Israeli Bes Din issues Restraining Order to Yeger: Do Not Assume NYC Council Seat!

A Jerusalemite Besdin founded by R. Borukh Yithok the Levite Levin has issued a “restraining order and summons to litigation” to Kalman Yeger, NYC’s council district 44 councilmember-elect, in response to a petition by one Yoel Yitzhok Weiss. The summons was issued on behalf of the “aggregate of voters from the neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York, who have voted for NYC’s councilman-ship candidacy of Yonah Hikind”.

The petitioners claim that there existed against their candidate “misleading campaigns in the form of slanderous lies and the proclamation of ill-repute [against Yoni Hikind] throughout the period of the elections” –an allusion to a slew of offenses that Yoni was accused of by his detractors: that he profanes the sabbath in public (as evidenced by his Facebook activity log and by an allegation of his watching TV in a hotel bar on shabbos), that he is living in sin by still being a bachelor, and that he is for the Markey Bill in the State legislature that would extend the statute of limitations for those being accused of sexual molestation.

The November 12, 2017, restraining order importunes Yeger to “not accept election results, and not be appointed to the municipal role until litigation at the besdin [occurs]”.

The Israeli besdin’s order has no teeth, both because it is out of the jurisdiction of Yeger in New York, U.S.A. and because religious courts everywhere do not have legal sanction. From a halakhic perspective the ability of a besdin to issue a restraining order is dubious; there is little precedence in halokho for such type of pre-judicial relief measure. Moreover, it is highly impractical and unreasonable for Yeger to be compelled to travel to another country to litigate a dispute; instead he is halakhically entitled to choose a local besdin or any other three-person panel of his choice.

Yeger is slated to assume the office to which he was elected on November 7th 2017, in January 2018 –more than three months from now. Should he choose to comply with the restraining order and the dispute is not resolved promptly, the procedure is for the councilship seat to remain vacant until someone is elected through a “special election” (one that occurs outside the regular election cycle).

It is unclear what Yoni Hikind’s supporters seek to achieve by this petition, given that New York City law does not allow for a non-elected official to take a council seat, notwithstanding the petitioners’ claim of Yeger’s achieving his win through slander.

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One Response to Israeli Bes Din issues Restraining Order to Yeger: Do Not Assume NYC Council Seat!

  1. BP342 says:

    Kalman and Yoni are walking down the street, kvetching about being too poor to eat, when they pass a church with a sign that reads: ‘Convert and we’ll give you ten roubles!’ Kalman looks at Yoni and says: ‘You know what, I’m going to do it,’ and goes inside. Twenty minutes later he emerges looking solemn, his head bowed. ‘Well,’ says Yoni, ‘did you do it? Did you get the ten roubles?’ And Kalman looks up at him and says: ‘Why is it you people only ever think about money?

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