basic skills, in what way do they prepare their graduates for earning a livlihood. I am worried for the future of the Jewish People and it is a shame that a large segment that could do so much to help is isolated and alienated. There should be a core curriculum in all schools, there should be exemptions only for those who are truly shteiging in learning and not condemn hundreds of young people to a life of poverty and force many of them off the derech out of anger at being deprived of basic skills. How can anyone who knows anything about Jewish History think that what goes on today in Israel is normative ?It is an aberation and at some point will collapse under its own weight.
    Do you not see the cynicism in putting pictures of Litvishe Gedolim on an ad and promising that Rebbetzin Kanievsky will daven for your children when she lights candles if you give to this tzedakah. Do you honestly believe for one minute that these gedolim are willingly participating in this travwesty that turns Judaism into a belief in segulos. There has to be a better way to preserve Judaism.

  27. Barzilai says:

    Well, Rabbi Adlerstein, now you’ve done it. When you next step onto Israeli soil, you may be arrested for infraction of Article 255 of the Israeli Penal Code, which criminalizes anyone who writes… something about a judge with the intention of harming his status or undermining his judgment. The sentence can be up to three years in prison. Clearly, your comment about citing night-stand reading material offends the dignity of the court, and does not fall under the exception for courteous criticism.

    Furthermore, please realize that we can perceive Hashem’s hand in this event, falling as it does during the week of Parshas Balak, in which, famously, a “mule” does talk. In contradistinction to the subjects of your article, Bilaam’s donkey, was clearly a “smart mule,” a euphemism which, while necessary, loses some flavor.

  28. YM says:

    L. Oberstein, the Slonim parent’s don’t want their kids to be anything but what they are. If you say that parent’s in Israel shouldn’t have the right to educate their children the way that they (and their Rabbinical poskim) see fit, then Israel is as bad as all the other places in Jewish history where the authorities interfered with, or tried to interfere with, Jewish education. And if you try to argue that the government shouldn’t have to pay for Slonim style education, then are you in effect saying that as soon as the Charedim become 50% plus one of the voting public, anything they want to impose is ok?

  29. dr. bill says:

    Rabbi, i am totally ignorant or legal history ands also prefer conceptual categories and decision rules. But case law and ambiguity at the edge, has a long history, perhaps one that should be replaced. The Israeli supreme court does appear to operate from precedent not principles and does seem at times to “make it up” in accord with their view of how to extend precedent based on a less than clear sense of justice. In this case however, from the court’s perspective, its previous orders were not obeyed – it does not get any clearer than that. In different contexts (including halakhic ones) it is the ruling not the rationale that tends to be primary.

    Despite all this, I hope and pray, I do not hear you joined the ACLU!!

  30. Esther says:

    L. Oberstein, your ahavas yisroel is exemplary.

  31. L. Oberstein says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, you are exemplifying the crux of th issue. You know all this legal stuff and you also know a lot of Torah. Why aren’t there more people like you in Israel? When I look at you , I don’t see some kid climbing a pole with long sidecurls and a mode of dress that is so “18th century”, a kid who can’t do basic elementary school math skills, never learned a word of science and certainly knows no literature. In Los Angeles, religous Jews are not opposed to work, to secular education, to full participation in the life of the community. The picture I see is of hundreds of thousands of people who form a seperate and very un-equal community. Is Israel going to be a developed modern country or is it to become a third world country. How long can a country survive if it is anti-democratic, does not allow freedom of the press or of speech, relies on a small coterie of hangers on to tell us what the supreme leader thinks and is at war with every advance of technology.Perhaps Israeli chareidim fit in too well into the region.Defending them is not the same as defending Hashem or His Torah, maybe they are not the only authentic way to be a good Jew.

  32. Ben Chorin says:

    YA, you are quite right that the decision was outrageous. But all the mush about rights is par for the course for Israel’s Supreme Court and breaks no new ground. In that respect, they hit bedrock long ago. The real chiddush here is imprisoning citizens who are not even (and could not be) respondents in the original petition.