Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Is this “Satanic Prosecution” by the Judges?

By HaRav Yisrael Rosen 
Dean of the Zomet Institute

“If all the judges of the Sanhedrin rule that the defendant is guilty – he is released... Nobody is appointed to the Sanhedrin unless he knows can a show that a vermin is kosher by Torah law.” [Sanhedrin 17a].

A Note to the Honorable Judge: We are at War!

I join at least half of our nation in expressing total shock to hear the ruling of the judges that was read by IDF Judge Maya Heller in the case of Elor Azaria, who killed a terrorist in Chevron. I have no quarrel with the facts, with such issues as the angle of shooting, or the values of “the purity of arms,” which are all part of the arsenal of the honored judge. I do have a dispute with the tie-wearing military prosecutors, who refused to accept a plea bargain (as reported by the press), preferring to stick to their religion of legalism, because of they are convinced that the law takes precedence over life. And I have a dispute with the blindness of the Chief Judge of the case, who lives in this religious bubble, which seems to be taken from another planet, not the one on which we live.

Has this woman never heard that we are at war? Doesn’t the honorable judge know that the international laws of war have undergone a revolution, not from the side of the “good guys” but from the side of the evil ones? They have invented a new weapon for which nobody has yet found a defense: Suicide! These people are living bombs who are willing to die for “the cause.” Anybody who wants to live is naturally repelled by this weapon and is filled with natural suspicions of fear. But evidently these simple facts have not been recorded in the learned law books. Madam Judge, I understand that we are not allowed even in wartime to kill an enemy who is restrained and handcuffed. However, is the honorable judge allowed to put handcuffs on the hands of our fighters, and to restrain their spirits, with ropes that stem from legalisms? Doesn’t such a primeval situation rate at least a small level of consideration, something which is completely missing from the judge’s ruling?

Today, when I am writing this column, we lived through the tragedy of a truck attack on officer cadets from Bahad 1, in full view of the walls of Jerusalem. It has been reported that for this terrorist one attack in the “forward” direction was not enough, and he turned the truck back and ran over his victims a second time. My fingers tremble when I consider the following dilemma: If I had been there, or my officer sons or grandsons, would I have shot at the terrorist in the pause between the two stages of the attack? In a flicker of indecision, I might have indeed held back, seeing the image of the raised finger of Judge Heller: “It is forbidden! The attack is over!”

I agree that we cannot erase the laws of war, but there remain two paths that we can take in Azaria’s case: A reasonable plea bargain, or to quickly grant a pardon (skipping over the stage of appealing the existing decision, which perpetuates the religion of the absurd).

Is there no Spark of Consideration? Does Everything Point to Guilt?

In Hebrew law there is a rule that at first glance might seem to be absurd, but which in reality is a perfect match for the psychology of judgment. As quoted above, “If all the judges of the Sanhedrin rule that the defendant is guilty – he is released.. .” The commentators explain that if the judges could not find any reason in favor of the defendant, not one single indication of lenience (as is true of the learned decision of the judge in this case) – then we must conclude that this is a “done deal” and not an honest trial! The main foundation of judging is to be able to see the “other side” of an issue, and as quoted above to show that a vermin is kosher by Torah law. If this element is missing, the trial is cancelled.

Elor Azaria’s trial is a perfect example of iniquity in judgment – the ruling does not include a single word of compassion for the defendant.

(Written at the end of the fast of the Tenth of Tevet.)

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*** AN IMPORTANT NOTE BY RABBI YISRAEL ROZEN: I received hundreds of angry reactions, if not more, in talk-backs, e-mail, and text messages, to my article of last week about the saga of the Yemenite children. A few of the messages tried to argue against what I wrote, while the vast majority just vented their rage. But none of them understood correctly what I wrote

I did not write that no children disappeared (in fact, I wrote that more than 1,000 children did disappear). I did not write that children were not buried without giving any details to their parents (just the opposite). And I did not write that children were not given out for adoption (just the opposite). I did not even write that there was no “organized crime” by official government enterprises to hand children out for adoption and for “re-education.” What I did write is that no evidence was uncovered that this was all the result of an organized secret conspiracy, and that this fact gave me a good feeling. All those who attacked me so viciously may well have a problem understanding clear language.

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