Monday, May 24, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - May 24, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

May 24, 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.

Pagan Altar Exposed at Barzilai Hospital May 22, 2010

The development work for the construction of a fortified emergency room at Barzilai Hospital, which is being conducted by a contractor carefully supervised by the Israel Antiquities Authority, has unearthed a new and impressive find: a magnificent pagan altar dating to the Roman period (first-second centuries CE) made of granite and adorned with bulls’ heads and a laurel wreaths.

The altar stood in the middle of the ancient burial field.

Preserving honor

By Rabbi Shlomo Brody Opinion May 22, 2010

The author, online editor of Tradition and its blog, Text & Texture (, teaches at Yeshivat Hakotel.

In the Barzilai case, prominent haredi decisors initially declared that the life-saving benefits were not instantaneous enough to justify removing the bones. Yet based on the above sources, the Chief Rabbinate reasonably – and correctly, in my opinion – concluded that the fortified emergency room suffices as an urgent public need and warrants the dignified reburial of the ancient bones.

Burial for the "Barzilai Bones"

By Refael Ovadia / Kuvien Images May 22, 2010

Funeral procession for Barzilai bones held in Jerusalem

By Kobi Nahshoni May 21, 2010

The Atra Kadisha organization and members of the Eda Haredit, who headed the struggle against the relocation of the graves at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, held a funeral ceremony on Thursday in Jerusalem for the bones removed from the ER construction site

Israel's ultra-Orthodox angry over bones relocation

AFB May 20, 2010

"The bones have been given to the (religious) undertaker to be buried in a Jewish cemetery, since there is a possibility they are Jewish," a spokesman for the religious affairs ministry told

Some 700 Haredim riot in Jerusalem after graves removed from Ashkelon ER site

By Liel Kyzer, Yair Ettinger and Nir Hasson May 17, 2010

The Jerusalem municipality on Sunday evening cut off services to a number of ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, after hundreds of protesters clashed with police during demonstrations against the state's decision to relocate ancient remains buried at the site of a planned emergency room in Ashkelon.

Haredi protests in Jaffa resume; 40 arrested

By Ronen Medzini May 17, 2010

The damage from the riots carried out by members of the Eda Haharedit Sunday is valued at NIS 1 million (about $270,000).

A Ynet investigation revealed that the municipal coffers will bear the burden of the protesters' vandalism, which included damage to garbage bins, roads, vehicles, traffic lights, and street lights.

Suspicion: Haredim behind Beit Shemesh area forest fires

By Shmulik Grossman May 20, 2010

Firefighters managed to extinguish three different forest fires in the Ramat Beit Shemesh area on Thursday.

According to the firefighters, the haredim started the fires as an act of protest against the relocation of ancient graves in Ashkelon. The firefighters said they had to ward off haredim who were trying to disrupt the efforts to contain the blazes.

Mofaz: Livni was mistaken to attack haredim

By Gil Hoffman May 17, 2010

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni’s rival in Kadima, MK Shaul Mofaz, has attacked her in an interview with a chain of haredi newspapers, saying that it was wrong of her to adopt an anti-haredi line in recent weeks.

“I think that at least half of Kadima is against the anti-haredi campaign,” Mofaz told the Kav Itonut Datit chain. “I read some of Livni’s statements and I completely disagree with them.”

Haredim captive to radicals

By Kobi Nahshoni May 21, 2010

The Atra Kadisha organization and members of the Eda Haredit, who headed the struggle against the relocation of the graves at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, held a funeral ceremony on Thursday in Jerusalem for the bones removed from the ER construction site.

Jerusalem: Haredim riot, block main road

By Shmulik Grossman May 17, 2010

Some 200 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators made their way to Sabbath Square in Jerusalem Monday, torching trash cans and blocking the main road into the city.

61% of Israeli Jewish couples are dual-earners May 17, 2010

71% of secular Jewish couples have two breadwinners, compared with 19% of haredi (ultra-orthodox) couples. 25% of haredi have no breadwinners.

Intel insider

By Guy Grimland May 20, 2010

Five months ago, controversy erupted in Jerusalem over Intel's decision to start running its production line on Shabbat. Thousands of ultra-Orthodox demonstrated in front of the factory. Ultimately, the sides reached a compromise whereby Jews would not work there on Saturday.

What is your opinion of the ultra-Orthodox protest? Is there any way to explain this to Intel's global leaders?

"You can explain it, but it is undoubtedly harder to explain to someone who is not Jewish. Maxine Fassberg, the general manager of Intel Israel, handled the affair well. The explanation given was that this was an internal political problem in Israel. Intel's leaders have placed their faith in Intel Israel's executives, who have proven that they know how to defuse local problems.

Israel faces threat from ultra-Orthodox

By Tobias Buck (free registration may be required) May 21, 2010

The ultra-orthodox are coming to be seen as a heavy burden. Calls for reform of their schools are growing, as are demands to draft yeshiva students into the army. Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv, declared this month that the state must act against “insulated and ignorant sectors which are increasing at a frightening speed and are jeopardising our political and financial strength”.

According to Mr Ilan, the tensions will increase. The next Israeli election, he argues, “will be fought on the subject of religion and the state”.

Mixing Torah and flour

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich May 23, 2010

Interview with Dana-Picard, the new 55-year-old president of the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT)

A decade ago, JCT developed a special framework – Machon Naveh – for haredi yeshiva students who could spend evenings studying for a degree.

Today, JCT schools have more experience teaching haredi men (and women) engineering and other hi-tech professions than any other institution of higher learning in the country, says Dana-Picard.

Dana-Picard says there are 300 haredi men at JCT, most of them – with black kippot or long sidecurls – studying in the same classrooms with national-religious male students in their modern dress and crocheted skullcaps.

Poll: 83% of haredim suffer ethnic discrimination May 23, 2010

Participants were asked whether they, or anyone they know, have been victims of ethnic discrimination when applying their children to an educational institution.

Fifty five percent of respondents replied negatively, 34% said they knew someone who was subject to discrimination and 11% testified of having experienced such discrimination themselves.

The survey analysis found that 63% of seculars said they have not experienced discrimination, while 51% of traditional, 59% religious and 83% haredi respondents were exposed to it either personally or through an acquaintance.

Liberating the Hurva

By Peggy Cidor May 21, 2010

“The Hurva belongs to Jerusalem and all the Jewish people,” said City council member Rachel Azaria.

“There is no way we are going to give up and leave it to haredi hegemony. As with the gender-segregated buses, there is no other way than a unified struggle by secular and religious – all the Zionists factions – to have it be open to the general public. We have proven in the past that when we are determined to fight back, we get results,” she asserts.

Report: Rabbis order 'pirate' school to obey high court May 23, 2010

High ranking rabbis on Sunday ordered the management of the haredi girls' school in Emmanuel to create a single stream for all students in compliance with a High Court order.

Court rules on 'pirate' Ashkenazi school May 17, 2010

The Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday fining Ashkenazi parents in Emmanuel, unless they resume sending their children to the local Beit Ya'acov Girls' School with Sephardi pupils.

Starting May 25, each parent will be fined NIS 200 per day that their children do not attend the school.

How not to teach core subjects

By Yedidia Stern and Shay Piron Opinion May 23, 2010

Prof. Yedidia Stern is vice president of the Israel Democracy Institute. Rabbi Shay Piron is executive director of Hakol Hinuch, the Movement for the Advancement of Education in Israel.

The right of every Israeli student to receive an education that helps him realize his talents and pursue a life that is meaningful and integrated into society must be protected.

...The goal of offering Haredi children a future which involves integration into a productive life is likely to be interpreted within that community as an effort to tear down their sacred walls.

Ex-Charedim challenge school system

By Anshel Pfeffer May 21, 2010

Professor Amnon Rubinstein, a former education minister; Elazar Stern, who served as the chief of the IDF's Education and Personnel Corps; Professor Uriel Reichmann, president of the Interdisciplinary Centre at Herzliya; and a group of young men who were raised in the Charedi community, but are now secular, have joined together to try to end this situation.

The formerly Charedi petitioners are currently students who had to spend years learning basic English and mathematics before they could take up their places at university.

Furthering Pluralistic Jewish Education in Israel: An Evaluation of the Meitarim School Network

By Ezra Kopelowitz, Stephen Markowitz Research Success Technologies March 2010

This report offers an evaluation of Meitarim, an educational network which promotes pluralistic Jewish education in Israel. Meitarim seeks to address the increasing social divide between secular and religious Jews, with Israeli schools serving as a major source of the problem.

Nahal Haredi Comes of Age

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion May 17, 2010

Jonathan Rosenblum is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Israeli director of Am Echad.

The issue of the Chareidi community’s failure to share in the burden of army service is poised to explode.

So long as Chareidim were a small percentage of the country, their non-service did not undermine the IDF’s ability to serve as a source of social cohesion.

From NCSY to Nahal Haredi

By Bayla Sheva Brenner May 17, 2010

Bayla Sheva Brenner is senior writer in the OU Communications and Marketing Department.

Josh Tresser, nineteen, of Cleveland, Ohio, had plans to graduate public high school, go off to college in Colorado and snowboard to his heart’s delight. Becoming a Torah-observant Jew and a soldier in the Israeli army was definitely not on his itinerary. As the saying goes, God laughed.

Rav Ronsky Preparing to Step Down

By Yechiel Spira May 23, 2010

In another week IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Avichai Ronsky will step down and return to civilian life, perhaps to his yeshiva.

The next frontier

By Jonah Mandel May 18, 2010

Last November, the Union of Hesder Yeshivot and the military launched a new four-year hesder track composed, all-in-all, of two years of study and two years of service, in what is at once a beckon to draftees seeking meaningful army time, and a means for the IDF to counter its dwindling enlistment figures.

Probing Kashrut Pitfalls in Jerusalem: An Interview with Investigative Journalist Yechiel Spira

By Steve K. Walz May 18, 2010

What are the biggest scandals or problems associated with kashrut you've found in Jerusalem?

The most common, and perhaps the most serious, involve stores advertising themselves as "kosher" or "kosher-mehadrin" while lacking legitimate kosher certification. Even more disturbing is the fact that some members of the religious community continue to patronize these establishments. Some people are unaware and some are unable to navigate thekashrut scene in Hebrew - and that includes tourists and new immigrants alike.

Religion and State in Israel

May 24, 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.