UTJ's MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz proposed the passage of a
"Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child Law" in the Knesset.
According to the law, under special circumstances stemming
from their obligation to educate, parents will be allowed to
hit a child lightly and in a manner that will not inflict
physical or emotional harm. In addition, the spanking must be
bearable and for educational purposes.
At the Government's request, the vote on the law was
In his presentation, Rabbi Ravitz claimed that although a
child is not the property of his parents, a parent has a
moral obligation of the highest degree to educate him. He
stressed that punishment meted out within the child's
educational framework -- including corporal punishment which
does not harm the child and is not violent -- may not be
classified as, "assaults on the defenseless." Parents may use
such means of punishment for educational purposes.
Rabbi Ravitz said that his proposal was made in the wake of
the recent High Court ruling stating that a parent is
forbidden to hit his children -- even lightly -- for
educational purposes. He reported that after placing his
proposal on the Knesset's table, he has received support from
many communal figures, among them Justice Amnon Strashnov,
who recommended adoption of the proposal. The justice sent
Rabbi Ravitz a copy of a ruling he had issued on the topic,
in which he determined that corporal punishment inflicted for
the purpose of education of a child is neither inappropriate
nor forbidden as long at it is meted out in the correct
Rabbi Ravitz repeatedly explained that his proposal isn't
meant to permit unrestrained, merciless beating of children.
"We do not intend to let parents abuse their children. It is
forbidden to abuse anyone. All people are forbidden to abuse
others: how much more so parents, who must be gentle and
compassionate towards their children," he stressed,
explaining that abuse is also forbidden according to
halocho and our mussar teachings.
In his address, he quoted academic and judicial figures who
said that punishment, including light hitting for educational
purposes is appropriate and is the norm throughout
MK Yossi Sarid called the bill "an outrage of which there is
no example in any law book in the world. Who has ever heard
of a parliament allowing children to be beaten?" Dr. Yitzhak
Kadmon, Director of the Council for Children's Rights, said
that it was scandalous that Minister Beilin had surrendered
to the chareidim, and that he had mobilized a decisive
majority of MK's from most parties to defeat the bill.