Jewish law must eventually be the law of the land, said United Right List head Betzalel Smotrich – and he would like the opportunity to help make that happen as Israel’s new Justice Minister, especially now that the job is open with the dismissal of Ayelet Shaked Sunday, he told Reshet Bet Monday.
“The job of a Justice Minister in Israel will be to restore Jewish law as the law of the land,” Smotrich said. “Jews who go to daven daily say the brachah of Hashivah Shofteinu (“restore our judges as in previous days”). The Jewish people are a unique people who must live under the laws of the Torah. Nothing is being done now, and nothing will be forced on anyone. The term ‘Torah law’ is very wide-ranging. Monetary matters, for example, are much more complicated without Torah law. More respect in these matters should be given to rabbinical courts.”
When asked if he believed Israel should be a halachic state, Smotrich said that “they take these concepts out of the air and try to scare people. A state based on Torah law would be much preferable to the ‘halachic state’ the secular judges led by Aharon Barak established here. Why is a state where the High Court establishes the ‘halachah’ a good thing? I want to see the Jewish state run under Jewish law, and this will happen when the Jewish people will want this – and I am sure they will want this, when they see how just, correct, and humanistic Jewish law is.
“Israel is a Jewish state, and it will return to be ruled as it was in the days of Kings David and Solomon, according to Torah law, in line with the way society lives in 2019,” Smotrich said.
His job as Justice Minister, he added, would be to expose Israelis to Torah law and help them become familiar with its benefits. During the failed coalition negotiations for the 22nd Knesset, Smotrich had demanded that the Justice and Education Ministries be handed over to the United Right List as its price for joining a Likud-led coalition.
Leftist MKs rushed to condemn Smotrich for the comments. Labor MK Shelly Yechimovich said that “Smotrich’s shocking statements are a warning sign for the wave of conservatism in some parts of the right. The potential Justice or Education minister wants to institute laws that will “essentially make Israel a medieval society,” she said, adding that his comments “are a real warning to the freedom of man and a liberal society.”
Meretz head Tamar Zandberg said that “the true, crazy vision of Smotrich has now been revealed. There is no need to specify what will happen to women and other groups if Biblical law is instituted. All we need to know is that according to the law of Knesset, candidates who reject the idea of a Jewish and democratic state can be banned from running for office. Clearly he is disqualified from acting as Justice Minister, as he would impose a theocracy on Israel.”