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The Halakhic Validity of Israel’s Judicial System among Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Halakhic Decisors

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Building and Condominium Housing Laws as a Test Case

image of Review of Rabbinic Judaism

This paper examines the approaches of three Israeli ultra-Orthodox halakhic decisors and rabbinical judges to civil law and adjudication in Israel. Based primarily on Israel’s building and condominium housing laws, it reveals that the approaches of these decisors appear largely to reflect their distinctive ideological and sociological stances towards Israeli civil law and its civil judicial system. Rabbis Israel Grossman and Shmuel Wosner confer halakhic validity on construction that is in violation of civil law, justifying it on the need to enlarge flats due to large family size and crowded conditions. On the other hand, Rabbi Asher Weiss objects to illegal building work, viewing it as “bad custom.” He maintains that religious Jews should serve as civil court lawyers and judges, regarding this as a holy undertaking. His attitude towards the civil judicial system is more sympathetic than that of Rabbis Grossman and Wosner. In each of their views, these Rabbis bring to their interpretation of Jewish law sources their distinctive ideological perspectives towards modern Israel’s civil law.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, Ono Academic


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