Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
By Yair Altman www.ynetnews.com November 21, 2010
Jerusalem Police on Sunday raided the offices of three ultra-Orthodox non-profit organizations, which operate yeshivas in the capital and nearby towns of Beit Shemesh and Beitar Illit. Officers believe that the organizations embezzled millions from the State.
The haredi institutions are suspected to have produced fake IDs in order to receive monthly stipends from the Education Ministry for alleged yeshiva students.
By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com November 21, 2010
The groups falsely reported occupancy of hundreds of students in the religious schools under their management, when in fact only a few dozen students attend those institutions. Police are inquiring about the funds funneled to the institutions and foresee further arrests.
By Shahar Ilan Opinion www.haaretz.com November 18, 2010
The writer is deputy director for research and information at Hiddush - For Religious Freedom and Equality.
Again and again attempts are made to lull the public with the claim that the changes in the ultra-Orthodox economy are happening on their own and you can't force the situation.
The truth is that the changes in the ultra-Orthodox community began with Benjamin Netanyahu's economic decrees in 2003, when he was finance minister, especially when child allowances were slashed.
These changes are very slow, and the ultra-Orthodox community grows fast. Israel is swiftly following through on senior economists' grim predictions - that the Israeli economy will not be able to bear the weight of the yeshiva world.
By Asaf Shtull-Trauring and Yaniv Kubovich www.haaretz.com November 18, 2010
The atmosphere heated up with the speech by Menachem Gesheid, an ultra-Orthodox journalist and adviser to Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.
...Gesheid was booed when he said that "unless we recognize the importance of the Bible and its Gordian Knot to the nation, we don't have anything to do here among millions of Muslims."
By Asaf Shtull-Trauring www.haaretz.com November 17, 2010
The [student] union's alternative calls for giving stipends to both yeshiva students and college students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds, and for letting them earn up to 150% the minimum wage (about NIS 5,700) until they lose their stipends.
The goal would be to encourage employment, the students say; the current yeshiva stipends discourage their recipients from working.
By Tomer Velmer www.ynetnews.com November 17, 2010
Earlier, Israel's Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar met with haredi and secular students from the Ono Academic College and asked them to maintain restraint.
Rabbi Amar noted that "it is important to deliver constructive criticism, but we must continue to live together as one people in our land, and even if there are disagreements and different opinions – it's imperative that we remain loving and bonded with one another."
By Meirav Arlosoroff http://english.themarker.com November 15, 2010
The National Union of Israeli Students submitted an alternative proposal for the so-called yeshiva bill, which would instate in law income stipends for yeshiva students with families and who don't work.
www.nif.org November 16, 2010
NIF has launched a forum of eight grantees from all streams of Judaism including the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) of the Movement for Progressive (Reform) Judaism, Masorti (Conservative) Movement, and Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah to oppose the Yeshiva Students Law.
The forum has set up a think tank to devise a strategy for coordinating opposition to the new law and has begun activities by establishing a website and on-line petition to raise awareness about the issue. A major conference on the topic will be held at the Hebrew University in the coming weeks.
http://lomdimovdim.org.il November 18, 2010
We, the citizens of the State of Israel, secular and religious, belonging to all streams of Judaism, state in a clear voice that the “Avreichim Law” does not suit the spirit of Judaism – not the Halacha, not the Jewish philosophical tradition and not the Jewish way of life.
By Yaakov Katz www.jpost.com November 21, 2010
In 2006, the number of haredi exemptions, at 45,000, was 9.6% of the draft. In 2010 it climbed to 62,500, or 13%. By 2020, that percentage is expected to increase to 20%.
By Meirav Arlosoroff http://english.themarker.com November 18, 2010
The state will most likely increase funding for the Israel Defense Forces' program to draft ultra-Orthodox and train them.
Eyal Gabai, the director general of the Prime Minister's Office, will recommend increasing the budget by NIS 100 to 150 million a year so as to enlist an additional 3,000 Haredim a year into the IDF
By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com November 17, 2010
The Israel Defense Forces has decided not to increase its quota this year for the number of teens it allows to perform voluntary national service or to study at a pre-military academy for one year before beginning their mandatory military service, citing a decrease in the annual number of recruits.
Referring to the Haredi yeshiva students who refuse to serve in the army, [a principal of a religious pre-military academy] added: "Because of the draft dodging, not everyone can study or volunteer for a year before the army and come in more prepared."
By Yossi Yehoshua www.ynetnews.com November 21, 2010
More and more religious women, some already married, are passing up on national service and choosing to enlist in the IDF.
The IDF has avoided taking official steps to promote the issue in order to prevent confrontations with rabbis in religious high schools.
In a very hush hush manner, without creating any fuss or antagonism, these young women are enlisting in large numbers, becoming pioneers in units which never before included religious women: Air force, artillery and tank corps instructors, IDF command courses and more.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu www.israelnationalnews.com November 21, 2010
Hesder yeshiva students on Sunday enlisted in a new program that puts them on the front lines for two years, instead of 16 months.
By Edmund Sanders www.latimes.com November 19, 2010
Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis initially labeled the Internet as the biggest threat yet to Judaism, likening it to eating pork and calling it "1,000 times worse" than TV. As the technology spread, rabbis softened their stance and by 2005 allowed limited Internet use for work purposes only.
Now, as the Internet permeates most aspects of life, from banking to registering children at school, more Haredi families have no choice but to go online. About one-third admit to having Internet access at home, though the actual figure is believed to be about 50%.
With an outright ban on the Internet no longer feasible, ultra-Orthodox rabbis are realizing that their only option is to create a kosher variety.
By Tova Dadon www.ynetnews.com November 22, 2010
Yet over the past few years, a major demographic change has been felt throughout [Kiryat Gat] as 52,000 residents, one fourth of the city's total are classified as haredim. This change has brought a revolution in the city's construction and land holding plans which is not in line with a majority of the secular residents' outlook.
By Roni Sofer www.ynetnews.com November 21, 2010
Ultra-Orthodox MKs on Sunday complained of receiving threatening letters in envelopes with white powder inside.
"Stop sucking our blood," the letters say. "Pack up your stuff and your shtreimels and go to Brooklyn." The Knesset Officer has launched an investigation into the source of the letters, which were sent to MKs Uri Maklev and Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism.
By Nicole Broder www.jpost.com November 19, 2010
Kramer has used the same running route for 12 years. This was the third time she had been abused by haredim, whether stoning, spitting or verbal slurs, in exactly the same location.
“What I was wearing at the time of the attack is utterly irrelevant,” comments Kramer. “Even if I had been wearing a bikini, I still didn’t deserve to have stones thrown at me. Nobody does.”
By Yoav Zitun www.ynetnews.com November 21, 2010
A call center for whistleblowers has begun operating in recent days in the ultra-Orthodox city in central Israel. The hotline invites residents to report neighbors who rent property to migrants.
By Merav Michaeli www.haaretz.com November 18, 2010
Yaakov Asher is the mayor of Bnei Brak:
"We are a population which safeguards our daughters in particular, protects their modesty, and it could happen that these [foreigners] - and this can happen in other places too, but among this group of people who don't know what will happen tomorrow - there is a fear that it could lead to rape and other kinds of attacks.
Q: Studies show that most rapes are not carried out by strangers, but rather by people close to the victim's family or from their school - even among the ultra-Orthodox.
"No, no, no, excuse me, you are mistaken about this. It is not so."
By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com November 19, 2010
Since declaring his halakhic decision that forbids the rental of apartments to Arabs, Rabbi Eliyahu of Safed is once again in the spotlight, dictating a Torah agenda, as he likes to do from time to time.
...Renting apartments is yesterday's news. It's a minor story, a battle for the image of a small city in the north. The next thing, according to Rabbi Eliyahu, is the battle over the army.
Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com November 18, 2010
The justice minister, the religious services minister and the mayors where these rabbis serve must warn them that they are abusing their positions and even suspend them if necessary. Otherwise, they too will bear responsibility for turning Israeli society into a tool in the hands of religious racist fanatics.
By Larry Derfner www.jpost.com November 19, 2010
By pure coincidence, the main opposing forces in Safed’s latest anti-Arab flare-up are next-door neighbors. One is Eli Zvieli, 89, who became a target of threats and public denunciations after he rented an apartment to three Bedouin college students last month.
The other is Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, who vehemently repeated his decade-old call on Jews to refuse to rent to Arabs. They live in adjoining stone houses in the heart of the Old City and even share a rooftop balcony, divided by a low gate.
By Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg Opinion www.haaretz.com November 19, 2010
Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg is a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, and rabbi of the community of Har Adar.
Calls issued by rabbis not to rent apartments to Arabs, including such an appeal delivered recently by the chief rabbi of Safed, belie Israel's definition as a Jewish state. They contradict the state's Jewish character no less (and, perhaps, more) than they undermine its definition as democratic.
By Jack Khoury www.haaretz.com November 18, 2010
Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman asked Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on Wednesday to begin the process of immediate suspension of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu from his post as municipal rabbi of Safed.
By Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com November 18, 2010
The Conservative Movement has asked State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to launch an investigation into a Tel Aviv rabbinic court judge who signed a letter calling on people not to rent apartments to foreign workers.
www.jpost.com November 17, 2010
The religious ban on selling or renting land to Arabs has a basis in Israeli law, Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu told Israel Radio on Wednesday.
Eliyahu pointed in particular to the Jewish National Fund law which mandates finding Jewish owners for land sold by non-Jews. The rabbi also stated that his religious decree is supported by the government's policy to "Judaize" the Galilee region.
By Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com November 17, 2010
Unlike civil court judges, the code of ethics for dayanim allows them to speak out on non-legal issues. But it stresses that they must do so "with the due care mandated by their station, while maintaining objectivity and refraining from a polemical tone."
JTA www.jpost.com November 16, 2010
The Anti-Defamation League on Monday called the decrees issued last week in the largely haredi city "biased pronouncements."
The American Jewish Committee also condemned the pronouncements. “This injunction is inspired less by religious belief than by fear and prejudice."
By Elad Benari & Hezki Ezra www.israelnationalnews.com November 17, 2010
Israel’s most revered Zionist rabbis and heads of prestigious yeshivas held an emergency conference on Tuesday regarding the proposal by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to renew the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com November 18, 2010
Dozens of rightist rabbis rallied on Tuesday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intention to accept the US proposal to renew the construction moratorium in the West Bank. The rabbis supported Netanyahu's replacement with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
www.globes.co.il November 15, 2010
Does the answer to the danger of a steep rise in taxation on oil and gas discoveries lie with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef?
...David Weinberg, one of the main people behind the moves, has initiated an appeal to Rabbi Yosef to inform the public of the severe implications in Jewish law of the government's expected action.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com November 15, 2010
Ultra-Orthodox conversion officials clarified Sunday evening that the 7,846 members of the Falash Mura slated to immigrate to Israel from Ethiopia will have to undergo a strict conversion to Judaism. Those who fail to do so, the officials warned, would not be recognized as Jews and will have trouble marrying in Israel.
By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion www.haaretz.com November 15, 2010
Yesterday's cabinet decision to "bring the last of the Falashmura to Israel" gives members of this community grounds to feel insulted.
It is patronizing, even hostile. It demands that activists on behalf of the Falashmura cease their activities and sets a quota beyond which no additional Falashmura will be brought here - as if they were barrels of hazardous waste that had to be eliminated.
By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com November 19, 2010
The prime minister or defense minister issues a proclamation and the Israeli media responds with glowing feature stories. What editor could ask for better pictures: A glorious fighter jet rockets through the clouds and a doe-eyed girl waits for a mother she has not seen for five years, to hold her in her arms. What is there to discuss?
By Uriel Heilman www.jta.org November 16, 2010
The question at the heart of the dispute over the aliyah of the Falash Mura is how many remain in Ethiopia, and therefore whether the aliyah will ever end. Opponents claim the number changes constantly because Ethiopians desperate to escape Africa’s poverty for Israel’s comforts are manipulating the immigration system. Advocates claim the numbers have changed only due to natural growth and to earlier Israeli government mistakes in counting the Ethiopians.
By Benny Ziffer Opinion www.haaretz.com November 19, 2010
Simple, isn't it? You sit in a cabinet meeting, you fidget uncomfortably in your chair a bit and you recite what Mother Teresa taught you to say. Such as: There is a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia. In what way is the Falashmura humanitarian crisis different from those of the other asylum-seekers infiltrating Israel from Africa, who are treated with zero compassion?
By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com November 15, 2010
Over the next year, 200 Falashmura will be brought here every month, and all 8,000 will be brought over within the next four years, the decision stated. After the first 600 immigrants have arrived, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry will leave Ethiopia and transfer management of the transit camps it runs there to the Jewish Agency. NACOEJ is also one of the groups that pledged yesterday to cease its lobbying activity.
Jpost.com Editorial www.jpost.com November 17, 2010
While we applaud the government for fulfilling its role as the ingatherer of exiles and reaching out to poor, lost and forgotten Jewish tribes that want to return home, their return to Zion does not represent the end of their story, but rather a new beginning – one that requires careful, ongoing attention.
http://ejewishphilanthropy.com November 17, 2010
Following the decision of the government on Sunday to give the Jewish Agency responsibility for bringing the remaining Falash Mura to Israel, Natan Sharansky, the organization’s Chairman, called on both the government and all relevant bodies to find solutions so that Ethiopian olim can buy apartments and leave the absorption centers for permanent housing within a reasonable length of time.
By Yechiel Spira www.jerusalemkoshernews.com November 15, 2010
Meretz Party has put forward a bill in Knesset seeking to remove the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s control over kashrut, seeking to grant the authority to issue kashrut certificates to the Knesset.
By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich www.jpost.com November 15, 2010
For the first time in the world, the Health Ministry’s Israel Transplant will “give priority” in the receipt of organs to people who previously signed an ADI card and gave consent to donate organs after their deaths.
[A] growing number of countries already have a policy of presumed consent... In Israel, such a policy is unlikely to be adopted, as it would arouse much opposition, especially among religious groups.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.