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    Israel as a theocracy – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Do you think Israel should be a theocracy?

    A. If this means Israel should automatically be ruled by rabbis, then the answer is no. The art of good government requires skills that rabbis do not automatically possess.

    But what I certainly do believe is that Israel should be a Torahcracy, in which mishpat ivri, Jewish civil law, should inform, guide and regulate the legal system.

    It is not widely known that over the centuries, even without a Jewish sovereign government, Jewish law continued to operate and develop in many areas such as torts, criminal law and penology, contracts, industrial law, partnership, town planning, civic government, etc.

    Rav Herzog, the chief rabbi when the State was established, was an authority (his two-volume work The Main Institutions of Jewish Law covers some of the field), and he, like some other leading figures, yearned to make mishpat ivri the law of the State.

    There was opposition from both religious and secular quarters and eventually what happened was that Jewish law was here and there introduced when there was a gap in the law.

    One of the problems was that no-one had produced a full blue-print for a State governed by Torah law and at that time mishpat ivri was not a fully practical program. Nonetheless it has many advantages, both from the legal and the Jewish point of view.

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