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Op-Ed: Dog escapes death penalty decreed by Jewish court in Israel

By Ernest Dempsey     Jun 18, 2011 in World
Jerusalem - Sentenced to death by a rabbinical court in Jerusalem, Israel, a wandering dog managed to escape the wrath of fanatics while leaving behind serious questions about the sanity of the judge who passed the “judgment”.
Dogs have traditionally been hated by a lot of narrow-minded members of Muslim and Jewish communities. At times, this hatred costs the dogs their lives as they are neglected, tortured, and sometimes outright (or “outwrongly”) killed. But what a Jewish rabbinical court did in Israel revealed more than the shaky sanity of fundamentalists. The court in Jerusalem decreed a wandering dog, which had entered the courtroom, punishable by death, as reported in ynetnews (Friday, June 17, 2011).
The reason given by the ruling judge for the dog’s death sentence was that it appeared to the judge the dog was possessed by an evil spirit. The spirit in question was in fact that of a secular lawyer who had insulted the Jew judges two decades ago. The dog entered the Monetary Affairs Court (underscored) in Mea Shearim (Jerusalem) several weeks ago, and would not leave despite repeated attempts by those inside the court to drive it away. This frightened the judges as one of them suddenly remembered that a lawyer was cursed to be turned into a dog twenty years ago by the same court on account of contempt of court.
At once, the judges decided that it was the same lawyer back in court. So they ordered the dog to be stoned to death, the stoning to be carried out by local children (emphasis added). It wasn’t a written order, like a formal court decree, but ordering children to stone an animal to death has thrown us wondering who was more possessed at that time: the dog or the judges?
Good thing the dog escaped the scene, though not any details were given about his fortunate run. However, the incident uncovered the extremism of fear-based superstition that turns apparently learned people into killers. If they are suddenly convinced of a dog being an evil spirit, no wonder that some religious fanatics are bombing themselves among the masses to pieces in different countries, believing that are going to heaven straight from the bombing site.
Interesting thing is that it shows why dogs are hated. It’s common knowledge that dogs are very loving, loyal and even caring friends of humans. But many people fear dogs, not only out of disgust (like many religionists) but because of fear. The judges were afraid because their knowledge could not make any good reason for a dog entering the court and refusing to leave. People who hate dogs frequently include those who have been bitten and/or scared by dogs, usually in their childhood. They carry the fear in their psyche in their grownup years as against those who have good memories of dogs from their early years. In case of judges, it is not known how afraid the principal judge already was of dogs. But religious superstitions can induce any fear instantly in acute condition. Good for the doggie that he too finally became afraid and left the scene or else he would have lost his life for nothing.
And we always are happy and thankful to see sane people in the world, speaking against madness and injustice. In this case of the Jerusalem court, an animal-friendly organization Let the Animals Live reported the court’s insane decision to the police while Jerusalem City Council Member Rachel Azaria also contacted the attorney general to demand that the court be advised to deal with criminals and don’t target animals.
Update: The story of dog’s death Sentence was a media prank
Today, TheJC.Com published the news that the story of death sentence for the dog was a hoax and the Israeli’s newspaper Maariv, which first reported the story, has printed an apology for printing the story after the court in question explained what really took place. According to them, the court staff only dialed the number of the city dog catcher to remove the animal from the court. No cruel word against the animal was passed neither was there any mention of any lawyer’s spirit.
Given this, I would say that my words used for the judges apply only if such a case takes place anytime and anywhere in future. After all, we know that dogs are hated in some religions.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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