Why Israel imposes Sharia law

Most Americans would be shocked to hear Israel imposes Sharia. But it does, for some 60 years.

On Andrew Sullivan’s blog, a reader wondered about the contradiction of conservatives supporting, at the same time, two contradictory opinions: on the one hand, they blindly support Israel and its army, and on the other, they strongly oppose the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, even as the IDF has permitted openly gay soldiers to serve some two decades ago.

Well, actually, there seems to be a better question for neocons: how can you be so hysterical about the (non-existent) threat of Sharia in the US, to the point of supporting Oklahoma’s boneheaded amendment, and yet, at the same time, loudly support – in the case of Sarah Palin, even wear the flag of – one of the very few non-Muslim countries to impose Sharia? And yes, I am speaking of Israel.

Israeli family law is in the hands of the religious courts, and has been so since the creation of the country. Everyone has heard of the travesty that is the rabbinical court system, but few people realize that there is also a publicly-funded Sharia court system: some 19% of the population of Israel is Muslim, and naturally they are not expected to have rabbis marry and divorce them. There are eight Sharia courts in Israel: in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Be’er Sheva, Nazareth, Acre, Taybeh, and Baka Al Garabiya.

Why does Israel maintain such courts? Because family law is mostly out of the reach of the civil courts. You can’t have a civil marriage in Israel. You can’t even have a civil divorce, even assuming you were married elsewhere. Why not? Because in a civil court, the government will have to acknowledge “miscegenation”, marriages between Jews and non-Jews. Most Jew are opposed to that, sometimes violently – the 50 rabbis who yesterday demanded that Jews will refrain from renting apartments to non-Jews based their demand, inter alia, on the fear of “miscegenation” – yet nobody wanted a Nuremberg-like laws. That would be hard to explain away. The result was the empowerment of the religious courts, who preceded Israel, by the young state. Since religious courts would not permit intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, and would demand conversion, and since wishing to marry a Jew would automatically disqualify a gentile from conversion to Judaism, this seemed like a neat solution.

And so Israel adopted Sharia. Just don’t tell American conservatives. Neocons, of course, being acolytes of the Noble Lie school, probably know this already.

And lie about it.