A 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)