Thursday, October 27, 2011

Yair Nehorai gets a bum rap from Failed Messiah

"We will know we have become a normal country when Jewish thieves and Jewish prostitutes conduct their business in Hebrew." -- David Ben Gurion

Haredi types love to indict Zionism by pointing to the Hebrew speaking prostitutes of Tel Aviv, but what about the Hebrew speaking gangsters in their own neighborhoods? I speak specifically of the class of criminal defended by Yair Nahorai, of Meah Shearim, the subject of a feature article in today's Haaretz
Of late Nehorai has had his hands full of work in wake of the Jerusalem Police efforts to restrain the Sikarikim, who use threats and violent tactics to "cleanse" Jerusalem. The police have carried out several arrests and are carrying out intensive investigations into violence, tax evasion and extortion or protection money. Many in Mea She'arim have anointed Nehorai with the title "redeemer of prisoners," a status that fills him with pride. In recent years, he says, he has represented at least 300 ultra-Orthodox clients who were arrested in demonstrations against desecration of Shabbat at the Carta parking lot and the Intel plant in Jerusalem, at demonstrations of support of the mother accused of starving her child and in other cases.
My good friend Shamrya, in his post today, strongly criticizes Nahari's general approach to wining many of those acquittals
But to argue that and entire class of criminal should be treated leniently because they are religious zealots, not 'real' criminals, is not only offensive but it is contrary to the legal systems these criminals supposedly live under...civil society should have jailed [the alleged gangster/button man Avraham] Hirschman years ago, but it didn't do so, in part because of Nehorai...People hate lawyers for many good reasons. The disgraceful Yair Nehorai is one of them.
I understand why Shmarya is upset, but he's attacking the wrong person. A lawyer works for his client, not for society. The job of  a criminal attorney like Nahorai is to get his client an acquittal. 

In pursuit of that goal, he has an absolute right to advance any argument he chooses. He can't lie, but he's not allowed to do a half-ass job because he knows his client is guilty. Scumbags are also entitled to vigorous defenses.

Short-sighted people may object that this puts criminals back on the street, but without strong defense lawyers, what protects innocent people from over-zealous prosecutors?  In an adversarial system, the prosecutor, and to a lesser extent the judge, are supposed to be the safeguards against fallacious arguments advanced by the defense. Its not Nehorai's fault his bogus arguments are swaying hearts and minds. He's merely doing his job, and putting his client's interests first, and (dare I say it?)  he's also improving society by forcing prosecutors to do their own jobs honestly and fairly.

The problem isn't Nahorai. The problem is the Israeli prosecutors and judges who are accepting his malarkey, instead of pushing back with crisp, vigorous, counterarguments of their own.

Search for more information about Yari Nahorai  at

No comments: