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State Comptroller Has Harsh Words for Rabbinical Court Judges

court hammer4.jpgIn the 1,514 page state comptroller’s report released on Tuesday, one of the topics addressed by Justice Micha Lindenstrauss is the nation’s Rabbinical Court system. The results are quite alarming and do not attest to the Torah-based courts operating as they should.

An inspection of pending cases being addressed in different cities revealed major backlogs in many of them, citing 83% in Tel Aviv and 71% in Petach Tikvah. The alarmingly high number of cases in which there are discrepancies, shortcomings and backlogs points directly at the dayanim, the rabbinical judges.

Some of the problems recorded by the state comptroller’s staff include prolonged delays in processing gets (divorce), a lack of follow-up by clerical staff following a divorce, erroneous data entered into the computer system thereby complicating the divorce since the ‘system’ reflects different information, contradicting reality.

The comptroller states that the time from one opening a file until a divorce is processed truly represents a “delay in justice”.

An inspection of the dayanim in Tel Aviv revealed that 15 of 25 ended their workday ahead of schedule, resulting in yet a further backlog in cases. Lindenstrauss also cites that in the State Ombudsman’s report of 2005, Tova Strassberg-Cohen cites similar problems, reporting that dayanim regularly report to work late and/or leave early, apparently not accountable to anyone.

It is pointed out that the director of the rabbinical courts, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, and the head of the all the courts, HaRav Shlomo Amar Shlita have during the past three years addressed the issue, sending warning letters to dayanim as well as calling some of them in and warning them that their continued tardiness will not be tolerated.

One of the other problems addressed in the report is the fact that some dayanim do not live in the city in which they serve, as required, contributing to their late arrivals and early departures.

YWN reported on April 6, 2008 [HERE] that in some cases, dayanim travel daily from Jerusalem to Haifa, resulting in major delays in cases in the Haifa district. This is a violation of the terms of their employment.

Today, Lindenstrauss points out, 36% of the justices do not live in the city in which they work – adding that in 2005, the civil service commissioner determined living in a far away location contributes to tardiness and reduces the efficiency of the judicial system. In addition, upon entering into their position, dayanim sign a paper committing to adhere to the rules and regulations, including one’s obligation to live and serve in the same city.

In the 2006 State Comptroller’s Report, it is cited that the justice minister sent a warning letter to dayanim, as did the civil service commissioner – further documenting the ongoing problem. Civil service officials recommended dismissing eight dayanim who were not in compliance at that time.

Lindenstrauss is now calling upon the justice minister, civil service officials and the committee to appoint justices to act, to take the necessary actions to put and end to this long-standing unacceptable reality.

It should be pointed out that dayanim enjoy the same salary and benefits as do justices serving in the civil court system.


I have been present in many hearings in the Rabbinical Courts and have seen first-hand the light-handed approach in which dayanim deal with the populace, the disdain, the lack of respect and the seemingly genuine disinterest in hearing cases. This is particularly apparent in divorce proceedings where emotions run high and the rabbis rarely if ever exhibit any compassion for the couple standing before them.

Hearings may be scheduled for 9am, but a dayan may only appear at work an hour or so later. In a number of cases, not all the dayanim were present, rendering a proper hearing an impossibility since they lacked three dayanim. In other cases, afternoon hearings are canceled without prior notification – only to learn that one or more of the dayanim left early for unknown reasons.

The criticisms against the Rabbinical Courts from this reporter’s perspective are indeed legitimate and reflect the poor performance of many dayanim which unfortunately reflect poorly on the Torah way of life in the eyes of the majority of the citizens of Israel, who are not Torah-observant Jews.

This despite the fact that they are highly paid civil servants and enjoy the benefits of the job without undertaking the responsibilities, as do their counterparts in the civil court system.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

11 Responses

  1. Any Dayan who takes money and is not there exactly on time is a ganev,chilul Hashem and should be fired B/C he causes a Chilul Hashem.

  2. What a joke. The corrupt secular judiciary passing judgement on others.

    Another fallacy of attempting to work within the corrupt and broken zionist system.

  3. Only one term for thi9 – CHILUL HASHEM of major proportions. They should be ashamed of themselves. What will they say when they come to the KISEI HAKAVOD?

  4. #1 + 3 How on earth can you pass such comments when you (presumably) have not been in an Israeli Beis Din and have not seen any tardiness first hand.
    I don’t think the Israeli judiciary is renowned for it’s love of Torah and Rabbonim, so maybe we can take their report with a pinch of salt

  5. Funny I always thought that the Israeli batei din were better than their American counterparts. It seems they aren’t.

  6. I am waiting for a get for the last 6 yrs. due to the ineptness and gross uncaring of the jerusalem beis din. My last hearing was almost a year ago and I’m still waiting for a psak!

  7. The criticism against the Israeli rabbinical courts is unfortunately very legitimate. Just ask any frum jew that passed thru their doors. There is no justice there whatsoever. The side who has the most protektzia wins.

  8. I personally know a dayan who served in Jerusalem and lives in Tel Aviv. The beis din paid his daily tranportation.

  9. the dayanim abuse thier power by abusing the populace. They have no interest in justice. whoever knows how to yell louder during a hearing gets heard. That leaves us Americans in a bad position.

  10. Where are all the people screaming “Kafiyah chilonit!” How about issuing the report side by side with a report on civil court judges? or that might be too scary?

  11. #12 are you suggesting that Mitzvah observance does not, of necessity, produce higher quality people? Your post seems to justify Orthodox misbehavior as being no worse than that of the secular society. Is that your point?

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