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69 Complaints Filed Against Rabbinical Courts

courthammer1.jpgA report released by State Ombudsman retired justice Eliezer Goldberg was presented to Justice Minister Prof. Yaakov Ne’eman last week.

According to the report, the state ombudsman received 1,205 complaints in 2008, including 98 complaints carried over from 2007 and 300 repeat complaints.

A chapter of the report is dedicated to the nation’s rabbinical courts in 12 cities, including the Supreme Rabbinate Court. 80 complaints were addressed against dayanim in 2008, including 69 from 2008 and 11 remaining from 2007.

The number of legitimate complaints against dayanim rose from 14% in 2007 to 23% in 2008. In one case, the ombudsman recommended a disciplinary hearing against a dayan operating in a district level rabbinical court. A copy of the matter was also filed with the attorney general.

In another case, a recommendation was made to the Supreme Rabbinical Court to end the tenure of one of the court’s members, a recommendation that was unanimously rejected by the senior rabbinical forum.

One complaint addressed a relatively commonplace occurrence, a hearing that began 2.5 hours late and the dayanim dismissing the hearing after a few minutes, refusing to hear testimony from witnesses who waited, explaining the hour was late.

This unfortunately takes place all too often and the complaint makes reference to the fact that the attitude of dayanim often seems disrespectful, displaying an unprofessional mannerism and lack of concern.

Another complaint filed by a woman seeking a get explained that no progress was made and no decision rendered following 19 hearings, citing her husband habitually fails to appear in court. She stated that the court fails to take any action against him for his contemptuous behavior while her life hangs in the balance.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

7 Responses

  1. I wonder if this study as a statistical matter, also took into consideration, the pattern and ratio of complaints filed by the winners and losers of the respective dinei torah.

    I suspect that there might be a pattern linked to those facts.

  2. I am in divorce proceedings at the Jerusalem Bais din for the last 6 years. My last hearing was over a year ago. The psak was issued 7 months after the hearing and the contents of the psak have not been enforced or addressed yet. I have since put in many requests to the dayanim to do something about the psak that they issued. To date I have not received any response. One wonders what they get paid for there.

  3. Nu, Nu, this is known among those who have gone to beis din in Israel. Dayanim should be penalized when coming late or not showing up at all–give out a pink slip and say GOODBYE!!

  4. Note these are “government” rabbinical courts – one’s created by, funded, supervised and beholden to the zionist state. Being government agencies, they seemed to have learned how to act like every other Israeli bureaucracy.

    It is a good argument that a “Beis Din” is best run by the Bnei Torah under the supervision of the “Gedolim”, and that governments should not be involved.

  5. #7 – A Beis Din should work independent of the state. Once you accept the king’s shilling, he owns you. That’s how it always worked.

    If a marriage, divorce or conversion is done according to halacha, it is valid regardless of what Netanyahu or Olmert or Sharon or King George or the Sultan in Constantinople say about it.

    In America, until the lagte 18th century (after independence) marriage was considered a religious function, not a government function, and the government didn’t meddle. Only when they abolished state churches did they adopt a secular marriage law and imposed it on all religious minorities (basically they took the canon law of the Church of England and applied it to everyone, and then started amending – gay marriage be the latest in a long string of amendments).

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