State Attorney & Assistants

For details of witnesses' presentations, use the documents provided. The points below require elaboration and coordination for a cohesive argumentation and should be allocated as appropriate to witnesses.

Please advise your team that the new Minister of the Interior is Moshe Haim Shapiro of the Mafdal (National Religious Party) who believes that the spirit of the Law of Return excludes apostates (Hebrew: meshumad) from being registered as Jewish.

 

  • 1. No-one can be both Jewish and Catholic as each faith is absolute in terms of belief.

    2. In a broader sense, people who are Jewish share a common culture and interests, a common history and a common fate. Brother Daniel has not only moved away from - rejected - the Jewish religion, but Jewish life in the national sense too.

    3. In the strictly halakhic sense, Brother Daniel has ceased being a Jew and since he is not renouncing Catholicism, he is not rejoining our people.

    4. In terms of the Law of Return, a secular interpretation is required at all times: the founders of modern Zionism were adamant about religion and history being part and parcel of today's national Jew.

    5. The Law is also based on the common understanding of the term Jewish today.

    6. Brother Daniel can, if he wishes, become an Israeli citizen through a 5-year naturalization process, under immigration laws. In terms of what he has done for the Jewish people, he could also receive the honour of being known as a Righteous Gentile. Despite his Jewish birth, he is not, however, Jewish today.

     

For details of witnesses' presentations, please refer to documents provided. Use the points below for a coordinated argumentation in court.

 

Expert on the Law of Return

* Use as arguments 2,4,5 from the State Attorney's list.

The Law of Return was written to assist the ingathering of the exiles and the right of decision was given to the Minister of Immigration - later to the Minister of the Interior - alone. He must interpret it in its spirit and in consideration of any other operative laws or ordinances. For the purposes of this law, there are both subjective criteria - like the personal declaration - and objective ones - like the exclusivity of being Jewish. To be a victim of antisemitism or anything else is not an objective criterion.

Without any reference to religious law, except as it is quoted in the Law of Return, we must turn for guidance to the founders of Zionism:

Herzl himself refused membership of the W.Z.O. to an apostate;

Ahad Ha'am referred frequently to the bond between religion and history, seeing them as part and parcel of today's national Jew. How can we do otherwise?

Briefly, the Law of Return seeks to give a national basis to the ancient bond between Israel and the Torah.

 

Government Ministry Expert

* Expand arguments 2,3,6 in the State Attorney's list.

To quote Dr. Arthur Ruppin (Jewish Fate and Future, p.6):

"An individual belongs to the national group with which he feels most closely united by common history, language, customs and culture. The nation is a group with a common fate and culture."

Consequently, one who dissociates himself or herself from its customs and culture no longer shares its fate and has dissociated him or herself from the nation.

For the Nazis, Jewish origins were sufficient to ensure that someone was condemned to the common fate they planned for all Jews. The Law of Return, however, works the opposite way: it enables people to choose to share the Jewish fate and culture in the positive, creative sense - and the criteria have been decided by Jews, not by non-Jews or antisemites.

Society sees Brother Daniel as a Catholic priest, therefore surely even Sartre, who says that it is society who should decide a definition, is being inconsistent in this case and should define him rather as someone who has "renounced his ancestral heritage"?

Israel is not a theocratic state and we apply secular law in government: we cannot work from the Rabbinical Courts Enactment in terms of our definitions, unless this has been specifically included in the Law of Return itself.

 

Rabbi

Brother Daniel is to be commended for being one of the few converts to Christianity still friendly to and genuinely interested in the Jewish people. Nevertheless he is no longer Jewish - he would not be eligible as part of a minyan (prayer quorum of 10) because of his beliefs.

Brother Daniel has to decide whether he wants to be a good Jew or a good Catholic: he cannot be both. In halakhic terms, he has changed his belief in G-d, to quote the Second Commandment:

"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me".

His baptism has put him outside the Jewish world as in cases where people marry outside.

However, Oswald Rufeisen has not just left Judaism to assimilate and forget his Jewish heritage - he has consciously changed his faith and become a minister of that new faith. There is no reconciliation.

Isaiah 26,2 no longer applies to him:

"Open up the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faithfulness may enter in", because he has not kept faithfulness. Indeed, Sanhedrin 44(a):

"Even though a Jew has sinned, he is still called Israel",

was only used by Rashi and others to help those who were converted by force,that is to say,against their will , and wished to return to Judaism. It does not refer to this type of case.

The Jewish religion is not racist: we accept converts - anyone may convert - but like other religions it is an exclusive faith in the sense that it allows no other faith simultaneously.

Furthermore, the Israel-Diaspora link is based on religious affiliation, so that there must be a negation of change or move towards assimilation for the continued link - and even existence of our people.

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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15 Aug 2005 / 10 Av 5765 0