The justice minister tried to calm the storm that ensued following his previous statements on Torah law in Israel, but again has caused controversy. Following the sharp public criticism of Minister Yaakov Ne'eman's call for Torah law to be instated in Israel, he stood at the Knesset podium Tuesday to respond to his critics.
"The court system in Israel is overloaded. Therefore, transferring conflicts to an alternative litigation system under mutual consent must be encouraged. Financial courts rule according to halachic law as was established through dozens of generations," explained Ne'eman.
Minister Ne'eman spoke before the Knesset plenum as part of a discussion on International Human Rights day, but his speech was dedicated to clarifying and defending his previous statements made during a conference on Hebrew law in Jerusalem. "I hear the calls being made from all directions and want to put things back on the right track," he said.
"Financial courts rule according to halacha, as it was codified in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, in the writings of the wise, and in halachic rulings," he explained.
Therefore, he asserted, "I did not say anything new at my appearance at the financial law conference. After all, the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 1 verses 26-27 already said many years ago: 'Then I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning; after that you will be called the city of righteousness, a faithful city. Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.'"
In response to his critics, he said, "I find it difficult to accept the statements attributed to me in the reports, as if I said that the State's laws must be replaced right now with Torah laws."
The minister's statements at the conference, while loudly applauded by the rabbis in attendance, were slammed in the political echelons, especially among the Left. Minister Ne'eman already clarified that his statements were misunderstood and claimed that they were in no way a call "to replace the State's laws with halacha laws, neither directly nor indirectly."