Imagine Israel if the Rabbinical Courts Decided Civil Matters… What an Iran it Would Be…

Rabbinical court officials tried to promote beneficial legislation in coalition talks

Despite regulations, the court’s legal advisor sends religious party leaders’ recommendations for legislation that would expand the rabbinical system’s powers, including allowing Jewish law to be used in civil cases, constructing new building to match that of Supreme Court

Senior officials in Israel’s rabbinical courts prepared a document suggesting legislation for ultra-Orthodox parties to use during coalition negotiations after the April 2019 elections.

The document, which goes against existing regulations on the separation of the rabbinical courts and the political echelon, was obtained by Ynet’s sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth.

L-R: United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Union head Bezalel Smotrich (Photos: EPA and Yair Sagi)

L-R: United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Union head Bezalel Smotrich (Photos: EPA and Yair Sagi)

It was sent out from the personal account of the rabbinical courts’ legal advisor Rabbi Shimon Yaacovi two weeks after the elections, in an email entitled “Clauses for the government’s basic guidelines.” It was sent to several members of the ultra-Orthodox parties’ negotiators as well as Bezalel Smotrich, the head of the National Union party.

The document contained suggested legislation that the ultra-Orthodox parties should demanded from the government during the coalition talks.

The most noteworthy item was proposed legislation that states that, “the rabbinical courts will have the authority to decide financial cases according to Jewish law, if all sides in the dispute agree.”

Similar legislative attempts meant to increase the power and scope of the rabbinical courts beyond divorce and conversion, have previously been stopped in the past by the Supreme Court.

Other items in the document dealt directly with employment conditions for rabbinical court staff, demanding they be equal to those of workers in the civil court system.

Yaacovi also recommends that the government commit to assigning a budget for a new rabbinical court building and the chief rabbinate that is of equal standard to the Supreme Court building.

The rabbincal court for the Jerusalem area (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

The rabbincal court for the Jerusalem area (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

The legal adviser also sought to increase his own jurisdiction, recommending that he be authorized to appear before the Supreme Court for any injunction involving rabbinical courts without receiving permission from the attorney general.

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The Surrogate’s Court Race in Brooklyn – Why it Matters and Why You Should Vote For Someone Not Beholden

The Democratic primary is on June 25. Eagle file photo by Ned Berke

Why surrogate judges matter: A voter’s primer


Brooklynites will head to the polls on June 25 to vote in a primary for a number of lesser known judgeships, including for a seat on the the Surrogate’s Court in Brooklyn. Before filling out those bubbles, it might help to know: what is Surrogate’s Court?

Surrogate’s Court is for the dead — mostly. When someone dies, they usually leave things behind, namely: money and property. Whether or not they have made out a will before they die, in New York, their estates are handled in Surrogate’s Court.

There is a Surrogate’s Court in each borough of New York City. They are overseen by elected judges known as — you guessed it — surrogates. In Manhattan and Brooklyn, there are two surrogates. In the other boroughs, there is just one. Surrogate’s Court judges serve 14-year terms in New York City.

[The Democratic primary for Brooklyn’s Surrogate’s Court election is on June 25. Find your polling site here.]

The Surrogate’s Court handles the probate of wills — meaning, when someone dies and leaves a will, it must be proven valid in Surrogate’s Court before the estate can be dispersed among heirs. This can be a simple process, say, if a single parent dies and bequeaths their estate to an only child. Or it can be complicated, say, if a father who bore an illegitimate son gives his estate to his two children born during his marriage. If the illegitimate son wants to challenge to get part of the estate, that dispute over the will would be handled in Surrogate’s Court.

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Revisiting Lori Shem-Tov, the Sex Scandal that is Rocking the Israeli Judiciary

Shaked faces calls to resign as sex scandal rocks Israel judiciary

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is seen at the podium as she gives a statement at the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 19, 2018 (Photo by: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is facing calls to resign as Israeli politicians accuse her of complicity in a sex scandal that has rocked the country’s judiciary.

Shaked yesterday hit back at accusations that she bore responsibility for the scandal, in which the head of the Israel Bar Association, Efraim (Efi) Nave, allegedly helped appoint a female judge in return for sexual favours.

Nave is thought to be a powerful ally of Shaked’s within the judicial system, with both sitting on Israel’s Judicial Appointments Committee which assigns judges to the Israeli courts. Shaked’s political opponents are now claiming she allowed Nave to allegedly abuse his power under her watch in order to promote her own political interests.

Shaked yesterday hit back at this criticism, labelling it “an unbridled, false and inflammatory attack,” the Times of Israel (ToI) reported. The Israeli daily added that Shaked took “particular issue with female ‘left-wing Knesset members’,” telling a Bar Association seminar that “we have our political differences, but I considered them colleagues. They are all women, and that is my disappointment”.

Shaked was likely referring to criticism levelled against her by Shelly Yachimovich, who earlier this week slammed the justice minister for her alleged involvement in the affair. Yachimovich – who replaced Tzipi Livni as leader of the opposition following the latter’s unceremonious dismissal earlier this month –  said in a statement on Wednesday: “[The] judicial selection committee operated under terror and corruption, under the destructive leadership of Justice Minister Shaked, and the rotten environment and broken alliances that created it are the ground for the horrific affair being exposed today.”

The scandal in which Shaked is implicated has shaken the Israel judicial system since details first emerged on Wednesday. Nave was arrested by the Israel Police on suspicion of offering promotions in exchange for sexual favours, as part of an investigation which saw his home and the Israel Bar Association offices in Jerusalem raided, Haaretz reported. The police seized documents and computer files during the raid. Nave has been released to house arrest for eight days pending further investigation.

Nave is suspected of appointing a female judge to an Israeli magistrates’ court in return for illicit acts. According to the Times of Israel, he is also “suspected of having sexual relations with the wife of another judge, for the purpose of helping her husband advance from a magistrate’s court to a district court position”.

Though the incidents are thought to have taken place several years ago, the Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit of the Israel Police only opened the probe two weeks ago, after Israel Army Radio journalist Hadas Shteif provided information to the police about the case. Additional details continue to emerge, with the investigation initially placed under gag order by Israel’s censor.

READ: Ex-Israel minister given 11 year jail term for spying for Iran

Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has disqualified himself from dealing with the case “given his friendship with the main suspect”. Instead the case will be overseen by State Attorney Shai Nitzan, who ToI explains personally authorised Nave’s arrest.

The political ramifications of the scandal are yet to play out, though the revelations could be damaging to Shaked’s newly-formed New Right (Hayemin Hehadash) party. Shaked, along with Education Minister Naftali Bennett, broke away from the Jewish Home party in a bid to head into Israel’s upcoming general election with a clean slate, distancing themselves from what the religious-Zionist camp and hoping to steal seats from the ruling Likud party.

Other Knesset members (MKs) however blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for fostering an environment marred by corruption. Revital Swed, of the Israel Labor party, said: “The new affair highlights the four-year campaign of destruction, in which the prime minister and the justice minister abused the judicial system, politicizing it. When this is the norm, it is no wonder that the committee for the appointment of judges is also desecrated.”

Swed was of course referring to the numerous corruption cases levied against Netanyahu. The prime minister is under investigation in three separate probes –dubbed Case 1000Case 2000and Case 4000 respectively – and has repeatedly attacked the police and judicial system, claiming they are biased against him.


Lori Shem-Tov, Arrests of Effi Naveh and Others in Judicial Sex Scandal, Trading Sex for Judgeship

Lori Shem-Tov and the Effi Naveh Arrest

We have been following the Shem-Tov case closely because as anonymous bloggers, we would like to believe that our identities are protected. Lori’s case proves that anonymity may not always be as safe as we would like to think. It further proves the lengths to which those who are scrutinized will go to gain and retain silence.

We have published the majority of the following article related to a judicial sexual scandal (which was the partial basis for the Shem-Tov case) absent permission of the author. Our publication should not be assumed to indicate any support of our blog by that blogger or any endorsement of that blog by us. We ask that you revert back to the original source for further reading. 

For ease of reference, we have highlighted in red the pertinent parts of the Sex Scandal as it relates to the Shem-Tov case. It should be understood that Lori has been held in jail in Israel, or under some form of arrest absent a formal trial on charges of what is called “scandalizing the courts”. Her information was obtained by the authorities in Israel from WordPress through international channels on the grounds that she was a so-called web terrorist. These are serious charges and allegations.

Considering the integrity of the judges she was criticizing, one should be asking at this juncture whether or not it might be time to drop the charges. Justices in any country are the law of the land. They are the ultimate arbiters of democracy and the democratic process. If they cannot be trusted, who then, as a society can we trust.  


Israel Bar Association Offices raided in Sex Scandal - arrest of Effi Naveh

Judicial sex scandal in Israel turns into wave of arrests. Head of Israeli Bar arrested

Following two weeks of rumours after the head of Police Lahav 433 went to Netanya and asked for a gag order of a sensitive pot[sic] involving the Judiciary, this morning January 16 2019, started with arrests, seizures and interrogations of the main suspects.  It turns out Telem Yahav, head of Lahav 433, leaked his visit to Netanya as a dragnet ploy to catch Netanya Judge Etti Krieff off guard.

The police leaked that they avoided filing the gag order in Rishon LeZion so as not to disclose the investigation into a judge who is close friends with Effi Naveh – head of the Israel Bar.  It is now revealed that Judge Etti Krieff was the real suspect for offering sexual pleasures to Effi Naveh in exchange for her promotion from her position as a policewoman to that of a Judge.  Krieff fell into the trap and talked on the phone, whilst the police were listening.

Apparently District Court Judge Eitan Orenshtein signed the wiretap order.  Once deciphered, this morning Effi Naveh was arrested, the entire possessions of his house loaded onto trucks as evidence.  Naveh’s relatives announced that he is temporarily suspending his position as head of the Bar.  This afternoon he will be brought before a judge, probably Judge Allah Masrawa of the Tel Aviv Ha Shalom Court.  

Also raided were the main offices of the Israel Bar in central Tel Aviv.  Naveh’s law office is situated directly across from the Prosecution offices.  The District Attorney in Tel Aviv has not yet been raided.

Susie Aranya

Also called for interrogation this morning was Susie Ozsinay Aranya, an attorney married to Judge Rafi Aranya in Rishon LeZion.  Susie Aranya is the daughter of a billionaire Turkish Industrialist, who is now running in the primaries at the Likud Party which is financed by her dad.  Susie may not have been surprised about her impending call from the police, since rumours about her were published by Richard Silverstein from California.  Silverstein wrote that Susie offered sexual services to Effi Naveh, in return for promoting Judge Aranya to the Tel Aviv District Court.

Judge Rafi Aranya with Effi Naveh

Incidentally, the blogger Lory Shem Tov, arrested in February 2017, still imprisoned, was charged with sexually molesting Susie and Rafi Aranya for reporting in a blog 3 years ago that Mrs Aranya was in sexual cahoots with (referring to Effi) to promote her husband.  Now it appears she was correct.

Before her arrest, Shem Tov was in touch with Barak Lazer, legal Advisor of the Court Administration, who leaked to her confidential information.  The police obtained a search warrant for Lazer’s phone and computer where they found evidence of nefarious contacts with Naveh, Aranya and other judges such as Yosef Elron, Einat Ron, Shelly Rozman Farkash, Iris Arbel Asal, and others.  This treasure trove served as the basis for collecting the data at the police.

Effi Naveh with Judge Einat Ron

All this would have stayed permanently dormant but for an interview at Uvda TV news show with Ilana Dyan where Effi Naveh bragged about his powers with Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice, and blamed Shai Nitzan, Shaked’s nemesis, for personally chasing hi, and ordering his indictment for border control skipping with his new lover, Ms. Bar Katz.  


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