Liberman: Smotrich worse than delusional hilltop boy for proposing biblical law
Claiming superiority of ancient rules over current system in Israel, Bezalel Smotrich of United Right says rabbinical courts should play a larger role, eliciting furious response from Yisrael Beytenu leader, already enmeshed in row over Haredi draft
Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman on Monday attacked far-right MK Bezalel Smotrich for suggesting that if he is appointed justice minister, Israel's legal system will be run according to Torah law, as it was in the days of biblical kings David and Solomon.
"Listen to what Smotrich - a candidate for the justice minister post - has said. This is no longer just a comment of a delusional hilltop boy, but a statement of intent, he wants a Halachic state,” he said.
Smotrich, who is second in the United Right party, earlier on Monday said this system of law will be suited to 2019, promising that "there will be no stoning for violations of Shabbat."
"It is my intention that the State of Israel is ultimately run according to the Torah. That is how it should be in a Jewish state," the 39-year-old lawmaker told Israel Radio.
He said he hopes that this would result in "a more just legal system."
Smotrich said he wants to introduce parts of biblical law into Israel, claiming it is far superior to the law as it was shaped by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak, who has been criticized often by the right for his judicial activism.
"Our country will return to the way it was in the days of King David and King Solomon, run by the laws of the Torah," Smotrich said. He claimed there was no question of religious coercion.
"Nothing will happen immediately, and nothing will be done by coercion," he said. "I think there should be Rabbinical courts and their authority should be respected and allowed to play a greater role."
Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich said Smotrich's comments should serve as a wake-up call for the country.
"His shocking words should be a warning in the face of the conservative wave washing over us," she said. "According to the prospective ministers of justice and education, Israel should become a country in which men are able to divorce their wives for dressing immodestly, slavery and stoning to death are practised, homosexuality is banned and only men are allowed to own property.
"The fact that Smotrich and his cohorts are not hallucinating from the sidelines and are in fact assuming important and influential roles, poses a tremendous danger to the future of humanity and the age of enlightenment."