Back to the football

Following my post about soccer on Shabbat, and a potential cancellation of organized leagues, Ynet today reports:

Israeli soccer authorities called off a threatened strike on Wednesday after the attorney-general, Yehuda Weinstein, announced that nobody would be prosecuted for playing on the Jewish Sabbath.

An interesting solution to the problem. The public official charged with enforcing the laws of the country, decides he will not enforce one of the laws of the country.

But that’s not his decision to make, in my opinion. That’s what the legislature (law making function of the Knesset) is supposed to do. In other words, if the law is not to be enforced, it should be removed. It should not be for one man to make the decision.

I am not, personally, bothered by the outcome. And the arrangement is a classic Middle East one: never mind what it says, this is what we will do. But the approach is not good governance, and is a bad precedent. What happens if the same decision by the attorney general is made for another law, affecting something other than soccer? Whatever happened to democracy and accountability?

Finally, it’s worth noting that the attorney general’s decision gets Deri out of a bit of a hole, and to a lesser extent, Bibi. It seems that if this arrangement had not been made, as Deri was ducking his duty, Bibi would have had to handle it.

You can read the whole piece, here.


Oh good. They are bringing the houses down.

There’s something missing from this Arutz Sheva report:

MK Slams ‘Collective Punishment’ in Yitzhar Demolitions

‘Price tag’ vandalism does not justify punishment against an entire community, MK Orit Struk says.

MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home/Bayit Yehudi) strongly condemned the demolitions in Yitzhar on Tuesday, noting that ‘price tag’ attacks against the IDF do not justify a show of force against the community’s residents.

“Puncturing the tires of vehicles of IDF soldiers and commanders is a criminal act, and the spokesman for Yitzhar, which represents the majority of residents disapproved of it yesterday,” Struk noted. “This does not justify in any way the declaration of war on the whole community because of the actions of some resident youths, especially when police know how and where to find them and bring them to justice, according to the law.”

“Collective punishment and destruction of homes as vengeance has long been rejected as illegal by the High Court in relation to the terrorists, and there is no moral or legal justification to carry it out on civilians,” Struk continued, noting that Yitzhar residents’ “only crime is that criminal acts were carried out near their homes.”

IDF and police forces demolished four homes in the Samaria on Tuesday, as apparent retaliation for ‘price tag’ vandalism on IDF jeeps on Sunday and Monday.

Yitzhar community spokesmen have responded to the demolition with harsh condemnations of the dramatic demolition, slamming “collective punishment.”

“This policy of destruction and collective punishment by authorities against residents of Yitzhar is outrageous,” a statement reads.

“It is unthinkable that the Israeli government and security forces demolished the homes of innocent people and took revenge due to the illegitimate ‘price tag’ actions of individuals, as serious as [these acts] are. We urge the security forces and their head to stop this policy and immediately stop the growing cycle of hostility.”

What’s missing? Here’s a relevant fact from the Times of Israel report:

Residents of the hard-line settlement of Yitzhar clashed with Israeli security forces as several illegal buildings in the West Bank community were demolished before dawn Tuesday.

The buildings that were brought down were illegal. (And you can bet your bottom dollar that the people there know that.) So, if the authorities demolish illegal structures elsewhere – for example, in Jerusalem, as they do – why shouldn’t they demolish them in Yitzhar? Oh, I know the timing is meant to send a message to the extremists in that community, but it’s a bit rich – to put it mildly – to complain of “punishment” or “collective punishment” not being deserved just because somebody knifed a couple of army vehicles.

Stop Press: the buildings were illegal. There’s no justification for building them like that. None. And there’s no justification for crying when they are torn down. Quite the opposite: it is good when the Rule of Law applies. We should celebrate that fact, not complain.