“If Israel wants to call itself a Jewish state, it has to be about more than just physically housing Jews,” says Rabbi Dr. Ratzon Arusi, the Chief Rabbi of Israel's Yemenit Jewish community and head of an organization that promotes the case for Jewish civil law in the Jewish state. “There has to be Jewish content in the daily life of the state. Otherwise, we have no answer to those who call us racists, giving rights to one group of people over another.”
This past week, the Netzach Yisrael organization, under Rabbi Arusi's leadership, held its 20th Annual World Conference on Monetary Law, discussing and promoting various aspects of Jewish (Halakhic) law on monetary issues. But the conference is more than about just halakhic minutiae, as Rabbi Arusi told Israel National News; it's about promoting Jewish monetary law to be the law of the land.
Each year, the conference focuses on a specific issue in the Jewish legal canon, and how the laws pertaining to that issue could be integrated into modern Israeli law. This year's conference, held December 13-15 in Jerusalem, discussed the laws of wills and inheritances, and their implementation in modern Israeli life. The conference is organized annually by Rabbi Arusi, a renowned expert on Jewish law, and is attended by social, political, and religious leaders, including Knesset Members and rabbis.
Monetary Law in the Consensus
“Monetary law is something everyone can agree on,” Rabbi Arusi said. “In the absence of the Sanhedrin, implementation of halakhic laws pertaining to criminal law or personal behavior is irrelevant at this time. But there is no reason not to draw from the rich body of Jewish law when it comes to civil matters, to disputes between individuals that need to be resolved. For Jews, it should be natural to turn to our own tradition.”
There is an expert on Mishpat Ivri, the term for Jewish civil law, in the Attorney General's office, a position held by former Deputy Attorney General Professor Nachum Rakover. Former Supreme Court Judge Prof. Menachem Elon made a point of using and referring to Jewish law when applicable to his rulings.