April 11: Honor thy client

If at any point a lawyer believes he can no longer provide adequate counsel, he may withdraw from representation.

Honor thy client
Sir, – Ignoring the question of why the Knesset even has a legal advisor, who is Eyal Yinon to publicly state that he opposes Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman’s proposal or any other legislation (“Opposition calls Neeman’s proposal allowing majority of 65 MKs to undo Supreme Court cancellation of laws undemocratic,” April 9)? That’s not his job.
His job, like that of all lawyers, is to represent his client’s interests.
He dispenses advice, his client is free to proceed in accordance with that advice or not, and the lawyer proceeds to represent his client to the best of his ability in accordance with his client’s decision.
If at any point the lawyer believes he can no longer provide adequate counsel, he may withdraw from representation.
But it is not his job – and it generally constitutes a breach of duty toward his client – to publicly disclose that he opposes the client’s views in a matter in which he represents him.
Here, the issue is adoption of a so-called “Basic Law.” In the weltanschauung of Yinon, such laws have constitutional status and cannot be overturned by the so-called High Court of Justice.
Therefore, he cannot possibly offer a legal opinion to his client on this matter.
This may explain why Yinon is quoted in the article as opposing the legislation on extra-legal grounds. But as the Knesset’s legal advisor, those are thoughts he must keep private. By taking a public position contrary to that of his client on a matter in which he represents him, Yinon has put his personal agenda above his client’s interests. He should be fired and disbarred.
The writer has a law degree
Slight rewrite
Sir, – I’d like to thank Isi Leibler for his beautiful column “The relevance of Passover in our times” (Candidly Speaking, April 9).
But he made one mistake.
Instead of writing in his opening sentence, “Despite alienation from religious extremism and the extortionist tactics of the one-dimensional haredi parties, there has been a remarkable revival in the observance of Jewish traditions and customs among those not committed to observing Halacha,” he should have started the sentence by saying, “Thanks to the determination of the haredi and other religious parties....”
It is a pity Leibler found it necessary to start by maligning the very members of our Jewish society who are trying their utmost to live by and preserve for posterity the very values he rightly praises.
Wishful thinking
Sir, – In “Recalling the Jenin ‘massacre’ libel” (Comment & features, April 9), Gerald Steinberg states that because some journalists and diplomats have recognized the exploitation of the principles of human rights by terrorists and their NGO enablers, “the lessons of Jenin are finally being learned.” I think this is dangerous and wishful thinking.
The “lessons” of Jenin will not be fully learned until the Israeli government and its supporters around the world recognize the necessity of continuously and forcefully presenting the history and justification for Israel’s fight against terrorism, which predates the founding of the country and continues on a daily basis.
The strategy of defense in the propaganda war is a losing strategy and is far less effective than a good offense. Israel must take steps to be the accuser rather than the accused.
No old wives’ tale
Sir, – Regarding Michael Carasik’s “Were the Israelites enslaved in Egypt?” (Comment & Features, April 9), any serious researcher into the sagas of ancient tribes and peoples would discover that they are all based on authentic memories. Their minstrels retold these memories on ceremonial and public occasions down the generations.
Just one example: The Maoris of New Zealand retell the saga of the boats in which they landed, including their number and names. Each family has a tradition regarding which of their ancestors sailed and how they vanquished the indigenous inhabitants. Historians have confirmed when they came and the fact that they came from the Polynesian islands, as well as the record of the original inhabitants.
One of my revered teachers, the Torah great Yehezkel Abramsky, never tired of pointing out that the Torah is not history. For that, go to the archives and the universities. The Torah is the guide book on how to lead a holy life and imitate the 13 divine attributes in our daily lives.
The Torah certainly does not invent history, but as the voice of God it selects from the stories handed down by our forebears.
It leaves out theologically objectionable and irrelevant material that is extant in the apocryphal books to point to a moral, but not to adorn a tale.
Similarly, the Torah and the Talmudic sages command us to distill a moral lesson from the good and bad things that happen to us that will help improve our conduct in accordance with the norms of our cultural heritage as embodied in the Torah.
Sir, – Michael Carasik claims that what the Bible describes at length “offers no proof to the skeptical mind.” I cite in my article in The Jewish Bible Quarterly of April 2012 ,“The Mixed Multitude According to the Zohar,” that the mixed multitude that went up with the Israelites from Egypt were the sorcerers and magicians of Egypt who “wanted to oppose the wonderful works of the Holy One, blessed be He.”
Starting with Exodus 7:11: “Then Pharaoh, for his part, summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and the Egyptian magicians, in turn, did the same with their spells.”
According to the Zohar, Moses – not God – wanted the mixed multitude to accompany the Israelites, “and they will learn that there is no God like unto thee.” The fact is, the mixed multitude were a source of trouble for Moses throughout his life.
Carasik’s article is a source of trouble for the Jewish people today. For example: “Joseph has enslaved the Egyptians unjustly, buying them with their crops they themselves grew. Implicitly, it is only fair that once he is gone, they will enslave his family in return.”
The writer is singularly intent on opposing rabbinic views, much as the mixed multitude were to Moses and much as the hard Left is today.
Beduin can help
Sir, – When considering our options in Sinai (“Israel’s options in Sinai are limited,” Analysis, April 6), we would do well to take several factors into account.
The Beduin there hold a deepseated hatred for the Egyptian regime, which has always treated them as third-class citizens. They were without doubt much happier during the Israeli occupation.
The struggle to subsist in Sinai is their main problem. Smuggling of all types, especially of job-seekers looking to enter Israel illegally, is a very good livelihood. So is the execution of actions for which they are paid by Palestinian organizations and even Iran. It is not an ideological or political struggle against Israel that motivates them.
There is close cooperation between the Beduin of Sinai and the Beduin of Israel. As the question is mainly one of economic subsistence, we should discreetly seek to compete with those who bankroll their activities.
Cooperation with the Beduin could possibly restore our much-needed gas supply. The treasury should consider the economic viability of such cooperation compared with the cost of high fuel prices and border fences.
The Beduin have controlled the desert wastes for generations. We need their cooperation to overcome our problems.