The Coalition against Racism in Israel has called on the members of the Ministers Committee for Legislation, in a letter sent by Adv. Einat Horowitz of the Israel Religious Action Center, an organization that is a member of the Coalition, to object strongly to the Draft Rabbis Immunity Law that will be tabled for discussion in the Committee on Sunday, June 5, 2011.
The Coalition against Racism, incorporating about 30 human rights organizations and social organizations from the various communities in Israel, both Arab and Jewish, argues in the position paper that it transmitted to the Ministers Committee, that the draft law negates a basic law of the State of Israel as a democratic country: all are equal before the law. The draft law seeks to permit incitement by Israeli Rabbis and to issue a message to the law enforcement authorities and the entire public that the Rabbis of Israel are above the law and are unlike all other mortals. A draft law that portrays the law enforcement system as a hostile element and states that, contrary to prime ministers and Knesset members, only Rabbis are immune to any law, is fallacious, anti-democratic and anti-Jewish, and should be rejected without delay.
Adv. Einat Horowitz further explained that the draft law was submitted in light of the increasing phenomenon of many Rabbis disseminating serious racist statements, which also incite to rebellion and violence against Arabs and other minorities in the State of Israel. These statements purport to be based on the Jewish Halacha and tradition, but it is clear from the statements, the context and the speakers that these are ideological statements camouflaged as "Halacha" in order to exempt the speakers from liability under the law. As part of the wave of racist incitement, Halachic judgments were published by Rabbis calling not to rentsell apartments to Arabs, foreign workers and refugees; calls were issued saying that all Arab citizens of Israel are the enemy; a book entitled "The Law of the King" was distributed, which argues specifically that the life of a Jew is more precious than that of a non-Jew and permits the killing of innocent people, including infants, etc.
Adv. Horowitz clarified that, contrary to the argument of those who composed the law, even today, under the existing law, quoting from Jewish sources in itself is not considered a criminal offense, but those who proposed the law do not settle for that and are interested in creating separate systems of laws - one for the Rabbis and one for everyone else - while the draft law seeks to enable the Rabbis to publish racist incitements, to incite against government entitiesincite to violence, without being considered to have committed a criminal offense, while anyone else would have been brought to trial for the same statements.
The Coalition argues that it is clear that the draft law is not only a license for racist sedition: it will enable free incitement against non-Jews in general, against non-religious Jews, against gays, against single-parent families, against the Prime Ministeranyone else whom the Rabbis dont like. In the past the State of Israel experienced such wild agitation against its Prime Minister, which ended in murder, as will be remembered.
The draft law is a serious and provocative attempt to cultivate racism and hatred and to legitimize them in the Israeli book of laws. It will be a death blow for the basic principles of democracy: the principles of equality and human dignity. Equally serious is the damage to Judaism, since the draft law makes the Jewish religion the justification for every act of villainy, wickedness and discrimination.
Adv. Nidal Othman, Director of the Coalition Staff, adds: "The draft law aims to justify the unending wave of racist incitement in the past two years. It is neither democratic nor constitutional and we hope that the members of the Ministers Committee will not lend their hand to such a serious blow to these principles."
Links to the draft law: http://www.knesset.gov.il/privatelaw/data/18/3035.rtf