The Bullying Sanhedrin?

It would be great for rabbis to revive the Sanhedrin and make decisions on some of the questions of religious belief and practice that need to be clarified. It is horrible when instead the rabbis say they want to bring back the Sanhedrin so they can declare who is a friend and who is an enemy. Religion is perverted when religious leaders use it for supernatural bullying.
Rabbis call for re-establishment of Jewish court
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Broadcast: 04/05/2007
Reporter: Matt Brown

In Israel, a group of rabbis are working to re-establish an ancient Jewish court and those against it have are accusing them of fostering radicalism.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Meanwhile a group of rabbis try to reestablish the ancient Jewish court of Torah sages is taking on the military establishment and making waves in Israel. The court is called the Sanhedrin and those seeking its revival have been accused of fostering the sort of radicalism that led to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, in 1995. Middle East correspondent, Matt Brown, reports from Jerusalem.

MATT BROWN, MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT: It's a fundamental clash between religion and the state, and in a Jewish state, it can get pretty heated. A group of rabbis and scholars have re-established the ancient Jewish court, the Sanhedrin.

PROFESSOR HILLEL WEISS, SANHEDRIN RELIGIOUS COURT: We are not serving the Christians or the Muslims, we are serving the only truth that is in the world, and it is the Jewish law and the Torah, and all the nations have to obey this law.

ANNAT HOFFMAN, REFORM JUDAISM: If we are going to be a democracy, the rule of law has to prevail, not the rule of religious law.

MATT BROWN: The Sanhedrin believes the Israeli decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip last year and give it back to the Palestinians was a disaster of the highest order.

HILLEL WEISS: We must stop this process because it comes from self hatred, from weakness, from anti Semitic inside urge.

MATT BROWN: So, the Sanhedrin is determined to stop Israel from giving up any more Palestinian land in the West Bank. That's where Meir Bertler comes in. He's a radical activist who normally lives in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. He's not afraid of confronting his Palestinian neighbours. And the Israeli military has actually banned him from entering the settlement because he's too great a security risk.

MEIR BERTLER, ISRAELI SETTLER: (Translation) They simply come to you saying, 'You're dangerous, you have to leave your home. Go'. They throw you into the street and you don't have any way to fight against them. You don't have any say and you have no means of re dress.

MATT BROWN: But Meir Bertler did take his complaint to the Sanhedrin.

Yair Naveh, the general who issued the ban, is a religious man and the Sanhedrin summoned him twice to explain himself.

HILLEL WEISS: This general, personally, took decisions that destroy and enters the holocaust to the Jewish people again.

MATT BROWN: But the general ignored the rabbis and they branded him a Moser.

HILLEL WEISS: We told him that, according to the Jewish law, he's like a Moser, one that delivers Jews to gentiles, one who delivers land, one who delivers property.

MATT BROWN: In ancient Jewish law, being a Moser amounted to a death sentence.

HILLEL WEISS: "It's lawful to kill the Moser in any place, in any time."

MATT BROWN: The Sanhedrin says that these days the general should be punished simply by being ostracised by the Jewish community. He should die only a spiritual death. But in a land where the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was murdered by a religious zealot, this is an especially sensitive judgement to make.

ANNAT HOFFMAN: What rabbi said at the time is that this zealot was a wild weed. 'He is a mad man'. He is growing in a well-tended garden. He is well-watered and well nourished by rabbis such as these.

MATT BROWN: The Sanhedrin says the Rabin assassination was just a government conspiracy to shock the nation and make the religious right look bad.

Professor Weiss says no-one would actually seek to impose the ancient death penalty on the general today.

HILLEL WEISS: Saying is hard - maybe act like this? I don't believe.

ANNAT HOFFMAN: Think of the terrorists who are suicide bombers. They are brainwashed the fact of giving total commitment to religion, 'giving your whole body and soul to a religious cause is a good thing'. They are actually making - they are actually creating our own Jewish suicide bombers.

MATT BROWN: The Israeli state prosecutor and the police have been investigating this case for around three months. They're yet to reach a conclusion.


Anonymous said...

"Religion is perverted when religious leaders use it for supernatural bullying."

So, when Moshe Rabbeinu called for the elimination of Amalek or the harassment of Midian -- was Judaism perverted?

Also, I suspect that R' Weiss was taken out of context when (that is, 'if') he said, "it is the Jewish law and the Torah, and all the nations have to obey this law." The non-Jewish readers are probably thinking the Sanhedrin will take away their pork and shrimp.

Tzvee Zahavy said...

Wow great comparison.