Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Messiah clause

My brother the law student is staying with us for a few days and has been amusing us with stories of the strange quirks of the Israeli legal system. Apparently, for example, there is an interesting loophole in Israeli tax law. When a man dies, the wife who claims the money from a Ketubah does not have to pay tax on it. According to one of my brother's professors, one lawyer got his non-religious client, who had been married for years in a civil union (presumably out of Israel), to have a quickie Jewish wedding and write out a Ketubah for his wife for tax reasons only, putting in an astronomical sum. When he died, the entire sum was passed to her free of tax -- making her a very rich woman.
And another one: In Israeli law, a husband and wife cannot testify against each other. Two drug trafficers, a man and a woman, both Muslims, were arrested and were the only witnesses against each other. According to Muslim law, apparently, a man and a woman do not even have to be in the same room to marry; so the lawyer married them... Apparently, the judge in the case, who told my brother's class all about it, was absolutely flummoxed as to how to handle this, and the case was only resolved when the man/'husband' made a confession.
And while we're on the subject, here's another strange Israeli legal anecdote: I know of at least two people, one of them being my other brother, whose apartment leases in Jerusalem include a clause that if the Messiah comes, they have to either move out (in one case) or move into the spare bedroom (in another), so that the landlords can move back 'home.' It's quite well-known and is called 'the Messiah clause.' I swear. In any case, my brother's roommate really didn't want to sign this clause, and so his lawyer, trying to solve the problem, suggested he take out insurance against the coming of the Messiah. Ie. if the Messiah came, the insurance would pay out enough money to fund an apartment in Jerusalem where his landlords could live until the end of their lease. Completely seriously, the lawyer asked Lloyd's of London whether they would be willing to insure them for this. Lloyds agreed, but asked to be given more details, specifically -- when was the last time the Messiah arrived. Since this has been a matter of dispute for the past 2,000 years, the lawyer decided to end things there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

your brother is a bullshitter,same as all think you own the world at least hitler did one decent thing sham it wasnt done properly.