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http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=76249Anti-Religious Proposal: Excommunicators Should be Put Away 15:30 Feb 01, '05 / 22 Shevat 5765
Anti-Religious Proposal: Excommunicators Should be Put Away 16:06 Feb 01, '05 / 22 Shevat 5765 Two Shinui Party MKs wish to enact legislation stipulating two years' imprisonment for anyone who calls to place public or private figures under excommunication. Arutz-7's Ruti Avraham reports that the proposal is the brainchild of Shinui MKs Roni Brizon and Reshef Chen. It states, "One must not call for the placing of a herem [ban, excommunication] on a public or private figure, and must not take part in such a herem that was placed." The proposal has been tabled in the Knesset.The proposed law states that one who calls for a herem is liable to two years in prison, while one who takes part in implementing a herem can be sentenced to one year."Excommunication is an anachronistic and unnecessary tool," explain the bill's sponsors. "Its entire purpose is to serve as a means for interested parties in the hareidi community to blackmail public figures and to force them to change their decisions that many people do not like... Threats of excommunication are blatant intervention by hareidi rabbis in the decisions of public figures, and there is no alternative but to compare them to the crime of blackmail with threats..." The MKs referred to allegations that former Chief Rabbi Bakshi-Doron was thus pressured to change his lenient ruling regarding seventh-year produce [Shemittah]. "A state that wishes to be law-abiding," continues the explanation that accompanies the proposal, "cannot afford to allow a situation in which there is such incitement that can end with an angry mob attacking someone or a group and Heaven forbid loss of life. This abominable phenomenon must therefore be uprooted." Arutz-7 contacted MK Avraham Ravitz (Degel HaTorah) for his response, which was, "Their whole purpose is to incite against traditional hareidi-religious Judaism. If their goal was truly to rid society of various ills, then they would propose legislation against palm readers, tea-leaf readers and all sorts of abomination-inciters. True, there are some charlatans who use the herem for their own purposes, but the Shinui MKs have chosen only this one ill, merely to strike out against the hareidi public, and they are therefore not worthy of bringing such a legislation even if has some merit."Asked about the MKs' reference to threats to excommunicate Rabbi Bakshi-Doron, Ravitz said, "There was no such thing; this was a lie that became popularly-accepted."
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