After dozens of years, chareidi MKs succeeded in having the Knesset Legislative Committee approve a law that would authorize botei din to adjudicate in civil monetary cases if all sides of the conflict agree. The new bill still requires second and third Knesset readings to become law. At present, botei din adjudicate monetary affairs not because they are botei din, but by virtue of Israel’s arbitration law, which allows parties to be judged by any arbitrators they agree to.
“This is a dramatic bill,” MK Moshe Gafni of UTJ said. “Many years ago, the High Court ruled that botei din may not deal with civil law, but only marital law. This, of course, removed the authority of the botei din as well as being an ideological statement [that denigrated Torah jurisprudence].
“Until now,” Gafni added, “the non-religious were adamant in not giving us this option even when it is consensual. They didn’t want botei din to have standing. The High Court decision was defended by all secular politicians. We could never succeed [to change this] in any candidacy despite repeated attempts. Now, with Hashem’s help, it passed the legislative committee.”
The bill also includes Muslim and Druze courts.