Monday, August 23, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - August 23, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

August 23, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Police ban anti-exemption protest in Bnei Brak center

By Yoav Zitun August 22, 2010

On Thursday, [the Forum for the Promotion of Equal Share in the Burden] plan on marching in the heart of Bnei Brak, the central Israel city with the highest concentration of haredi residents, wearing IDF uniforms and waving the Israeli flag.

However, their plans might be in jeopardy as police are refusing to authorize the march, which is slated to take place in the city center.

Activists fight Haredi draft decision

By Dan Izenberg August 19, 2010

The activist organization Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, asking the justices to cancel a cabinet decision making it easier for haredi men to avoid compulsory service in the army.

The cabinet decision was also the subject of another petition filed a week earlier by the Movement for Quality Government.

The petitioners charged that the cabinet decision violated the Tal Law, which deals with haredi military service and provides options for those who have studied at least four years in a yeshiva.

68% of Israelis opposed to draft exemption for Haredim August 17, 2010

A poll conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute for the non-profit Hiddush for Religious Freedom and Equality found that 68% of the Jewish public is opposed to the government decision to cancel mandatory military service for yeshiva students, allowing them to perform one year of national service in its stead.

Petition against Haredi exemption

By Aviad Glickman August 18, 2010

According to the petitioners, the decision was discussed by the government along with more than 100 other proposals, including some dealing with increasing supervision on the shipping industry, prescriptions provided by pharmacists and prison systems.

The petitioners claimed that the ministers were not given sufficient information on the decision, relevant considerations were not discussed and the plan was presented as a marginal aspect of the budget discussions, without holding a separate discussion and vote on the matter.

"Only rarely does the government make a decision which is so illegal from so many aspects," Hiddush Director-General Rabbi Uri Regev told Ynet.

Haredim oppose ads on bus display screens for disabled

By Ron Friedman August 19, 2010

A recent decision by the Egged bus company over the purchase of digital informative screens to aid people with disabilities has bus riders in an uproar.

The Jerusalem Post learned on Wednesday that the company had decided to cancel purchase agreements that would see state-of-the-art liquid crystal display (LCD) screens installed in its buses in favor of simpler LED ones.

Suspicions that Egged changed its mind because of haredi threats to boycott the company have some accessibility advocates fuming.

Non-religious kibbutz to have only non-Jews milk on Shabbat

By Amiram Cohen August 20, 2010

On Saturdays and Jewish holidays the cows will be milked by non-Jews, a neighboring Arab family and foreign workers.

The kibbutz's Jewish members will be allowed to lead the cows into the milking parlor, clean their udders and prepare them for milking. But most of the remaining tasks require the use of electricity and so only the non-Jews will be allowed to perform them on the Sabbath.

Beit Shemesh Anglos get their shul, but some say battle with Haredim not over

By Raphael Ahren August 20, 2010

Less than two months after some 200 members of Beit Shemesh's heavily Anglo national-religious community demonstrated in front of city hall against the mayor's alleged favoritism for his Haredi constituency, the Shas politician appears to have retracted the two decisions that provoked the outrage.

While some celebrate his about-face as "success," not everybody believes the power struggle is over.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow Slams Religious-Zionism

By Hillel Fendel August 22, 2010

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, head of the Petah Tikva Yeshivat Hesder:

“We [religious-Zionists] are becoming more and more extremist,” he said.

“We are separating ourselves in all areas of politics, education and Jewish Law. We are not on the State of Israel’s agenda in any issue, except for that of settlement. What a waste! We are a fantastic group of high-quality people, with top personal achievements, communal involvement, and quality youth, of which I am so happy to be a part of – but we are ‘missing the boat.’

In Israeli eyes, he feels, “Shas represents Judaism, while social justice and the ethics of the prophets are invariably represented by the left - but Religious Zionism’s voice is not heard.”

Fundamentalism into the mainstream

By Zvi Bar'el Opinion August 22, 2010

What is new is that these are no longer "hilltop rabbis," "wild weeds" or "fence hoppers" who are turning their backs on the instructions of great rabbinical figures and the law.

They and their supporters are transforming zealous fundamentalism and the shameful "The King's Torah "into the mainstream.

West Bank rabbi detained by police for inciting racism

By Chaim Levinson August 20, 2010

The rabbi of a West Bank settlement was detained yesterday on suspicion of incitement to racism.

Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, from the settlement of Yitzhar, was detained by police and questioned by investigators from the international crimes unit on suspicions of incitement to racism.

Rabbis to convene after police summons

By Jonah Mandel August 18, 2010

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger:

“If a rabbi is requested to give his blessing to a book that is halachic, and does so, he shouldn’t be investigated for it,” he told Israel Radio on Monday. “Israeli professors go abroad and criticize Israel, and the IDF is protected by freedom of speech, so why shouldn’t rabbis have that indemnity?”

However, the Forum of Modern Orthodox Movements, representing liberal national-religious groups such as Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah, the Religious Kibbutz Movement, Kolech and others, said it was “very concerned over the rabbis’ petition and the convention in support of not appearing [for] police questioning over the Torat Hamelech book.”

Yitzhar rabbi freed after arrest for incitement

By Yaakov Lappin August 20, 2010

Police arrested Rabbi Yosef Elizur-Hershkowitz from Yitzhar before dawn on Thursday on suspicion of incitement to racial violence, possession of racist texts, and possession of material that incites to violence.

Hours after Elizur-Hershkowitz’s arrest, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court released him and criticized police for failing to invite him to a local police station for questioning before resorting to an arrest.

Yitzhar rabbi detained by police

By Yaakov Lappin August 19, 2010

Deputy State Attorney Shai Nitzan commented Thursday on the case, criticizing the rabbis refusal to talk to police investigators.

"The fact that a person is a rabbi in Israel does not afford him legal immunity, he is not above the law," stated Nitzan on Army Radio. "Freedom of religion and free inquiry do not permit one to do what they please. If someone incites racial hatred, an investigation will be opened against them. There are things that are always considered red lines."

Settlement rabbi arrested on suspicion of incitement to racism

By Chaim Levinson August 19, 2010

"The rabbi [Lior] asked me to tell you that he does not intend to answer to anybody on his opinion on Jewish law," Lior's lawyer wrote.

"Your harassment of rabbis for their opinions on Jewish law contradicts the state's principles of religious freedom and freedom of expression."

Rally held for rabbis suspected of incitement

By Kobi Nahshoni August 19, 2010

Dozens of rabbis, educators, public figures and right-wing activists attended on Wednesday a support rally for Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, who refused to report for police questioning over their endorsement of the controversial book "Torat Hamelech," which relates a halachic perspective on violence against non-Jews.

Fast Day to Mark 5th Anniversary of Gaza Pullout

By Elad Benari August 16, 2010

As the fifth anniversary of Israel's expulsion and pullout from Gaza approaches, Yesha [Judea and Samaria] Council’s rabbis are calling on the general public to participate in a day of fasting and prayer to mark this day.

Rabbi Shilo also addressed the position of Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who in a recently published article said that there is no place for such a fast day. Rabbi Metzger explained his position by saying that there is no authority that can establish a fast on all of Israel.

Promoting Liberal Orthodoxy - Yonatan Benarroch of Ne'emanei Torah V'Avoda August 17, 2010

As a youth in the religious Zionist B’nei Akiva movement, Yonatan Benarroch felt uncomfortable with the increasing extremism of Israel’s religious community.

Yonatan’s consternation at the growing intolerance in his Orthodox community, particularly after Yitzhak Rabin’s murder, intensified his commitment to reviving the liberal Orthodox movement. Today, he is the chair of Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avoda (NTA), a movement that works toward a more open and humane Orthodoxy.

Remembering Rabbi Amital: 'In Time of Trouble, He Stood Up'

By Maayana Miskin August 20, 2010

On the “shloshim” 30 days after Rabbi Yehuda Amital passed away, he was remembered at an event at the Har Etzion yeshiva.

A number of renowned rabbis and public figures attended the event; present were Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein and Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, heads of the Har Etzion yeshiva, President Shimon Peres, Har Etzion director Moshe Moskowitz and many others.

Housing Ministry to subsidize rent for Torah students August 19, 2010

Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias will finance rent for families whose head is studying Torah, website "Behadrai Haredim". The financing will come from the Ministry of Housing and Construction's budget for families defined as "poor". 137,000 Israeli families fall under this definition.

"Behadrai Haredim" says that Atias has decided to add to the category of eligible people heads of families who study Torah and who have at least three children under the age of 18. The support will also be available for university students, provided that they have at least three children.

Housing Ministry pushing rent support for unemployed university and yeshiva students

By Ranit Nahum-Halevy August 20, 2010

Shas Housing Minister Atias' proposal will expand this group to include more ultra-Orthodox and students who study full-time and do not work. The estimated cost is NIS 10 -15 million a year.

Machinery at Barzilai ER construction site sabotaged

By Shmulik Hadad August 18, 2010

The contractor working on the construction of the fortified emergency room at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon filed a complaint with police on Wednesday claiming machinery at the site was damaged.

Work at the site was halted and Ashkelon Police launched an investigation. Police suspect haredim opposed to construction at the site because of the ancient graves found there were behind the act.

Anonymous vandals sabotage equipment at Ashkelon's Barzilai hospital

By Yanir Yagna August 18, 2010

The building contractor in Ashkelon arrived at the building site on Wednesday morning to find that the engines on four pieces of his machinery were dead. Sugar had been poured into the machineries' gas tank, the contractor reported, rendering them unusable.

The age of rocks vs. the rock of ages

By Ezra Resnick Opinion August 2, 2010

A friend of mine works as an Israel Nature and Parks Authority guide in the Avshalom Stalactites Cave. One of the more amazing facts about stalactites one would hear on the cave tour is how long they take to form: some of the stalactites in this cave have been dated as 300,000 years old.

Not all visitors learn this information, however; my friend says that the de facto policy is not to mention the age of the stalactites to Haredi groups — so as not to offend their religious beliefs about the age of the universe.

Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: No to 3rd generation phones

By Kobi Nahshoni August 18, 2010

Senior rabbis in the haredi-Sephardic public, headed by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, urged yeshiva students to avoid electronic and cellular devices that allow watching movies or surfing the internet.

In notice published on Thursday, the rabbis claimed these were "street debauchedness" that must be rejected in favor of the yeshiva and studying at the seminary.

A Threat From Within - Poverty in the Jewish State

Forward Editorial August 18, 2010

[Dan Ben-David, an economist and executive director of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel] points out that 30 years ago, the rate of non-employment for Haredim was 21%. Now it is more than three times that amount.

Clearly what’s needed is a committed investment in education and social programs to provide the wherewithal for these significant minorities to integrate into the high-tech economy of Israel’s future.

There truly is no time to lose. Ben-David estimates that if present growth rates continue, by 2040, 78% of Israel’s children will be studying in the Haredi or Arab education systems.

Jerusalem Prepares for Pop Idol Clashes for First Night of Selichot

By Anshel Pfeffer August 19, 2010

Major clashes are expected next month in Jerusalem around the broadcast of the A Star is Born finale from the Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem.

The final of Israel's equivalent to Pop Idol is scheduled for Saturday night and strictly Orthodox rabbis object to it for fear that the preparations for the broadcast will take place on Shabbat, and that the heavy traffic expected will block the road for those planning to get to the Western Wall for the first night of selichot (penitential prayers said before the High Holy Days).

Satmar present set of rules against Zionism

By Kobi Nahshoni August 22, 2010

In honor of the 31st anniversary of the death of first leader of the Satmar Hasidism anti-Zionist sect, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, a number of his followers published a pamphlet in his memory containing sixty questions and their answers regarding the rabbi's zealous attitude towards the State of Israel.

The pamphlet is entitled "Ish Milhamot" (Man of Wars).

Legal loophole spells four more years for Chief Rabbinate head

By Chaim Levinson August 18, 2010

Despite a decision in principle to limit the terms of all senior civil servants, the contract of Chief Rabbinate director general Oded Weiner was recently extended for four years, after which he will have spent almost 13 years in the post.

Chief rabbis in rare visit to holy sites in Nablus, Jericho

By Jonah Mandel August 20, 2010

Israel’s Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar conducted an unprecedented visit to Jewish holy sites in Nablus and Jericho on Thursday, ahead of the High Holy Days.

For the first time in 10 years, a high-ranking Israeli delegation came in broad daylight to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus and the ancient Shalom Al Israel synagogue in Jericho.

Chief Rabbis witness renovation of Joseph's Tomb

By Kobi Nahshoni August 20, 2010

Rabbi Rabinowitz began supervising the renovation of the holy site one year ago, following a meeting with the head of the Civil Administration, Yoav Mordechai.

Religion and State in Israel

August 23, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.