Far Right Lawmaker Calls for Israel to Follow Biblical Law

Bezalel Smotrich, who is vying for the justice portfolio and is known for his radical opinions, says Israel should 'go back to operating as it did in the days of King David'

Bezalel Smotrich speaks at the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv, on Monday May 27, 2019.
Liav Peled

Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich (Union of the Right-wing Parties) said Monday that Israel should operate according to biblical laws. "The State of Israel, the country of the Jewish people, with God willing, will go back to operating as it did in the days of King David and King Solomon," the far right lawmaker said in an interview to Kan Bet radio. 

"I want the State of Israel to operate according to the Torah in the long run. That's how it should be, it's a Jewish state," he added. 

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Smotrich, who is known for his extreme right-wing opinions and is a declared homophobe, had announced during coalition negotiation talks that he would like to receive the justice portfolio. On Sunday, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, he called on the premier to immediately appoint him even before Israel holds a new election on September 17. 

Smotrich suggested that biblical law should be imposed "according to today's spirit, today's economy, and how society lives in 2019." 

The chair of the right-wing union, which was formed before the April 9 election and includes members who are followers of the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane, also spoke about diminishing the importance of the courts in Israel. "Hebrew law is respected and it should be even more respected in Israel's legal methods."

Smotrich went after the former chief of the High Court, ex-Justice Aharon Barak, saying that "the rules of the Torah are much more preferable to the halakah state that Aharon Barak created here. Why is a halakah [Jewish law] state where rules are determined by Aharon Barak and a small group of judges okay?"

Smotrich also addressed the dismissal of Shaked and former Education Minister Naftali Bennett. "I had nothing to do with it," he said. The lawmaker noted that his party would have asked for Netanyahu to make this move in the previous election if it really was going after the two former ministers.