In Israel, a Nation of Laws Is Tested

ThemisViolence continues to escalate in Israel, with the knife as a weapon of choice, and fear is spreading as attacks come from seemingly out of nowhere.

The natural and proper inclination is for law enforcement to become even more vigilant in order to prevent attacks rather than only respond. But the police however must be judicious in how they protect the citizens of Israel.

Israel is a nation of laws. She prides herself on having a legal system similar to the American ideal founded on the principle of equal protection under the law. Now this system is being severely tested and Israel’s heart and soul are at risk.

If Israel permits the profiling of people and the preemptive assault on individuals outside the prescribed due process of the legal system, then it loses and the terrorists win. Israel cannot be democratic if it limits the application of law to select privileged classes, such as Jews, while others, such as Arabs, fall outside that sphere. A crackdown on terrorism cannot come at the price of the fundamental principles of Israel.

The violence and barbaric nature of these attacks on civilians (police included) are certainly not random acts. Is this a mass response to “occupation” or are these individual actors perpetrating crimes as copycats? It certainly seems to not be the latter. Even if not expressly ordered by a central control, the attacks are coordinated.

The first order is to restore calm. The second order is to cool the boiling over of the cauldron. Repression of an entire group, such as the Arabs of East Jerusalem, and sealing off of that portion of the city, will provide a temporary subduing of these attacks. A closer and deeper look at the grievances that encourage this violence as a legitimate response is required. Then deliberate steps must be taken to create a society that is fair and just.

Both the Israeli government and its citizenry must balance the need for security and safety against the fair application of law to all.  It is very tempting to let fear drive the reaction to violence. The harsh and repressive measures of which politicians speak, that deprive people of protections under the law, and penalizing suspects and whole segments of society, will not solve the problems but foment them instead.

Israel is at its best when it strives to attain the ideals upon which the state was founded as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and basic laws. Israel must hold on to these guiding principles more tightly than ever before.

I do not condone or legitimize the violence. Those that have perpetrated these attacks should be duly punished for breaking the laws of the State and of civilized society. Now it is up to the State and civilized society to solve the problems that have contributed to fomenting such deep discontent with a system of justice that speaks to everyone.

JDate Swipes at Competitors

phone[1] JDate is suing its non-profit competitor for its use of the letter “J” and the idea of using a smartphone application to match people anonymously.

JSwipe is a new free Jewish dating application for smartphones. JDate’s parent company, Spark Networks (NYSE: LOV), takes in more than $50 million a year in fees from their online dating network, including JDate, ChristianMingle, and BlackSingles. JSwipe, on the other hand, is a small team based out of a factory in Brooklyn, and “motivated by passion, inspired by impact, and committed to making love free” according to JSwipe’s founder, David Yarus.

Of course the letter “J” was not invented by JDate. It was introduced as a letter in its own right by the Italians around 1524. And online dating was not invented by JDate either. It was invented in 1965 by Harvard students Jeff Tarr and Dave Crump who founded Compatibility Research.


“From a Judaic ethics standpoint this lawsuit is inappropriate,” argues Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law. “Here we are talking about creating Jewish families that will have Jewish children. All the more so that we should encourage competition if the aggregate number of matches increases.”

Jonathan Loeb

Jonathan Loeb.

My smart, eligible, handsome, son Jonathan uses both JDate and JSwipe. However, he has found that JDate is oriented more toward older singles (Jonathan is 21) while my tech-savvy son really enjoys JSwipe and has had an excellent experience with the application.

While JSwipe is a literally a free gift of love, I have paid the Spark Network $72 per quarter for more than a year to pay for Jonathan’s JDate membership. However, given Jonathan’s success on JSwipe, and JDate’s abuse of their position as market leader, I will now cancel Jonathan’s membership at JDate and contribute $180 of my future savings to JSwipe’s legal defense fund.

Perhaps JDate hopes to win this lawsuit not by the force of its legal arguments but by JSwipe’s lack of resources. If they can intimidate JSwipe then other Jewish dating sites such as Simontov, The JMom and My Jewish Matches are likely to fair no better.

To help Jewish singles, please contribute generously via Indiegogo to help crowd-fund the legal battle to keep JSwipe alive. (If you happen to be a lawyer interested in providing pro-bono legal support, you can contact JSwipe at [email protected])

Attorney Bonin Briefs JSPAN Board on Redistricting, Voter ID

(JSPAN) Attorney Adam C. Bonin presented an update on Pennsylvania election law to the Jewish Social Policy Action Network‘s Board of Directors at its regular meeting last month. Bonin focused on pending redistricting and voter identification litigation. Both issues are currently before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Bonin, a member of the JSPAN Board of Directors, provided an overview of the process by which redistricting is accomplished for state and federal elections in Pennsylvania, what role is played by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission and which Constitutional provisions come into play. He also traced the history of litigation with respect to interpretations of key provisions of the state Constitution and explained how these likely may impact redistricting decisions currently before the Court.

More after the jump.
As Bonin explained, both cases involve sensitive legal as well as political questions, complicated by a current vacancy on the Supreme Court and the upcoming November 2014 general election. The lively discussion, aided by the participation of former State Representative (and JSPAN Board Member) Babette Josephs, went into great detail as to the ways in which maps can be tailored towards partisan ends.  

Loopholes in campaign finance law

By using loopholes in campaign finance law, the special interests have succeeded in denying the public important information about the funding sources of funding political discourse. An attempt to keep a group of fillings to the public in the dark, while coordinating their message with candidates for political comedy is doing well now, but will lead to tragedy if our elected officials begin to feel the pernicious influence of the full unlimited, silent Posts of companies.

In the final episode of Stephen Colbert, intrepid search for the absurdities of campaign finance to suspend non-regulation in the post-Citizens United, the actor has been trying recently launched a new super-PACs, some limitations remain to circumvent debate on its election activities. The Super PAC American Crossroads has recently submitted an application to the Federal Election Commission, asking permission for federal election candidates to appear in his so-called “independent” ads.

The group acknowledged that the ads with candidates would “fully coordinated with members of Congress before reelection in 2012” to be. After all, a great course, a PAC script would be to share and discuss the content of the advertisement appearing a candidate for it in her. However, Carrefour wants the U.S. FEC, an opinion stating that such ads do not qualify as “coordination” issue.