Skip To Content
We’ve Taken Down the Forward Paywall: An Open Letter to Our ReadersRead Now
Fast Forward

Israeli Lawmaker Wants To Restore ‘Torah Justice System’

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A right-wing Israeli lawmaker said he wants to be the country’s justice minister so his religious party can “restore the Torah justice system.”

Bezalel Smotrich of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, which includes his Jewish Home party, made the statement Sunday night at a Jerusalem Day event at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem. On Monday morning he doubled down on the statement in an interview on the Kan national broadcaster.

“The State of Israel, the country of the Jewish people, with God willing, will go back to operating as it did in the days of King David and King Solomon,” he told Kan.

“I want the State of Israel to operate according to the Torah in the long run. That’s how it should be, it’s a Jewish state,” he also said, adding that the Torah law would be observed “according to today’s spirit, today’s economy and how society lives in 2019.”

Smotrich called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to name him interim justice minister in the wake of Netanyahu’s firing of Ayelet Shaked from the position.

Avigdor Liberman, who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu party, slammed Smotrich after saying last week that he cannot be part of a “halachic government” over the demands of the haredi Orthodox parties.

“These are no longer comments coming from a delusional hilltop youth, but a statement of intent,” he said of Smotrich, a West Bank resident. “We will prevent that, we won’t lend those efforts a hand. Jewish law is an important and critical part of the Israeli justice system, but Israeli law cannot be Torah law.”

Smotrich has called himself a “proud homophobe” and called the Jerusalem Pride Parade an “abomination parade.” He was slammed in 2016 for saying that Arab and Jewish women should be put in separate rooms in the maternity wards of Israeli hospitals. He also called Reform Judaism a “fake religion.”


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.