Israel: Appointment of Dayanim on Hold for at Least Six Months


rabiThe decision to go to early elections has resulted in yet another delay in appointing dayanim to the nation’s batei din system as well as appointments to the Supreme Beis Din of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

There are only two dayanim serving on the Supreme Beis Din today and no dayanim have been added to that forum since 2009. There is also a shortage of dayanim on the regional and local batei din levels; referring of course to those batei din affiliated with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel system. The latter continues operating but the lack of manpower results in the Supreme Rabbinical Court only convening twice weekly, which results in a 6-12 month delays in hearing cases. On the regional level, 15% of cases are not being heard and the situation will worsen in the coming months as the appointments that were expected last week are now on hold for a minimum of six months due to national elections. Hit particularly hard of those people waiting to have their divorce and agunah cases heard by the batei din.

The Dayanim Appointments Committee was to have convened last week to fill the slot after Justice Minister Tzipi Livni reached agreement with the Av Beis Din of the Supreme Beis Din Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Shlita. Livni was pushing for the appointment of Av Beis Din Tzfas/Tiveria Rabbi Uriel Lavie to the Supreme Rabbinical Court. The chareidim have been tenacious in their objections to the appointment, especially after Rav Lavie eight months ago was matir an agunah who husband was in a vegetative state.

Despite being fired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from her cabinet post, Livni could have convened the committee on Wednesday because the letter of dismissal only went into effect on Thursday, 12 Kislev. However, Rabbi Yosef notified Livni at the last moment that he withdraws his support for Lavie’s appointment. Rav Yosef explained he was doing so after being instructed by Maran HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita to oppose the appointment.

It appears the word was given to block the appointment in the hope that in the new coalition, the chareidim may be in a position to appointment someone else in Rav Lavie’s place and will enjoy sufficient backing for the move.

Another problem for the chareidim is that on 14 Kislev, the terms appointment committee members Dayanim Bentzion Boaron and Tzion Algarbeli expired and they too will not be replaced before elections.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. The interim government would seem to have the authority to appoint dayanim; a previous interim government appointed judges. Bibi has said that he intends to hold the position of Justice Minister. He may, perhaps, prefer not to deal with the matter so as not to alienate potential coalition partners but it would seem that he has the authority to do so.