Monday, September 22, 2008

Religion and State in Israel - September 22, 2008 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

September 22, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Deri to appeal moral turpitude clause

By Aviad Glickman, September 19, 2008

photo by Tierecke ("He's Innocent")

Ynet has learned that former Shas leader, Aryeh Deri, who was found guilty on several charges of bribery in 2000, is expected to file an appeal with the Jerusalem District Court in an attempt to expunge the moral turpitude clause on his criminal record, so as to be able to enter the race for mayor of Jerusalem.

The appeal to the District Court of Jerusalem is expected to generate counter-appeals to the High Court of Justice.

Several groups, including the Movement for Quality government in Israel have announced their plans to appeal to the High Court if the Jerusalem court approves Deri's candidacy.

Give Deri a chance

By Meron Benvenisti, Opinion September 22, 2008

Jerusalem is in such desperate straits that even a magician cannot heal its ills.

But Deri might be able to make this desperation easier to live with - even with regard to ultra-Orthodox-secular relations.

This hope is based on his ethnic origin and the community he belongs to, which is devoted to him.

On a mission

By Peggy Cidor, September 18, 2008

As for Nir Barkat's plans for the education system, one cannot help but note the large number of religious Zionists among his supporters and partners.

At a dialogue held at his house on the subject, Labor-Meimad MK Rabbi Michael Melchior opened the meeting, key remarks were given by Micha Goodman and Rabbi Shai Piron, both religious pedagogues, and a large part of the audience wore crocheted kippot.

…Also on the religious front, Barkat has been very active in pushing for a High Court ruling to appoint a chief rabbi for Jerusalem, making clear that his goal is to bring to the post Zionist rabbis rather than the haredi candidates who have prevailed until now.

Last week, Barkat misstepped when he announced that he had obtained the official support of former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, a leader in the religious Zionist community.

Although the declaration was promptly denied by Eliyahu's family, many other prominent figures in the religious Zionist camp do openly support Barkat.

Egged removes political ads on 'haredization' of J'lem

By Etgar Lefkovits, September 22, 2008

The Egged bus cooperative has removed political advertisements on the sides of its buses sponsored by the far-left Meretz Party against the "haredization" of Jerusalem, officials said at the weekend.

A Meretz city councilman blasted the bus company for "capitulating" to the haredi pressure.

"Egged has long become part of the haredi establishment," said Jerusalem city councilman Pepe Alalo.

"Egged buses cannot be an arena for a brawl between different sectors of the public and therefore we will not lend a hand to negative advertising," an Egged spokeswoman said in a written statement Thursday.

She added that the bus cooperative does not intend to hurt the feelings of its hundreds of thousands of haredi and religious passengers.

Hereditary 'Jerusalemness'

By Neri Livneh, September 19, 2008

Voting for Barkat is the only option available to those who would like Jerusalem to regain some of the secular character it once had, when it was still a small town populated by government bureaucrats and professors, authors and poets, and lunatics of all religions. 

But how sad is the situation in which the most distinctive quality for which a candidate can be praised is being the only secular candidate.

…But Jerusalem is much more than the wars between the religious and the secular.

These constitute only a small part of the quality of life and agenda of most people who live in the city, and who truly want what Barkat wants to achieve - plus, if possible, a mayor who does not consider a woman to be a contaminated vessel, and is able to firmly shake the hands of those female constituents whose votes he would like to have.

Court Upholds Rabbi’s Bracha

By Yechiel Spira, September 21, 2008

A court last week ruled the bracha for supporting a candidate was not a violation of the law, upholding Or Yehuda elections.

The petition to the court sought to challenge an election promise for voters who support Rav David Yosef that they would receive a bracha from his father, HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita.

Following his victory in the election, the petition was filed with the court.

The court ruled that the petition was not valid, stating it was only filed after the petitioner lost in the election, and it did not prove that the bracha promised was a violation of the law or that it slanted the election in the favor of one candidate.

Candidates Vie For Belzer Rebbe's Endorsement in Beit Shemesh Mayoral Race September 21, 2008

As municipal elections in the Yerushalayim suburb of Beit Shemesh approach, candidates for the position of mayor struggle to gain the endorsement of leading figures within the city's substantial Charedi population.

The Belzer Rebbe, R' Yissachar Dov Rokeach, is seen as key to a large voting block of Chasidim over whom he wields a great influence.

Last week, the Rebbe met with Shas party Beit Shemesh mayoral candidate Moshe Abutbul, and gave him a Bracha.

Shas party chairman Eli Yishai and former Knesset member Israel Eichler were also present at the meeting.

Shas Working Around-the-Clock Ahead of Chief Rabbinical Council Election

By Yechiel Spira, September 21, 2008

Shas officials are literally working around-the-clock ahead of this week’s election for members of the Chief Rabbinical Council of the Chief Rabbinate.

It appears according to most that the five Shas-affiliated rabbonim will indeed obtain slots on the nation’s highest rabbinical council.

Shas’ biggest effort appears to ensure the election of Cholon Chief Rabbi Avraham Yosef Shlita, a son of Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlita.

What is contributing to Shas’ concerns is Rav Elyashiv’s Shlita unwillingness to support rav Avraham’s candidacy, apparently as a result of his support for heter mechira during shmitah, a position held by his father, HaRav Ovadia Shlita, head of the Shas Council of Torah Sages.

Mazuz: No grounds to file charges against Metzger

By Aviad Glickman, September 22, 2008

Attorney Raz Nezri, senior aide to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, said Monday that there were no grounds to pursue a criminal case against Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger, citing lack of evidence.

Nezri's statement came in response to a demand made by the Ometz Association, which champions proper public administration.

Mazuz did, however, order his office to put together a team, headed by the Prime Minister's Office legal counsel and including representatives from the Justice Ministry and the Chief Rabbinate, to probe the matter further and stipulate new and clear guidelines as to the funding of the chief rabbi's trips by private groups.

Nezri chose to end his letter to Ometz by saying that "the decision not to go ahead with a criminal case must not be misunderstood as a validation of any of the alleged acts."

The lie of 'equality for Israel's children'

By Shahar Ilan, Opinion September 17, 2008

In the proposal, which might be called Nahari Law II, or the upgraded Nahari Law, Shas demands that budgets and buildings for the ultra-Orthodox education systems be equal to those for the state education systems. 

Equal budgets for state education and the ultra-Orthodox systems is in fact crude and unjustified discrimination against the children in the state education system.

Even now the budgets are nearly equal. The prime minister must not lend a hand to Nahari Law II, which will make the situation worse. State education must be preserved, not damaged further.

Rabbi Amar calls for end to discrimination against Ethiopians

By Neta Sela, September 18, 2008

Israel's Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar has issued a letter asking heads of religious schools not to discriminate children of Ethiopian descent, who wish to apply to their respective educational institutions.

In his statement, Rabbi Amar noted that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas' spiritual leader, approved his plea. The letter was also posted on Shas' website.

Religious Racism in Israeli Schools

By Elana Sztokman, September 21, 2008

The writer blogs at

There are moments when I find myself truly ashamed to be part of Israeli society.

I had a moment like that recently as I stood outside the Supreme Court with women from “Achoti”, an organization of Sephardic feminist women, waiting for a ruling on the religious girls’ school in Elad where racism is so entrenched that parents will do all it takes to keep antiquated Jim-Crow-like separations in place. 

Rabbis call for revival of traditional schooling

By Kobi Nahshoni, www.ynetnews.comSeptember 19, 2008

“Ethnic segregation is a tragedy, a bone of contention; the system isolating itself is an embarrassment,” Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau said Wednesday as he addressed growing amount of private religious schools and the weakening of state-religious education.

He called upon parents and educators to act responsibly towards weak students and strengthen state-religious education.

“The state-religious system created this divisive network since it did not accept the diversity of strengthening the orthodoxy and that shattered its growth.”

Ministry disqualifies exam after Haredi school bars proctor for 'immodest attire'

By Or Kashti, September 22, 2008

The Education Ministry has disqualified the matriculation exam in Jewish philosophy administered at an ultra-Orthodox girls' school in Jerusalem this past summer, after the institution refused to allow a ministry proctor into the classroom because it said she was not properly attired.

The ministry said the school did not have the authority to reject a proctor, and therefore disqualified the results of all 243 exams taken that day. 

…The school said that in conversations with the Education Ministry after the incident, it was agreed that from now on, male proctors rather than women would be sent. 

For haredi papers, Livni is faceless

By Matthew Wagner, September 22, 2008

If it relies solely on its newspapers for information, the haredi public will not even know what the next prime minister looks like, Arye Frankel, a veteran haredi ad man at the Gal BSD agency, said Sunday.

"You simply will not see a picture of Tzipi Livni in the haredi newspapers," said Frankel. "And in some cases you will not even see her first name," he added.

A senior editor at Hamodia, the oldest haredi daily, controlled by the Ger Hassidic sect, said that in his paper the name Tzipi would not be mentioned.

…"Hamodia is the most conservative," said Kroizer. "But in other papers you will find 'Tzipi.' But no haredi paper will publish Livni's picture. Graphic artists will blur the faces of women that do make their way into pictures that the papers want to use.

They will also blur pictures of television sets or other items deemed improper to be seen by the wider haredi public.

"Photoshop works overtime in a haredi newspaper," he explained.

Rabbis claim Bezeq delaying kosher Internet

By Gad Perez, September 18, 2008

Bezeq has been dragging its heels in the cooperation on kosher Internet access between it and the rabbinical committee on communications, say sources close to the committee.

The two sides had agreed on the requirements and conditions for cooperation in the provision of "obscenity-free" Internet services to users in the haredi (ultra-orthodox) sector, but virtually no progress has been made in recent months, despite the media attention and the headlines announcing the launch of commercial services last year.

The sources say that Bezeq fears it could lose revenue because of the fact that haredi customers can obtain kosher Internet and VoIP-based telephony services from rival providers.

MK Gafni Thwarts Attempt to Open Food Bar at Sde Dov

By Yechiel Sever, September 18, 2008

Another attempt by the board of Tel Aviv's Dov Airfield to open its food bar on Shabbos and Jewish holidays has failed.

In a letter to the operator of the food bar the airport director asked about his willingness to operate the food bar on Shabbos and holidays, saying if he receives a negative response the board would have to look into "alternative arrangements to provide service for passengers."

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni contacted Ovadia Eli, chairman of the Israel Airports Authority, who issued unambiguous instructions not to operate the food bar on Shabbos and chagim.

Religion and State in Israel

September 22, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.