Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court has ceased to function. The reason this week is that one of the four judges presently on the court is sick (and two of them – the two chief rabbis – are not supposed to sit on the same bench).
But why, you may ask, are there only four judges on a court that is supposed to be made up of nine judges.
The answer: a not so frivolous lawsuit which is challenging the makeup of the committee that chooses judges. Until recently the committee, made up of the two chief rabbis, two ministers, two other members of the court, two MKs and two members of the bar, always had a woman in its ranks. But following the recent Israel Bar elections, where two men were chosen, no women is now eligible to weigh in on who can serve as a judge. And thus, the lawsuit which demands represnetation.
However, while legal proceedings are moving forward, no new judges can be appointed. And since five judges have retired recently, the court is frozen.
Agunot are waiting.
Mamzerim are waiting.
Converts are waiting.
One MK recently suggested that the lawsuit be withdrawn, and he would sponsor legislation adding two more positions to the committee. This seems reasonable. But legislation such as this would likely take years to pass though the Knesset. And who is to say if it would ever pass. The lawsuit provides leverage that could possibly enable women to have a say in who the judges are.
What’s the alternative? To simply wait for the court to rule, and in the meantime, hundreds of files will pile up in the court. This doesn’t seem like a great idea either.
I know I don’t have a short term solution. Maybe you can suggest something creative?