דמותו של המשפט בתרבותה של קהילה היא בבואה נאמנה של תכונותיו באותה קהילה, ותכונות אלה נגזרות מתכונותיה של הקהילה. במאמר קודם, שהושפע עמוקות מרוחו הגדולה וממכלול יצירתו של אוריאל פרוקצ'יה, ניסיתי לאפיין את דמותו של המשפט בתרבות הישראלית, בשוליו של ניסיון להשוות בין דמות המשפט בשתי התרבויות הגדולות של המערב העכשווי – האמריקאית והאירופית. במאמר הנוכחי אני מבקש להעלות את דמותו של המשפט הישראלי מן השוליים אל המרכז באמצעות "חזיון כלימה" שפרסם חנוך לוין זמן קצר לפני מותו.
The Trial According to Hanoch Levin
The image of the trial in the culture of a community is a faithful reflection of its features within that community; features which are in turn derived from the characteristics of the community. In a previous article that was deeply influenced by the great intellect and entire body of work of Uriel Procaccia, I attempted to characterize the image of the trial in Israeli culture in the margins of an attempt to compare the image of the trial in the current two largest Western cultures—the American and the European. In this article I would like to move the image of the Israeli trial from the margins and into the limelight, via the play Rape Trial that Hanoch Levin published shortly before he died.
I use two indices to characterize the image of the trial in culture: One is the frequency of the court drama in central cultural vehicles (literature, theater, cinema, television); the other is the manner in which the trial is reflected in drama. The court drama is highly frequent in American culture. It is designed as the battle of the people, won by naiveté embodied in a young protagonist whose victory signals to the community the appropriate solution to larger ethical questions. This high frequency is a direct result of the structure and content of the narrative. American creators use the courtroom drama often because it tells the tale of sincere and deep involvement of the people in the shaping of important values. More importantly, this narrative is readily available to American creators because it occurs in practice. The image of the American trial faithfully reflects the American trial. Even more importantly, the American trial is indeed conducted as the people’s battle over good and evil, because the Americans choose to structure it this way. It is quite the opposite in European culture. The courtroom’s interior rarely appears in European culture, and the structure of the events that take place in it is reminiscent of a professional-bureaucratic narrative, abundantly formulaic, largely lacking in meaning and devoid of any significant moral lesson. This is a boring narrative because the European legal proceedings are boring, and are such because the Europeans chose to thus structure them. The trial in general and the judicial procedure are devoted to professional officials, and the European creators of culture place the big dramas in entirely other arenas.
What is the image of the trial in Israeli culture? In the face of the widespread claim of sweeping Americanization of the trial in public awareness, I establish the fact that the trial in general and the courtroom drama in particular are absent from early Israeli culture, and thus actually similar to the European culture. Books, plays and original television and cinema productions place the big Israeli dramas that form the foundations of the moral narrative in homes and in the battlefields, and not in courtrooms. Jurists do appear here and there in Israeli fiction, but their profession contributes very little to their characterization and they are active in the same arenas in which the other characters are active. On the rare occasions we find the jurists in their professional environment, they are in their offices, and when they seldom enter a court, they remain in the corridors and chambers and do not enter the courtroom. The architype of a brave lawyer, who seeks out good and fights the forces of evil in a confined space ("the courtroom") before the eyes of expressionless laypeople ("the jurors") and under the supervision of a professional arena manager ("the judge"), has never fronted an Israeli narrative.