This is the most talked about story in legal circles today.
Beer Sheva's Beis Din, headed by HaRav Eliyahu
Avergel, adjudicated a certain domestic case. The woman
exploded and was insolent to the rabbis who had sent her to
be detained in jail, following normal procedure. She was
waiting in the police station for them to arrange the arrest,
when a policeman approached her and said, "Go up to the
patrol wagon. The Chief Justice of the High Court wants to
speak with you."
She was brought to Jerusalem. The High Court head, Aharon
Barak, heard her out and decided on the spot: No arrest. She
was sent home, but not before passing the story on to all the
newspapers, which then criticized the Beis Din
terribly and praised Aharon Barak.
Among jurists, this step was the subject of sharp criticism.
Aharon Barak behaved like a politician seeking popularity,
and like a little flatterer trying to show off how chivalrous
he is at the expense of others. The bottom line is that more
than anything else, he enraged the system, even senior
judges, whose reactions are unquotable. Even the system does
not like someone making a grab for popularity, while
presenting the system as "bad," and himself as the only
"How could a man like Barak cancel the decision of a district
judge after a chat with the offender, without consulting the
judge, even out of mere courtesy?" they keep wondering.
"He could have talked to her on the phone and informed her of
her release. But he wanted the fanfare, the humiliation, the
glory, and mainly the spotlight of the media."
Until a few years ago, Chief Justice Aharon
Barak was a man who abhorred Israeli publicity. Nobody
contradicted his opinion, and many respected him.
The moment Barak began revealing his true ambition - -
prestige and power -- he began to slowly destroy the position
that had always been reserved for all chiefs of the High
Court. Whole communities sensed that this man was not
searching for justice but power. He does not attempt to
create order, but rather to force his western, secular,
leftist, Ashkenazic Weltanschauung on everyone. They
understood that they are dealing with a very powerful,
domineering man, even if he does not utilize physical
strength. His status began to crumble.
Instead of returning to his natural, honorable corner, he
began to mix into all kinds of things he should not have, to
appoint only people similar to him and, worst of all, to make
improper moves without even considering how they would appear
to the public. As if he does not care about the opinion of
Now pay attention to the following assessment: the High
Court, since the leadership of Aharon Barak, is the torch
that in recent years kindles the fire in the Israeli public
debates, debates that somehow managed fine without him. There
were always politicians who opposed religious coercion and
politicians who opposed secular coercion. Somehow they
screamed at each other, fought it out, and ended up in the
middle. Until Aharon Barak became chief of the High Court.
Try to imagine if Yossi Sarid were appointed as Chief Justice
of the High Court. Is it not clear to everyone that he would
do there exactly what he did in the Education Ministry?
Barak was much more "Sarid" than Sarid himself, and he was
much less ready to leave even an ounce of Jewish culture than
"Sarid." He began getting involved in delicate issues that
the Israeli public fought over politically. The government
consented to the closing of the Bar Ilan road on Shabbos, but
he decided that he did not agree. He lit a fire between the
religious and non-religious, as everyone knows that this
closing would have gone over quietly, if not for the
unbridled meddling of a man who decided to step into our
lives and incite the largest communities in the country.
The High Court brought tension between the right and the
left, when it negated journalist Shmuel Shnitzer's award of
the Israel Prize and then approved Shulamit Aloni instead.
Likewise, when he approved the acquittal of terrorists, and
on the other hand, gave instructions to cancel the acquittal
of Yoram Skolnick, who had killed a terrorist.
Step by step he did not hold back from aggravating religious-
secular friction by connecting the Reform with the religious
councils. He continued with women's rallies at the
Kosel, and finally he got to the draft law.
This matter was already agreed-upon fifty years ago amongst
the rival parties of the Israeli community. The
chilonim dealt with the feeling that they are the only
ones carrying the burden, and the chareidim dealt with that
feeling. But the arrangement continued, and everyone managed
to go on living side-by-side.
To this delicate fabric came Aharon Barak, and he began
fanning the fire that had remained small for fifty years. His
announcement that if there is no legislation regarding the
draft, he will give order the draft of all bnei
yeshivos, returned to the field between the chareidim and
the secular. But just wait, the High Court clarified that
even if this law were passed, the judges might veto it.
Meaning, Aharon Barak and his cronies would do everything so
that the draft issue would turn into the draft war. They
literally push war. And we will soon explain why.
The Deri case was also conducted in such a way that it would
incite half the nation against the other half. He instigated
the Right against the Left, the religious against the non-
religious. Now there is still a broken line, between
Ashkenazim and Sephardim, which the legal system, under his
leadership, needs to deal with, of course with the coarseness
and the lack of sensitivity that characterizes it.
The very claim that those close to the High Court made
regarding the original Deri case, that two out of three
judges were of Sephardic origin, is itself proof of the
tendentiousness of the case. The journalist Ben Dror wrote
that this arrangement was not by chance and hinted that an
upper hand also arranged both the district judges and those
in the High Court.
The explanation of the matter is that the one who judged Deri
is the one who intentionally appointed these specific judges.
These judges are Sephardic perhaps by origin, but not in
their education or outlook. Their placement in the Deri case
was biased and cynical, and it was also arranged to reach the
desired verdict and to look good.
The High Court thus achieved another war. There's already
religious/ non-religious friction? Right and left? Now the
time has come for the war between the Ashkenazim and the
Sephardim. Even those who justify the verdict cannot help but
compare the verdict of the Weitzman matter and the nonprofit
organizations of Ehud Barak. Aharon Barak knows this and has
not held back from inciting sections of Israeli society
against each other.
Perhaps Aharon Barak knows well what he is
doing. He is very familiar with Israeli society. He
acknowledges its tremendous weakness and furthermore the
weakness of its leaders.
The relative peace that reigned between the Right and the
Left, between religious and non-religious and between
Ashkenazim and Sephardim does not sit well with him for two
reasons. First of all, Aharon Barak is not ready, it seems,
to accept even a little power from the Right, the religious,
and the Sephardim. The proof for this is found in the
composition of the High Court. Totally Left, chiloni
and Ashkenazi. He is not interested in the other side having
even a tiny bit of power over the spirit of Israeli
The second, and main, reason is that Aharon Barak
demonstrates weakness of power and control. All other parts
of society manage among themselves -- they don't need him. If
they start up with each other, every one of them works it out
slowly, and he is left without a scratch. He can decide
whatever he wants. To instruct the Knesset to pass
legislation, to veto laws that it passes, to decide what he
wants and to gain power. Power, authority, and control. All
the words that dictators are built from.
Aharon Barak knows that the whole Sephardic, Right, religious
side of society is angry at him, and apparently he doesn't
care. On the contrary, he may very well tell himself, "Let
them be upset. Let them lose their legitimacy. Politics
should go to chaos, and the ivory tower I have built for
myself, the High Court, will be stronger and sturdier than
He does not understand that in the end, politicians will
understand this (and they are already examining it. See the
comments of Dalia Itzik and Yuli Tamir of the Labor Party.)
and at the end of the day, the way will be found to fill the
High Court with all the ones that he cannot stand: Rightists,
Sephardim, and religious.