The legal system is having a hard time swallowing the justice minister's comments that Torah law should be restored in Israel, and sources in the establishment are now saying: Minister Yaakov Ne'eman cannot remain in his role.
"The prime minister must call him to order and fire him at once. There is no place for such comments by the justice minister in Israel," top sources from the legal system told Ynet on Tuesday.
Ne'eman told a rabbinical conference in Jerusalem Monday evening: "We must restore glory (to the judicial system), so that the justice of the Torah will be the justice commanded in the State of Israel."
Following enraged responses from across the political spectrum, Ne'eman on Tuesday clarified that his statements didn't imply "a call to replace state laws with halachic laws, not directly or indirectly." His office issued a statement which read, "The minister spoke in broad terms on restoring the Jewish law and its importance in state life."
Senior officials in the legal system said, "A justice minister in the Israeli government, which is a democratic government, cannot make such statements and it cannot be left to blow over. This is a serious statement that takes us 10 years back."
According to one of the sources, "The minister may have meant to cater to the public before which he spoke, but such a statement cannot come from the justice minister. If he is of this opinion, he cannot serve as a minister in the State of Israel."
Former MK Professor Amnon Rubinstein told Ynet, "The justice minister's bid to turn Israel into a halachic state is a revolution that will rob Israel of its character as a Jewish democratic state, and will nullify the Knesset's position as a force that represents the people's sovereignty and will call for the replacement of judges with religious judges."
He stressed that "it will not be the Israel we know. A large portion of the non-religious public in Israel will not want to live in such a state. Such a halachic state will estrange itself from the vast majority of the Jewish people in Diaspora.
"I don't think the minister should be fired, and I don’t blame Minister Ne'eman for being a religious man, but I do blame the parties that are meant to represent the non-religious public for betraying their constituents."
Other sources in the Justice Minister said that if Minister Ne'eman did mean what he said, he should apologize and show understanding of the dimensions of the storm he stirred.
However, other sources in the legal system, mainly from the religious sector, came to Ne'eman's defense, saying the Torah is not just mitzvoth, but is full of laws that were later bestowed to all humanity.
Dr. Aviad Hacohen, Dean of the Sha'arei Mishpat Academic College and specialist on Jewish Law, said, "These comments should be praised. The vision of Israel's prophets is a central part of the Proclamation of Independence, the values of liberty, the justice, integrity and peace in Jewish law and the Torah of Israel and expresses Israel's existence as a Jewish state.
"Such statements have been made in the past by great jurists and they should not remain in the form of rhetoric, but should be materialized."