Monday, April 19, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - April 19, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Independence Day the Haredi way

By Peggy Cidor April 16, 2010

For many Israelis, the day ZAKA (Disaster Victims Identification) founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav was invited to light a torch at a national ceremony on the eve of Independence Day could be considered a landmark event, although not all haredim appreciated his act.

…This is not a theological argument among us anymore. The State of Israel is a fact, the Zionist state is a fact – as far as it can still be called a Zionist state.”

Students to say Kadish for fallen without family April 18, 2010

Students from AMIT Religious-Zionist Education Network will visit cemeteries throughout Israel this Memorial Day in order to say the Kadish prayer for fallen soldiers and terror victims who no longer have living family members.

The students will also offer themselves to bereaved families who would like to complete a quorum of 10 Jews needed in order to perform religious ceremonies.

Prayer to be said on Independence Day April 15, 2010

Local authorities throughout Israel have announced that they will kick off upcoming Independence Day festivities with a prayer for the wellbeing of the State and the return of its captives and MIAs.

The move was initiated by the Tzohar Organization, Knesset Lobby for Local Government Chairman MK Zeev Bielski, and Union of Local Authorities Chairman Shlomo Bohbot, who proposed the prayer to Israel's mayors.

Haredi on Independence Day

By Yechiel Fleishman Opinion April 16, 2010

Being a haredi on Independence Day means that as early as Holocaust Remembrance Day you prepare yourself for being slammed by seculars.

Shma Yisrael

By Robbie Gringras Opinion April 18, 2010

The seeming-natural blend of religion and nationalism is striking.

The deepest prayer of the Jewish People (or is that the Jewish Religion?) is combined with the nation's flag, which itself cannot be fully divorced from Judaism.

After all, the flag was designed to echo the tallith prayer shawl worn in synagogues - precisely the way that Hadad wears the flag in her performance.

Rabbis: Boycott Independence Day festivities

By Nitzan Yanco April 14, 2010

Rabbis in the central city of Rosh Ha'ayin plan to turn Israel’s Independent Day into a demonstration of prayers "in protest of immorality and in order to give the people a religious rather than a secular folklore."

The decision was made after the municipality turned down the rabbis' demand to cancel the city's Independence Day celebrations.

The rabbis also warned the public against the "immorality hurting the sacredness of the people of Israel."

Eda Haredit won't protest on Memorial Day

By Kobi Nahshoni April 17, 2010

A top leader in the extremist haredi group, Rabbi Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss notified bereaved parents from the Yad Lebanim memorial society on Thursday that he did not intend on holding protests against the relocation of graves found at the Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center planned for Monday because he respects Memorial Day, which falls on the same day.

Neturei Karta protest in Jerusalem April 18, 2010

Some 150 members of the Neturei Karta faction are protesting in the Shabbat Square in Jerusalem. They are carrying signs with anti-Israel messages. One protestor set fire to the Israeli flag and was arrested.

Zionists must join forces

By Professor Yedidia Z. Stern Opinion April 18, 2010

Professor Yedidia Z. Stern is Vice President of IDI and former dean of the Law School at Bar Ilan University.

The Zionist public in Israel must join forces, in order to create a state that is not content with being a regular country, yet aspires to be part of the family of nations; a state that is not willing to give up its unique identity, but also wants to make room for the “Other” in its midst; a state that wants to be both Jewish and democratic.

Meeting Herzl again, for the first time

By Haviv Rettig Gur Opinion April 14, 2010

What would Herzl say about modern Israel’s political culture, about the parties, institutions and politicians that aim to lead the Jewish State?

What would he make of the Chief Rabbinate, the official exclusion of non-Orthodox religious streams and the religious monopoly on marriage, divorce and burial?

…Herzl imagined a country that knew how to combine particularism and universalism, that rebuilt the Third Temple but also internationalized Jerusalem, that was steeped in Jewish religiosity but also established the world’s largest foreign aid organization.

If the Jewish world read Herzl seriously, would it tolerate the enormous gap between his vision and the Israeli reality?

Herzl Diary Day 2: Learning to ask the ‘Jewish Question’

By Haviv Rettig Gur Opinion April 18, 2010

Is Herzl’s Zionism, then, also a clarion call for a Jewish cultural renaissance? Is such a cultural rebirth necessarily a religious one?

Herzl didn’t shy away from the difficult question of the relationship between the Jewish state and the Jewish religion.

Two translations of Der Judenstaat were approved by him, the English one titled The Jewish State (where the state itself is Jewish), and the Hebrew titled Medinat Heyehudim, “The State of the Jews,” suggesting that it is the inhabitants who are Jewish.

What did he intend? What do we, in today’s fractured Israel, actually want?

Israelis can learn a thing or two from Diaspora Jews

By Alex Sinclair Opinion April 15, 2010

Diaspora Jews should be less tolerant of the usual Israeli brush-offs. Whether it's about the steps Israel needs to take in the peace process, or the laws it needs to pass to defend religious pluralism, or the battles it needs to fight against racism, Diaspora Jews must learn to challenge the excuse "what we see from here, you don't see from there."

As a Jew, no place but Israel is home

By Elie Klein Opinion April 16, 2010

What I discovered was that, for a Jew, living in Israel means allowing yourself to feel comfortable in your own skin.

By its definition, Israeli nationalism, or "Zionism," means identifying with (and, if necessary, defending) the Land of Israel as the historical birthplace and spiritual, religious, and cultural soul of the Jewish people as well as the sovereign, Jewish national homeland.

But it also means creating an environment in which Jews can simply (and unapologetically) live their lives - just like everyone else.

Liturgical Responses to Yom ha-Atzmaut

By Michael Pitkowsky Opinion April 15, 2010

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews have been witnesses to the formative period of a liturgical response to this momentous event.

This process is continuing to this very day, and may continue for years to come. The many different liturgical responses that have been composed are reflective of different religious, cultural, and national sensibilities.

A guided tour of Birthright

Book review: Tours that Bind by Shaul Kelner

By Abigail Klein April 16, 2010

Among Kelner’s thought-provoking revelations is that Taglit-Birthright is consciously focused not on persuading tourists to make aliya, but on “ensur[ing] the continued existence of vibrant, Israel-oriented Jewish communities abroad.”

“Israel’s decision to devote state funds to such a project,” he writes, “reflects a changing understanding of its own interests based on an evolving Zionism that is adapting to an era of transnationalism and globalization.”

Yeshiva students hoodwink State for millions

By Jonathan Lis April 16, 2010

The National Insurance Institute is paying tens of millions of shekels to ultra-Orthodox youngsters on the basis of false declarations, an Education Ministry examination shows.

Some 30 percent of ultra-Orthodox men checked over the past five years lied about their economic situation or about the institutions they allegedly studied in and were not eligible for the money, according to figures submitted yesterday to a Knesset team supervising implementation of the Tal Law.

An economic bombshell Editorial April 14, 2010

About one-third of Israeli households nominally subsist under the poverty line, while almost 20 percent of men between the ages of 35-54 don’t work.

The malaise, though, isn’t equally endemic in all social sectors. Its gravest concentrations are among Arabs and haredim. Unemployment figures for Arab men had soared from 15% in 1979 to 27% in 2008. Among haredi men it spiraled from 21% 30 years ago to a whopping 65%.

Making these numbers more alarming yet are school-enrollment trends. Should these continue, by 2040 78% of Israel’s youngsters would be educated in haredi or Arab schools, the very ones that notoriously ill-prepare their graduates for the modern workforce.

Unemployment: Israel's other existential threat

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion April 18, 2010

Another major reason for poverty is the phenomenon of large families, most prevalent among the Haredi and Arab communities. In 1960, children from these two communities made up a total of only 15 percent of all elementary students. That figure stands at no less than 50 percent today, and in 30 years will reach 78 percent (!).

And that will be the breaking point: The body of working Israelis will be so small, it will no longer be able to carry these parasites on its back

Percent of non-working Haredi men tripled in space of 30 years

By Haim Bior April 14, 2010

The percentage of ultra-Orthodox men not working has more than tripled over the past 30 years. In 2008, 65% of Haredi men did not work, compared to only 21% in 1979, reveals the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel in its annual report.

Professor Dan Ben-David, the Taub Center's executive director, said the state's increased allowances and funding for groups including the ultra-Orthodox have enabled them to choose workforce nonparticipation as a lifestyle.

The number of elementary school pupils in the Arab education system has risen 33% in the same period, and in ultra-Orthodox schools the increase was 51%. As of 2008, because of these demographic changes, 48% of all elementary school children were either Arab or Haredi.

Hafganos [Demonstrations]? Cinema City Wants to Build NIS 200 Million Mega Movie Theater in Yerushalayim

By Yechiel Spira April 12, 2010

The Cinema City Company plans to construct a mega movie theater complex that includes 19 theaters in the National Precinct area, a move that rabbonim fear will have a significant negative impact on the capital, especially regarding chilul shabbos.

Chareidi city councilmen are concerned, aware of the dangers that lurk behind such a project, especially in proximity to chareidi neighborhoods.

They believe such an entity would bring hundreds of cars on shabbos, stating now is the time to act before it is too late, citing the need to act on behalf of kedushas shabbos and Yerushalayim.

Zisalek Ice Cream Store Makes Concessions to Fend Off Protestors

By Yair Alpert April 14, 2010

Halperin agreed to meet with those protesting the store - allegedly for tznius and hashkafa reasons - and agreed to the following to appease them:

1. The store won’t sell on Erev Shabbos after 1 p.m. ice cream that can be eaten immediately, such as ice cream cones, and will only sell at that point packaged ice cream that can be bought for families for Shabbos.
2. The store will not open on
Motzoei Shabbos.
3. The store will close at 10:30 p.m. each night.

The neighborhood vaad wanted to have the store hire men to sell to men and women to sell to women, but that request was rejected.

Haredim greet Lupolianski: You're the next PM

By Ronen Medzini April 18, 2010

Former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski on Sunday returned to his home in the capital's Sanhedria neighborhood, where he will remain under house arrest for the next 10 days.

Lupolianski, who is suspected of receiving a bribe in the Holyland affair, was greeted by dozens of ultra-Orthodox. They carried the former mayor on their shoulders and chanted, "Uri, there is no one like you in the world" and "Who is it? It's the next prime minister."

Where Did Holyland Go in the Chareidi Media?

By Yechiel Spira April 15, 2010

What do Thursday editions of Hamodia, Yated, and HaMevaser have in common you ask – the fact that the Holyland investigation which is front page news nationwide is conspicuously missing.

The reports are very calculated at best, with the three dailies not speaking of the arrest of former Mayor R’ Uri Lupoliansky and Yated makes no mention of the former senior Degel HaTorah official.

Rioting Outside the Grodona Yeshiva of Ashdod April 14, 2010

Rioting erupted this afternoon outside the Grodno Yeshiva of Ashdod as a result of a legal dispute between the Grodno and Ponovezh yeshivas regarding the ownership of land currently occupied by the Grodno yeshiva.

A Hearty Party: Bar mitzva of grandson of Belzer Rebbe

By Greer Fay Cashman April 16, 2010

Tal Catran founded the Non-Religious Friends of the Belzer Hassidim two years ago in a bid to bridge some of the differences between the secular and haredi communities, to eradicate stigmas on both sides, to enhance the knowledge of the secular community about what goes on in the haredi world and to enable haredim to find employment in the general job market.

The organization also helps those haredim who want to serve in the IDF.

Har Bracha gives up on hesder status

By Jonah Mandel April 12, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman December 15, 2009

Har Bracha Yeshiva, which was removed from the roster of hesder yeshivas last December, recommended to its students on Sunday that they continue their studies and military service as part of Elon Moreh Yeshiva, thus enabling them to remain part of the arrangement under which men serve 16 months in the army and spend close to four years studying in yeshiva.

The Battle of IDF Soldier Achiya Ovadia April 18, 2010

Most of us have already forgotten the name Achiya Ovadia, the soldier who was once affiliated with the Har Bracha Hesder Yeshiva who along with a friend held up a poster opposing the removal of Jews from Chomesh during a Shimshon Battalion swearing-in ceremony at the Kosel.

Now, close to three months since the incident, Ovadia is carrying on his own private battle against the IDF.

He has since been jailed for his actions, removed from Har Bracha’s program [which has since been ousted from the hesder network] and he has been removed from the hesder framework, told he must serve the remainder of his military service as a mainstream soldier, out of the Torah framework.

Army Seder Leads to a Storm

By Yechiel Spira April 13, 2010

Military correspondent Carmela Menashe gave the following report, aired on Israel Radio Reshet Bet during the program hosted on Tuesday morning by Yaron Dekel.

According to the report, female soldiers taking part in the main Yomtov seder in the ‘Kirya’ (Defense Ministry) were prohibited from reading aloud from the haggada by a ‘chareidi rabbi’ leading the seder. IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Avichai Ronsky has appointed an officer of the rank of lieutenant colonel to head the investigation into the allegations.

Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi: the Bible is the IDF's Guide

By Gil Ronen April 14, 2010

"The IDF sees the Bible as a guide in the deep and practical sense of the word,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday in a meeting with participants in the International Bible Quiz for Youth.

“It is no accident that the IDF swears in its soldiers with a weapon in one hand and the Bible in the other – a custom that reflects the uniqueness of the IDF and the deep bond of the Jewish people to the Book of Books,” he added.

Netanyahu inspired by son, reading more Bible

By Kobi Nahshoni April 15, 2010

"Jerusalem is the city of the Bible, and the Bible is the book of life. It is the story of the people of Israel’s life,"
said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday at a meeting held in his office for the contestants in the International Bible Contest.

Netanyahu's son, Avner, is a contestant in this year's contest after he won the contest on the state school level, making it to the finals.

Widely condemned cattle-killing method is used by kosher meat firm's supplier

By Nathaniel Popper April 15, 2010

Yona Metzger, one of Israel's two chief rabbis who oversee kosher certification in the Jewish state, two years ago promised an effort to stop use of shackle-and-hoist slaughtering.

"It can only be implemented by decisions of the owners of the ritual slaughterhouses," Raful wrote in an e-mail. "I believe that the administrators will slowly change their practices from how it currently exists to the new methods."

But Joe Regenstein, a food science professor at Cornell University and kosher-meat expert, blamed Metzger for not forcing change upon the Israeli companies that control most of the kosher meat production in South America.

"Nothing has happened," Regenstein said. "Unfortunately, we're tainted by it."

Rabbi Wolpo rescued from Arab Village

Click here for Photo Gallery

By Yechiel Cohen April 13, 2010

Rabbi Shalom Ber Wolpo, chairman of the ‘Eretz Yisroel Shelanu’ movement, got stranded last night (Monday) in the heart of the Arab village of Ahwara, in Shechem, just as the IDF were securing the hundreds of worshipers who came to pray at Kever Yosef in Shechem.

Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.