Saturday, January 1, 2011

Everyone is equal before the law

Something momentous happened in Israel. Moshe Katsav, the former President, former First Citizen of Israel, was put on trial and found guilty of rape and other serious offences. The prison authority is already considering the practical details of keeping such a personage behind bars for several years.

A sad day for a country, when it revealed that such a person was its President for seven years. A happy day for a country which demonstrates that everyone is equal before the law, and no offender is immune from punishment for misdeeds. Not even the President.

No offender is immune? Not exactly. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed was summoned by the police, to come tomorrow morning and be interrogated about his repeated racist proclamations. He announced that he would not come.

In Rabbi Eliyahu's eyes, discriminating against the Arab citizens of Israel and refusing to rent them apartments is not racism at all. In general, Arabs are not citizens with equal rights, but foreigners whose presence in the Jewish state is a regrettable aberration. Such are in his eyes the teachings and commandments of Judaism, and so he would continue to preach in public, and organize more and more rabbis and rabbis' wives to lend their public support.

Democracy? Where could Rabbi Eliyahu have heard this Greek word which does not appear in the Torah? Equal Rights? The Rule of Law? The police? Which policeman would dare to interrogate Rabbi Eliyahu? Do they think they are dealing here with a mere president?

"The President is not above the law – nor is the Rabbi of Tzfat!" will be the main slogan at a demonstration to be held tomorrow, Sunday, January 2, 2011, at 15:30, at 16 Rothschild Boulevard 16, Tel – Aviv.