Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
By Avirama Golan, www.haaretz.com September 29, 2008
"The differences are purely judicial - whether the moral turpitude is valid for five years, as it was before I entered prison, or seven years, as decided later, while I was serving my sentence," he says.
Deri says that some countries such as the United States allow prisoners to be elected, let alone vote.
"Let the public decide on the moral issue of whether I am worthy of returning to public life and whether Jerusalem could benefit from a man like me."
By Yair Ettinger, www.haaretz.com September 24, 2008
Former Shas leader Aryeh Deri said Tuesday that if he is legally barred from submitting his candidacy in the Jerusalem mayoral race, he will drop out without seeking to overturn the ruling.
"I will tell the Torah sages not to appeal," Deri said. "I will do as I am told."
In an interview with religious radio station Tel Hai Radio, Deri said he would advise Shas rabbis not to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a possible ruling preventing him from running for mayor.
By Dan Izenberg www.haaretz.com September 28, 2008
Deri's lawyer, Agmon, argued that the restrictions imposed by "moral turpitude" constituted punishment above and beyond the jail sentence and fine the court had handed down.
According to the law, Agmon argued, Deri's punishment could not exceed that meted out to him at the end of his trial.
He also argued that at the time Deri was sentenced, the law stated that a person convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude could not run for local authority office for six years.
A law passed after he was convicted could not be applied retroactively, and therefore the law that continued to apply to Deri only barred him from running for six years, said Agmon.
By Election Day, Deri will have been out of jail for six years and four months.
www.jpost.com September 28, 2008
The state opposes former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri's plan to run in the Jerusalem mayoral race, the state prosecution said in response to an appeal submitted by Deri in the matter.
The purpose of the waiting period, the state said in its response to Deri's appeal, was "to prevent anyone is not worthy of serving in a public office from doing so, for the sake of maintaining the ethical purity of public appointees and the offices they oversee, as well as the public's trust."
Rabbi Michael Marmur, www.jpost.com Opinion September 28, 2008
…It is of course, the extraordinary decision to allow a cartoon figure to run for Mayor of Jerusalem.
Hundreds of thousands of households have had flyers delivered in which this figure beams out alongside a slogan promising that Jerusalem will love him.
…The idea behind the caricature is clear: for Jerusalemites who are not ultra-Orthodox, the only chance of voting for Porush is a sudden rush of imagined nostalgia for Orthodox authenticity - the notion that he stands for traditional values and against the general slide into oblivion.
If they look too closely at what he says and stands for, his chances will plummet. In order to vote for him they will have to believe he is someone else.
By JJ Levine, www.jpost.com September 25, 2008
As the mayoral race in Beit Shemesh heats up ahead of the November 11 election, Shalom Lerner hopes to be transformed from the Anglo favorite into the first choice among the city's electorate.
…But the key demographic in Beit Shemesh is the fast-growing haredi population. To capture the mayoralty, Lerner will have to make significant inroads in the mostly haredi Ramat Beit Shemesh and other haredi areas.
That means tackling the haredi community's own candidates, including Moshe Abutbul of Shas, as well as the current mayor, Daniel Vaknin (Likud), who in past elections has captured a large part of the haredi vote.
Lerner realizes that the growth of haredi communities has created a backlash from veteran residents who see their city being radically transformed.
His hopes of capturing the mayoralty depend on portraying himself as the "man in the middle" - the modern Orthodox representative who will be sensitive to haredi needs while protecting the character of old Beit Shemesh.
Lerner has promised to stand up against religious coercion, which has recently tarnished the city's image, but also supports community-appropriate institutions in haredi areas - from synagogues and schools to pools with separate swimming hours.
By Matthew Wagner, www.jpost.com September 23, 2008
The leaders of Ashkenazi haredim suffered a blow to their hegemony in the Chief Rabbinate on Tuesday night while Shas and the national religious camp scored significant victories.
In a vote for 10 new members of the Chief Rabbinate's Rabbinical Council, a large number of religious Zionist and Shas-backed rabbis were voted in.
Rabbis Ya'acov Shapira, head of Jerusalem's Zionist flagship Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, was chosen along with Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed. Both Eliyahu and Shapira are sons of former chief rabbis and both are considered national religious.
Religious Zionist rabbis who did not make it include Shoham Chief Rabbi David Stav, who is also spokesman for the Hesder Yeshivot and a senior member of Tzohar Rabbis, and Kiryat Shmona Chief Rabbi Tzfania Drori.
But the biggest upset was the election of Ashdod Chief Rabbi Avraham Yosef, the son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The Lithuanian haredi rabbinic leadership was strongly opposed to Yosef's election, so much so that it caused a schism between Shas and the Ashkenazi haredim.
Sephardi, were chosen for five-year terms.
Ashkenazi rabbis elected include Rabbi Yitzhak David Grossman, of Migdal Ha'emek, known as the disco rabbi for his outreach with young disco-goers, Rabbi Ya'acov Ruzah, of the Tel Aviv Burial Society, and Rabbi Yitzhak Ralbag, marriage registrar of Jerusalem.
Sephardi rabbis included Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz of Ra'anana, Rabbi Shimon Elituv of Mateh Binyamin a Chabad Hassid, and Rabbi Ratzon Arrusi of Kiryat Ono.
Yechiel Spira, www.theyeshivaworld.com September 24, 2008
In essence, Tuesday’s election for the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Rabbinical Council was an election for the Chief Rabbinate’s government.
The election also provides a glimpse at the political realities, the political complexities, and the deal-making that govern the nation’s highest rabbinical body.
By Yair Ettinger www.jpost.com September 23, 2008
The council oversees huge business interests, mostly related to kashrut supervision, and it is largely controlled by the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties: For years, its composition has been the result of political deals between these two parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism.
This time, however, several religious Zionist rabbis may well be chosen, due to a dispute between the Ashkenazi UTJ and the Sephardi Shas.
The Reform Movement, for its part, urged mayors on the electoral body to boycott the vote, due to the rabbinate's "loss of direction" and "the dire need to advance the separation of religious institutions from the government."
By Dan Izenberg and Matthew Wagner, www.jpost.com September 25, 2008
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said Wednesday that the High Rabbinical Court's statement suggesting that the conversions preformed by Rabbi Chaim Druckman, former head of the Conversions Court, should be overturned, has no legal or halachic standing.
"As long as a conversion decree has not been rescinded by the appropriate religious authority, no rabbi or marriage registrar has the authority to question its validity," he said.
Attorney Susan Weiss of the Center for Women's Justice, who represented the woman in question, said Wednesday that Mazuz's brief was "good news ahead of the New Year," adding it indicated that the legal system was taking a clear stand in favor of both converts and the common good.
By Neta Sela www.ynetnews.com September 29, 2008
In an unprecedented move, the High Rabbinical Court on Sunday called on the observant public to shun a resident of Jerusalem who has been refusing to grant his wife a divorce for five years.
In ads published in Israel and abroad, a panel of rabbinical court judges calls out to the public to refrain from allowing Briskman to join a congregation or from associating with him for business or pleasure.
The judges also ask that the public refuse him any lodging, with or without pay, including patient visitation rights.
By Matthew Wagner, www.jpost.com September 28, 2008
A group of dovish rabbis and academics visited Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell Sunday at his home to denounce an apparently ideologically motivated pipe bomb attack against the left-wing professor.
On Thursday, which is also the Fast Day of Gedalia, Ne'emanei Torah Ve'Avodah, a moderate religious Zionist organization, plans to hold a public prayer rally outside Sternhell's home in protest against the attack.
Other organizations and educational institutions slated to participate include the Hartman Institute and the Hertzog Institute.
By Kobi Nahshoni, www.ynetnews.com September 28, 2008
The Tzohar rabbis' organization released a statement Friday, expressing its "deep shock" over the attack against Israel Prize Laureate Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell, who was lightly injured by a pipe bomb detonated at his front door in Jerusalem.
"We view this violent act as a severe attack on the Torah, Jewish law, Israeli democracy and the sensitive fabric of life in the Jewish society," the statement said.
The rabbis' organization added that every rabbi, educator and Jewish leader has the moral duty to denounce physical or verbal violence of any kind, and explain the dangers of unfounded hatred to the Jews' existence in the Land of Israel.
By Akiva Eldar, www.haaretz.com September 24, 2008
It doesn't take long for Siham Nashashibi, 62, to allude to his family's distinguished lineage.
"My uncle brought Israel the Nobel Prize in Literature, and my Nobel Prize is that Israel has informed me that I am not a Jerusalemite," he says.
…The National Insurance Institute has decided he is not a Jew, or even a Jerusalemite, and has revoked his disability pension and health benefits.
…His attorney, Adi Lustigman, says she is still having difficulty understanding how the son of a Jewish woman is not considered a Jew in the eyes of the Israeli authorities.
She says the Israel Religious Action Center, the advocacy arm of Israel's Reform movement, plans to go to court over the issue if it fails to convince the Interior Ministry to waive its objection to recognizing Nashashibi as a Jew.
Yesterday Nashashibi signed a lawsuit against the insurance institute that his attorney plans to file with the regional labor court.
By Yair Ettinger, www.haaretz.com September 25, 2008
Would it have been possible to save the life of Rabbi Yossi Raichik?
Raichik, 54, died on Sunday morning following a prolonged illness - and after the opportunity to transplant into his body the lungs of a brain-dead woman had already passed.
Was it possible that the much-loved activist, a father of six, could have gone on living if a respected rabbinic authority had been found who would have approved the procedure?
…The issue has been debated from the medical-ethical point of view all over the world, and it has been a subject of disagreement within the world of Jewish law too.
By Neta Sela, www.ynetnews.com September 23, 2008
MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism):
“Bonuses need to be given to schools that accept a larger percentage of the opposite ethnicity…I am for this kind of favoritism so that Sephardim will stop this stupid race to study with Ashkenazim.
"Why not the opposite? We need to find a real solution and not run to be admitted to schools that do or don’t want to accept children to school…”
“Shas MKs are successful in sending their children to whichever school they want due to their political status. But they don’t want to send their children to a school that won’t be successful in maintaining the balance between Ashkenazim and Sephardim."
According to Ravitz, children should not be involved in finding this balance. He believes that the real solution is [affirmative] discrimination in favor of the Sephardic institutions.
Jpost.com Editorial www.jpost.com September 29, 2008
On this Rosh Hashana Eve, which also marks the end of the Sabbatical - shmita - year, the Torah teaches an important lesson about greed and trust, a lesson which resonates particularly loudly today as America, and much of the rest of the world, grapple with a major financial crisis.
…Our society is far from the ideal, but it is our obligation to strive for the sense of mutual responsibility sought by the framers of Jewish law - an obligation underlined by the remarkable coincidence of the ancient enlightened shmita provisions and the current bitter financial crisis.
By josh www.jerusalemite.net September 24 2008
Bema'aglei Tzedek, a Jerusalem based consort of youths with a mind for social change, have taken it upon themselves to certify restaurants, catering halls, and other food service establishments with a social seal that verifies their commitment to workers' rights and handicapped access.
A full one third of Jerusalem eateries now carry the social seal, including 1868, Bar Kochba, Village Green, New Deli and Emil (a full list of participating restaurants can be found on their website here.)
By Yechiel Spira, www.theyeshivaworld.com September 26, 2008
For those who dreamed the end of shmitah year might bring some relief, the money you owe City Hall will be collected, and done so in accordance to Halacha.
Earlier in the week, the city’s treasurer arrived on the 6th floor of the main building in City Hall, meeting with Rabbi Eliezer Samchiuf, a deputy mayor who happens to holds the city’s finance portfolio.
A pruzbol was signed to ensure there were no halachic problems with the city seeking to collect debts after Rosh Hashanah.
The nusach chosen was the pruzbol in accordance to the Badatz Beit Yosef, under the direction of HaGaon Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlita.
By Yechiel Sever www.chareidi.shemayisrael.com September 25, 2008
Hundreds of "giborei koach" farmers from the North were honored at a special event in Afula sponsored by the National Center for Shomrei Shevi'is at Kommemiyus, which is under the aegis of Keren Shevi'is.
HaRav Avrohom Margaliot, the rov of Carmiel, noted this is a gathering of farmers who wholeheartedly devoted themselves to keeping shmittah properly, in accordance with Halacha.
HaRav Y.M. Zonenfeld, the rov of Rechasim, said 90 years ago his father stood up to the porkei ol and declared, "The day will come when our Holy Land will be filled with shomrei Shevi'is," and now 2,500 farmers have let 350,000 dunams (85,000 acres) of farmland lie fallow.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.