In so doing we endeavor to accomplish several objectives.
To create a state based on the Torah of Moshe in which the political, cultural and religious institutions all cooperate in a way to provide for freedom, justice and righteousness.
To create a state where there is much greater economic freedom under the rule of law and personal responsibility than is currently available under modern socialist western democracies.
To covenant with one another and with our Creator through the Messiah in a way that will uniquely manifest His presence among us and provide the blessings promised to a people so constituted in the Scriptures.
It is our belief that as people of God, we have the obligation to create an environment in which we and our posterity can serve our Creator without the pressures we deem contrary to the establishment of righteousness. Therefore, as a free people, we so covenant with each other and with our Creator for the aforementioned purposes.
The Constitutional Covenant of the Kingdom of Shomrim
The people of Shomrim, as a free and religious people, do hereby covenant together, for the creation for ourselves and our posterity a state established on the law and principles of Torah for the diligent pursuit of happiness, prosperity and safety while ensuring the protection of individual liberty and respect of conscience.
A. The name of the nation established by this covenant is the ďKingdom of ShomrimĒ
B. This government is established by a free people covenanting together and is based on the following principles.
1. All power of the state is vested in and derived from free people who voluntarily covenant together and choose their form of government and those who administer it. 2. The purpose of government is for the common benefit and security of the community. The best government is that which, in service to itís citizens, is able to produce the greatest degree of happiness, liberty, prosperity and safety and is most secure against maladministration and abuse. When a government is found to be operating deficiently or contrary to these ends, a majority of the community has the right and responsibility to reform or abolish it.
3. The form of Government for the Kingdom of Shomrim will follow the scriptural pattern detailed in the Torah of Moshe. It is acknowledged that in the absence of a prophet with the authority to anoint leadership, the administration of justice and services in the community resides with righteous individuals chosen by the community who will at all times be subject to the same laws and judgements as those who have entrusted them with their administration.
A. All legislative powers specifically granted and limited by this covenant shall be vested in a National Council of Elders.
1. This Legislative assembly shall be composed of all the elders elected from their various communities and various elders at large.
2. Each elder shall have one vote.
3. An Elder is defined as follows
a. A person freely elected the leader of a minimum of ten family units.
b. A person at least forty years of age, a citizen for a minimum of ten years and a resident of the community they represent for a minimum of five years.
c. A person who meets the minimum requirements for leadership detailed in the Scriptures and agreed upon by the prevailing customs.
d. He will have no set term of office but will serve at the discretion of the electorate or until such a time as the census will require the reorganization of a community. A vote of no confidence can be called for by any elder within the community and a new election held within one month. However, the call for such a vote is limited to one for every calendar year.
e. Elders will receive no compensation from the national treasury for their service
f. No elder acting as a representative of a community or elder at large shall hold any other office within the community or an office under the jurisdiction of the national government during his or her tenure in office.
4. From among their number, they will elect one of their members as the presiding elder. He will oversee the legislative session and enforce the rules of debate and the legislative process.
5. The quorum necessary for the conduct of business shall be three fourths of the elected membership. The elected membership may not exceed 120 persons.
6. Every bill passed by the Council of elders shall have a majority vote unless specified otherwise in this document. Before any bill becomes law, it must be presented to the chief elder for approval. The Chief elder will have five days, excluding Shabbat(s) to approve it or return it. If it is returned to the Council of Elders for reconsideration, that body shall have ten days in which to pass it again with a three fourths majority. When any bill is passed it shall be immediately published in the public record and attain the force of law twenty five days after itís passage.
B. The National Council of Elders shall have the following powers and responsibilities
1. They will convene twice a year for no more than two non-consecutive months at a time and place they shall determine most convenient for the fulfillment of their duties and responsibilities. The presiding elder in agreement with the shofet may call an assembly in time of national emergency and the conduct of business during such a time must be by the consent of three fourths of the assembly.
2. This body so assembled shall be the last resort and arbiter of all disputes and differences arising from any duly constituted community and another such community.
3. will have the sole authority to sit in judgement in any case of impeachment brought against an elder, officer of the national government or military official.
4. Will determine the rules and regulations regarding the election of any elder acting as a representative to the national government and any officer of the national Government.
5. To determine the rules under which it operates and conducts business, to discipline its members according to those rules and with the concurrence of three fourths, expel a member.
6. It will keep a journal of itís proceedings that will be a public record, excepting those parts that may be an issue of national security. Such exceptions must have the concurrence of three fourths of the members present.
7. Conducting a census only for the purposes of determining the representation required within each designated community. Such a census will be taken at least every five years and more often if the Council of Elders determines itís necessity.
8. To determine policies, standards and quotas for immigration and naturalization.
9. The sole right to declare war and the responsibility to provide the means for the common defense. It will also make rules for the government and regulation of the armed forces.
10. the sole right and responsibility to approve treaties and regulate trade with foreign nations.
11. the sole right and responsibility to coin money and establish the value thereof and to establish a uniform standard of weights and measures. It shall also have the power to punish counterfeiting and the use of inaccurate weights and measures. All legal tender for the payment of debt, public or private, shall be gold or silver.
12. the right to collect taxes, duties and excises to provide for the common defense and execute those duties specified in this document. All such taxes, duties and excises shall be uniform throughout the nation. Any tax or change of an existing tax must be made by two thirds of the Council of Elders.
13. To exercise authority over the administration of the buildings and property owned by the national government necessary for the conduct of itís duties. This amount shall not exceed three percent of the total land area of the state.
14. To make all laws necessary and proper for the execution of only those duties and responsibilities outlined above and other powers vested by this document in the national government and itís officers.
C. The following specific limitations are placed on the Council of Elders
1. No ex post facto law may be passed
2. No capitation or other direct tax may be laid on any citizen except for the responsibility each head of household has to provide the half shekel.
3. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue for any community or individual. No law regulating wages or prices for any person or business not in the direct employ of the national government.
4. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in accordance with the appropriations made by this body. An account of these expenditures shall be made public within three months of the conclusion of every fiscal year.
D. The head of a family is the elder in his household and any powers not specifically designated by this constitution or restricted by the Torah shall reside with him unless deferred to the local community.
The head of a household for the purposes of election and census is a) The husband and/or father b) a widowed mother or c) any unmarried person over the age of twenty
E. A local community is defined as a group of ten elders (heads of household) or more who have agreed to live in close physical proximity and share a common ideological and social bond. Any such group may form a community, the boundaries of which will be subject to the review and approval by the Council of Elders. Such a community may freely choose the form of government that will be most well suited for the administration of services within the community outside of the following requirements.
1. A community will elect an elder to preside over them. He is the judge and primary administrator of the community.
2. This elder will serve as the communities representative to the national legislature.
3. Should a community be substantially larger than ten family units, the following rules will apply.
a. Once a community has more than fifty family units as determined by the census, they will divide themselves into units of at least ten family units each of whom will elect an elder. Those elders, a minimum of three, will then elect one of their number to be the presiding elder of the community and the representative to the national legislature.
b. When a community reaches one hundred family units, it will divide itself into groups of fifty and the leaders of the fifties will choose one of their own as presiding elder and representative to the national legislature.
c. A community that reaches one thousand families will divide itself into groups of hundreds, and the leaders of the hundreds will choose one of their own as the presiding elder and representative to the national legislature.
4. No elder acting as a representative of a community or elder at large shall hold any other office within the community or an office under the jurisdiction of the national government during his or her tenure in office.
5. If a vacancy happens in representation to the national government, the community so represented shall fill such a vacancy according to the regulations applying to a lack of confidence vote.
6. Each community will have sovereignty within itís jurisdiction so far as it is not in contradiction to this document and all powers not specifically designated to the national government by this covenant shall be retained by the communities and the citizens.
7. No community shall enter into into any treaty, alliance or confederation domestically or with a foreign power, coin money, pass any ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation of contracts, lay any duty on imports or exports or pass any law or regulation indirect contradiction to the Torah or the letter and spirit of this document.
8. Elders shall be elected Ďat largeí to serve those people who are not residing within the boundaries of an established community. They will be elected generally by these individuals at the time of the shofet and serve for seven years. Each elder will represent a minimum of one hundred households, the maximum being determined by the census and the limitations on membership in the Council of Elders. They will be subject to the same minimum requirements as community elders.
D. New communities may be formed at any time upon successful petition to the Council of Elders which shall include a covenant of organization and reasons for incorporation. No new community, however, may be created within the jurisdiction of an existing community.
E. The Kingdom of Shomrim shall guarantee to every community protection against invasion without prejudice, and on the application of the elder(s) within a community, domestic violence.
A. The executive power of the Kingdom of Shomrim shall be vested in a shofet (judge). He will hold a term of office for seven years, the term shall go from the Day of Atonement of one Shabbat year to the next. He will be popularly elected by all the eligible voters in the state at a time during that year designated by the Council of Elders.
1. No person except a natural born citizen or a citizen of the Kingdom of Shomrim at the time of the adoption of this constitution as the rule of a sovereign nation shall be eligible to serve in this office. He must otherwise meet the qualifications for the public office of elder and have been a resident of the state for seven years.
2. In the case of the death, resignation, or removal of the shofet from office, or if he becomes unable to perform his duties, the presiding elder will execute the duties of this office until a new election will be held at the discretion of the National Council of Elders, not to exceed a period of nine months. The newly elected shofet shall fill the unexpired term of office.
3. The shofet shall receive for his services a compensation as determined by the Council of Elders which shall not be increased or diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected. He many not receive any other compensation from the state during that time.
4. The shofet shall be the commander and chief of all the armed forces and the militia of the Kingdom of Shomrim.
a. A well regulated militia comprised of all the male citizens of the nation, aged twenty to sixty, regularly trained in the martial sciences and the use of arms will be the proper method of securing the state.
b. The right of any citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except on the conviction of any serious crime.
5. He shall have the power, by and with the consent of two thirds of the Council of Elders, to make treaties. He may also with the consent of the Council of Elders appoint ambassadors and other public officials he deems necessary for the administration of the duties of the government specified in this covenant.
6. He shall annually make a report to the National Council of Elders at a time when they are in session.
7. He shall take care to ensure that all the laws of the Kingdom of Shomrim and of the Torah be faithfully executed and shall commission all the officers necessary for the fulfillment of this duty.
B. The Shofet, Elders and all civil officers of the Kingdom of Shomrim shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery and if they fail to continue to meet the qualifications under which they were elected or appointed.
C. The treasury will be administered by someone appointed by the shofet and approved by the Council of Elders.
1. The treasury may never make direct payments to any individual except in compensation for actual work performed for the state in accordance with the limits and intent of this covenant.
2. The treasurer is responsible for submitting a budget for approval by a two thirds majority of the elders by the first day of the eleventh month for the next year.
A. A judicial branch will be established consisting of a group of seven elders selected by lot from all the elders elected who would desire to serve on such a panel. The tenure of such individuals shall be for fifteen years. Should a vacancy be created by death, resignation incapacity of failure to meet the qualifications for which originally elected, a new lot will be chosen from among the eligible elders. Tenure will them begin at that point and continue for the full term. No elder shall serve more than one term.
B. In all cases affecting public officials and consuls and those in which a community shall be a party, and any dispute which would involve the penalty of death, this court shall have original jurisdiction. In all other cases this court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and as to fact, regarding the laws which shall be original with Torah or having originated with the Council of Elders.
C. It is the duty of this court to bring and try cases of impeachment before the Council of Elders, with such a council acting as the jury in such cases.
D. Treason against the Kingdom of Shomrim shall consist of waging war against the state, adhering to itís enemies or giving them aid or comfort. A person so convicted shall have the punishment determined by this court.
Amendments to this constitution may be made as follows. An official proposal will be submitted and published for citizen review. At least one year from that date, it must be approved by the full Council of Elders and by citizen referendum by a majority of at least eighty percent. The changes will be implemented for two years at which time it must pass both votes again by the same majority to become law. If it does not pass, itís implementation will not continue.
A. To secure and perpetuate friendship and intercourse among the various communities, the free inhabitants of any community or an inhabitant outside of a community shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities granted by this document and shall have free ingress and regress to and from any community.
B. Full faith and credit shall be given in each community to the public acts, records and governmental and judicial proceedings. The Council of Elders may make general laws prescribing the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings are proved.
This covenant and the laws of the Kingdom of Shomrim which shall be made in accordance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land and the elders and civil officials in every community shall be bound by them, anything in the covenant or laws of any individual community notwithstanding.
A. The national government shall recognize the right of every citizen to freedom of speech, written and oral. This right shall not be revoked except in time of declared war.
B. The right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances shall not be abridged
C. The national government shall recognize the right of every citizen to their property and their right to do on their property what they wish as long as it does not represent a threat to the health of their neighbors or the security of the state. All citizens will be secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects from unreasonable search and seizure and no warrants issued except upon probable cause and upon an oath of affirmation specifically describing the place or things to be searched.
D. The national government recognizes the right of every community to be organized as they see fit and to set its own public standards in the form of ordinance, the violation of which shall be punishable as they determine, as long as it is not contrary to Torah or restricted within the national covenant or law. Any ordinance made in addition to those contained within the national law must be clearly posted at the boundaries of the community.
E. No person can be taxed or otherwise deprived of their property for public use without their consent and just compensation or that of their freely elected representatives, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented.
E. No person shall be held to answer for any crime except such an indictment by the elder or court of jurisdiction which shall clearly inform him of the offense for which he is to be tried. Every person so held must be self represented or be represented by the head of his household. Each have the right to a speedy and public trial, to face their accusers in open forum and cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself nor be tried for the same crime more than once. Each person shall have at his disposal the ability to obtain witness in his favor and confront those against him. All convictions involving the penalties of death, physical punishment or large monetary penalties shall be on the testimony of two witness which may include and not limited by eyewitness testimony, forensic evidence, technological recording or any other recognized method of evidence collection. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, health or property without due process of law.
OTHER INFORMATION (This is not part of the constitution but are ideas for organization)
A head tax with a census will be laid on citizens of 1/2 shekel
An income tax may be levied on residents (non-citizens)
tariffs and voluntary contributions will make up the rest
Local communities may establish any method of taxation they see fit.
Citizenship will be conferred after a period of residency not less than one year, approval by the local elder and mikveh.
The economy will be based on the gold standard. All coins and legal tender shall be gold or silver.
Lending among citizens is to be done without interest and debts will be cancelled every shemmittah year based on the year of the founding on Shomrim. Lending between citizens and non-citizens may be done at interest for any length of time. Should a non-citizen desire to become a citizen, all outstanding debts must be paid or forgiven.
In any dispute an individual may represent himself or be represented by the head of his family or clan. No compensation may be given for this service.
Witnesses may be called by either side. Witnesses whose testimony can be shown to be false will be subject to the same penalty the accused would have received.
Any physical evidence that would require scientific analysis will be under the jurisdiction of a national crime center, the director of which will be appointed by the chief elder and approved by a two thirds majority of the national council of elders. Either he or his representative must give the results of any analysis.
The elder in the community will hear the case and all the evidence presented. In property cases involving a value of less than one half a yearís income, his decision is final. All others may be appealed.
Judgement must be made in any case within five days, excluding Shabbat(s). An individual accused of a property crime may not leave the town until a final judgement is made. A person accused of a personal crime will remain under house arrest until final judgment is made. If the judge believes there is additional time required for the collection or analysis of evidence, he and the two representatives in the case may agree to additional time, not to exceed one month.
Appeals must be heard by the national judicial panel within six months. The judicial panel at itís discretion may choose not to review an appeal.
An elder accused of bribery in any case will be brought before the national judicial panel. If the charges are found to be true, he will receive the penalty he meted out to the accused and will be barred from any office for life.
Military service will be compulsory for all men ages 20-60, Torah exemptions included. Men over sixty may volunteer. Women from 18 and up may volunteer. Every person will serve two weeks per year, one in training and one on the field. Every man will be required to respond to a national emergency.
One of the keys to the success of this endeavor is to balance both the encouragement and requirements of Torah, including the religious principles with a society that will encourage freedom and opportunity; economic, artistic and spiritual. The questions of what is to be required of each individual will need to be answered. Will the requirements of citizens and residents be different? Will the punishments to religious violations be different. There is no desire to create a police state where bands of religious fanatics search every home for kashrut violations or questionable reading material. If done improperly, a nation of people fearful of every action or word will result. However, if private Torah observance is not encouraged, the experiment will fail because it will be a nation of hypocrites.
The solution as I see it now will be to require as little as possible under the law, leave the Torah requirements that have no punishment or are part of the Ďprivate sphereí (niddah for example) to the teachers in the shul. The government will therefore establish and enforce the most important standards and leave the rest to the individual or local community. For example, the government may mandate that no business transactions happen on Shabbat. It will not, however, mandate the traditions people engage in in their homes or enforce any definition of work within the home. It will be up to the local congregational leader to encourage proper rest and worship practices. It will also be assumed that social pressure will exert a great influence on wayward behavior. It will take a lot of wisdom to create a righteous nation that will remain so without becoming either a police state like Iran, or a permissive state like the US.
The preferred way to fund the government and bring wealth into the nation is to develop a positive balance of trade with the outside world. This could be either in the development of natural resources-oil, gas mining etc., the development of tourism or to create a haven for outside business or banking to come in.
Local elections will be administered as follows;
Every eligible voter will be registered in his or her district with the local government. That registration will include a current picture (5 yrs or less) and signature. A representative of the national government elected by the people at large for a term of three years will oversee the ballots and their counting.
One week before the election, a list of all the eligible individuals requesting consideration will be publicly listed.
The date of elections for each town will be determined by the national council of elders.
national elections will be administered at the local level by the townís elder.
One month before a national election, a list of all eligible individuals requesting consideration will be publicly listed.
The individual receiving the most votes will win. In the case of a tie, a runoff of the top two individual will follow the next day, excluding Shabbat(s).
In the case of a resignation or dismissal, a local election must be held within one month to fill it. In the case of a national election, it must be made within two months.