Monday, January 17, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - January 17, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

January 17, 2011 (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.

Knesset panel: State has failed to implement Tal Law

By Jonathan Lis January 17, 2011

Lawmakers' report calls for significant expansion of IDF's ultra-Orthodox units.

The state has failed to implement the Tal Law, a 2002 law intended to increase the rate of military service among the ultra-Orthodox, according to a report submitted yesterday to Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima).

'Tal Law fails to get more Haredi recruits'

By Rebecca Anna Stoil January 16, 2011

The Forum for Equality of the Burden:

“The Plesner report is an historic document – for the first time, the Knesset did serious work and arrived at the conclusion that we have been arguing for years – the Tal Law completely failed and it cannot be successful,” responded the organization Sunday.

Report: Tal Law failing; needs legislative changes

By Kobi Nahshoni January 16, 2011

"The political echelon must instruct the IDF to broaden the existing courses for haredi service and provide a budget for them," the report stated.

"A multi-year plan is necessary, emphasizing the military service. Meanwhile, out of concern for the Israeli economy, the haredi integration courses in the IDF should also be developed because they contribute to their integration in the job market."

Sharing the burdens Editorial January 11, 2011

The haredi population is growing, and with it the number of haredi 18-year-olds every year who choose to defer being drafted.

Indeed, the growth of that latter number seems to be outpacing efforts by the IDF and National Service authorities to draw them away from the yeshiva and into service.

Netanyahu is the king of spin

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion January 11, 2011

Netanyahu is pulling the wool over the public's eyes when he speaks of doubling the number of ultra-Orthodox conscripts by 2015.

For he is talking about an increase from the ridiculous number of 2,400 to the equally ridiculous number of 4,800. This is a drop in the bucket given the tens of thousands who will receive wholesale exemptions.

Holding the cards for army conversions

By Rabbi Shaul Farber Opinion December 27, 2010

Rabbi Shaul Farber is the founder of ITIM.

Please overcome the inclination to use the IDF conversion bill as political barter, and find a way to move it forward quickly. In this case, that means passing it on to the Knesset Law Committee as soon as possible.

Israel - poverty amidst plenty

By Moshe Arens Opinion January 11, 2011

What has been missing until now is the participation of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs in the army.

Whereas the ultra-Orthodox community and many Arabs seem to think that Israel is doing them a favor by exempting them from military service and some see in civilian national service a proper substitute, by not serving in the IDF they are actually being deprived of the best education that Israel can provide.

Charedis’ Political Clout a Threat to Israel, Regev Says

By Tom Tugend January 11, 2011

The most serious internal problem facing Israel is the political clout exerted by the Charedim (ultra-Orthodox), which threatens the future unity, economic development and military readiness of the state.

This is the firm conviction of Rabbi Uri Regev, who recently spent a week in Los Angeles to garner support for Hiddush, a year-old organization whose motto calls for “religious freedom and equality in Israel.”

Expelled From Shas, And Preaching Tolerance

By Gary Rosenblatt, Editor and Publisher January 11, 2011

Rabbi Chaim Amsellem has become an unlikely hero to many in the American Jewish establishment who closely follow Israeli life, including a new worldwide group being formed to support his positions.

In an exclusive interview, Rabbi Amsellem explained how he came to speak out against his party, why he thinks his positions have an impact on Jewish life in the diaspora as well as Israel, and what his future plans are, given that he remains a member of Knesset.

Shas MK Rabbi Amsellem: Jewish Law Supports Balancing Torah Study, Work January 7, 2011

Rabbi Chaim Amsellem, an Israeli Knesset member, told a UJA-Federation audience January 6th that his controversial statements that most ultra-Orthodox Haredi men in Israel should work at jobs and participate in national service are based on long-established Jewish tradition and law, and should not be seen as “maverick.”

The renegade: Kicked out of Shas, Rabbi Chaim Amsellem is on his own

By Michael Orbach January 13, 2011

Rabbi Amsellem was on a brief tour of America after he was kicked out of the Sephardic Shas party for an incendiary interview he gave the Israeli daily Maariv. In the interview, Rabbi Absellem was highly critical of his party and its leadership.

Rabbi Amsellem also spoke out against the Israeli rabbinate for making conversions difficult. He also took aim at the proverbial sacred cow of haredi politics: stipends for yeshiva students.

'Gentile sperm leads to barbaric offspring'

By Kobi Nahshoni January 12, 2011

Rabbi Dov Lior, a senior authority on Jewish law in the Religious Zionism movement, asserted recently that a Jewish woman should never get pregnant using sperm donated by a non-Jewish man – even if it is the last option available.

Acceptance of brain-stem death reaffirmed by rabbis

By Jonah Mandel January 12, 2011

In the wake of the recent revival of the debate among Orthodox rabbis over the halachic definition of death and its ramifications for organ donations, nearly a hundred prominent rabbis in North America and Israel had by Tuesday added their names to an online petition reaffirming that “brain stem death is a halachically operational definition of death,” and encouraging “all Jews to sign organ donor cards, in line with their halachic definition of death.”

Click here for Organ Donation Statement

Rabbinic Statement Regarding Organ Donation

January 7, 2011

We, the undersigned Orthodox rabbis and rashei yeshiva affirm the following principles with regard to organ donation and brain stem death:


Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Efrat, Israel

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Petach Tikva, Israel

Rabbi Benny Lau, Jerusalem, Israel

Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun, Israel

Rabbi David Bigman, Ma’ale Gilboa, Israel

Rabbi Yehudah Gilad, Ma’ale Gilboa, Israel

Rabbi Binyamin Walfish, Jerusalem, Israel

Rabbi Dr. Avraham Walfish, Israel

Rabbi Herzl Hefter, Jerusalem, Israel


Pushback From Some Orthodox Rabbis On Brain-Death Ruling

By Stewart Ain January 14, 2011

A panel of Conservative rabbis, faced with two well-founded conflicting positions of Jewish law regarding same-sex commitment ceremonies, ruled in 2006 that both were valid opinions.

Body and soul

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich January 16, 2011

Orthodox rabbis and secular (and even some observant) physicians are often on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to medical and halachic issues.

Regarding halacha as supreme law that must be obeyed, rabbis tend to be on guard when controversial medical solutions are offered for health problems, but they also need and respect doctors because Jewish law regards them as God’s emissaries to heal and save lives.

Fanning the flames

By Lawrence Rifkin January 3, 2011

As a wave of racism sweeps the nation, the political establishment remains deafeningly silent.

Attorney Einat Horowitz, who runs the legal department at the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), a Reform movement advocacy group that has long been at the forefront of the fight for religious pluralism in Israel, is demanding that the government address the matter.

“He [Shmuel Eliyahu] works for a local authority. He’s paid by a local authority,” Horowitz says to The Report. “While he’s not a civil servant per se, he’s employed…by the state and the state has an obligation to ensure that public employees perform their task properly.”

New ‘rabbis’ letter’ targets ‘hostile elements’

By Jonah Mandel January 14, 2011

After months of rumors and drafts, the rabbinic statement initiated by Rabbi Haim Druckman, one of the most prominent national religious leaders, modifying Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu’s prohibition to rent or sell homes to non-Jews by instead calling to act against “hostile elements,” surfaced on Thursday.

To Remain a 'Light,' Israel Must Be a Home for All Peoples

By Rabbi Andrew M. Sacks Opinion January 13, 2011

How could these rabbis so deeply misunderstand Jewish tradition and bring about a Hillul Hashem (a desecration of God's name) -- a violation of a biblical command in and of itself, which desecrates God's name in the eyes of the world.

This is not Judaism

By Yair Lapid Opinion January 15, 2011

The letters of the rabbis and their wives should not have been published simply because they are an insult – a grave, blunt, and needless public insult hurled at people most of whom had done nothing wrong.

These letters were also an insult to anyone who thinks that Judaism represents more beautiful, nobler values than xenophobia.

Don't touch our women

By Attorney Batya Kahana-Dror Opinion January 4, 2011

Attorney Batya Kahana-Dror is director general of Mavoi Satum.

From time immemorial, patriarchal societies, which usually excel at the oppression of women, have emphasized the need to “defend” their wives and daughters

...In the State of Israel, which has embraced laws of marriage and divorce that cruelly discriminate against women, we should not be surprised that xenophobia, racism, chauvinism and the objectification of women have all come together in a vile combination.

Haredi schools ordered to solve displacement of Sephardim

By Jonah Mandel January 13, 2011

Knesset Education Committee Chairman Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) on Tuesday gave cities in which haredi high school girls are not enrolled anywhere one month to change that situation or to provide a very good explanation for it, after a lengthy hearing on the situation of Sephardi teens who remain at home because the schools of their choice wouldn’t accept them.

'We must change our view of Haredim'

By Nati Tucker January 17, 2011

Q: Which model do you think is better: Should Haredim work in employment centers outside of their communities, or should employment frameworks be set up within Haredi areas?

"I oppose [the latter], because to do that is to maintain the ghettos. If we provide the training they will come to work in ordinary workplaces. Above all, this must be severed from politics. Priority must be given to absorbing Haredi employees, but this process should not be led by politicians."

Black hats and bottom lines

By Nati Toker January 12, 2011

It's hard to say when the ultra-Orthodox became cut off from Israeli society, but it's clear the two groups have grown too far apart.

For decades, Haredi leaders drew a hard line of separation from the rest of Israeli society: No general education, no army service, no jobs outside the ultra-Orthodox community, and no exposure to secular means of communications.

Forget Iran, Israel's biggest enemy is itself

By Guy Grimland January 14, 2011

"With the Haredim, it's more complex. All over the world, the Haredim work. In England, in the U.S., and in other countries, there's no such thing as Haredim not participating in the job market.

I don't know how this link developed in Israel. We have to create a situation in which more Haredim participate in the job market."

'Most Israeli Jews in favor of haredim living separately'

By Jonah Mandel January 11, 2011

Of the haredim asked, 61 percent agreed or agreed to a certain degree. Some 32% of the haredim disagreed with the notion that they should live separately from those who were not ultra-Orthodox.

Over half of those defined as religious disagreed, while most of those defined as traditional (57%) were in favor of such a statement. Interestingly, among those defining themselves secular, 45% disagreed with the proposal of geographic separation from haredim, while a slightly smaller portion – 44% – were in favor.

Mission for Israel 2028: Stay ahead of the game

By Guy Rolnik and Eran Azran January 12, 2011

What is the third impediment?

"Low workforce participation, particularly by ultra-Orthodox men we need to integrate into the labor market.

The key issue is that 27% of all children are from this sector and aren't being prepared for the modern world. Israel's GDP will be threatened if these children can't enter the workforce in a few years.

There is talk about teaching the core curriculum at Haredi schools, but the results won't come for many years. Therefore two things must happen - integrating Haredi men into the workforce and teaching core subjects."

Mission for the future: Get more Israelis to work

By Guy Rolnik and Eran Azran January 12, 2011

Israel's leaders bask in our low unemployment rate (6.6% in October), which reflects a speedy recovery from the world financial crisis still plaguing the United States and Europe.

But that statistic obscures serious problems in the labor market here, including a low workforce participation rate for Israeli Arabs (especially women) and ultra-Orthodox Jews (especially men).

Take that, MIRS: Cellcom targets Haredim

By Amitai Ziv January 11, 2011

Cellcom has launched a special deal for the ultra-Orthodox sector, designed to poach from rival MIRS. Cellcom is offering a package for NIS 39.90 a month that gives the client 2,000 minutes worth of calls each month to fixed-line and "kosher" cellular destinations.

Moreover, if a Haredi client moves from MIRS to Cellcom, he gets a refund, and thus winds up paying only NIS 9.90 a month. MIRS, outraged, claims the pricing is predatory. Cellcom claims MIRS is talking nonsense.

In rise of ultra-Orthodox, challenges for Israel

By Matti Friedman, Associated Press January 15, 2011

Dramatic changes may be coming in Israel: Demographers now estimate about a third of last year's Jewish babies were born into the ultra-Orthodox community, an insular and devout minority that has long been at loggerheads with the rest of the increasingly modern and prosperous country.

"We are not yet seeing the full strength of the process of ultra-Orthodox growth," the demographers wrote — this "will be felt when the young generation reaches the age of military service and work." The demographers warned that the economy would not be able to support a bigger Haredi population.

Rabbi: Sins led to woman's murder

By Ronen Medzini January 12, 2011

A Jerusalem rabbi raised the ire of funeral goers Wednesday after charging that the deceased was murdered because of the many sinners who live in her neighborhood.

Finance Minister Steinitz seeks to block mortgage subsidies to periphery January 13, 2011

Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz is trying to stymie Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias's plans to subsidize mortgages in the periphery. The ministerial legislative committee recently approved the measure. Steinitz will appeal the bill at next Sunday's cabinet meeting.

Shas Housing Minister Atias seeks to launch mortgage subsidy pilot

By Zvi Zrahiya January 16, 2011

Housing Minister Ariel Atias wants to launch a pilot version of the plan to subsidize mortgages for young couples in several locals in the next few months. The plan, which would give couples monthly payments of between NIS 475 to NIS 800 toward mortgages on homes in the country's outskirts, has raised objections from Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

Shas wants gas royalties for emergency services first

By Lilach Weissman January 16, 2011

Former Economic Affairs Committee chairman MK Ophir Akonis (Likud):

"This money must not go to the haredim (ultra-orthodox), for allotments and yeshivas. If that happens, we'll have done nothing. The government must decide not to allow these budgets to merely dissipate into the Treasury and from there to flow to the haredim," he said.

2,100 apartments planned next to Ramat Beit Shemeh Gimmel January 16, 2011

The regional committee for planning and construction for Jerusalem gave, at the beginning October, the initial approval to a major plan for the establishment of two new neighborhoods next to Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel tailored for the Haredi public.

Haredi soldier charged with weapons theft, robbery

By Yair Altman January 16, 2011

Jerusalem Police arrested a 24-year-old yeshiva student and IDF soldier several weeks ago who is being charged with armed robbery using an M16 rifle stolen from an army base.

Would you like a chaser with your psalm?

By Ari Galahar January 11, 2011

The Chabad Hasidism movement keeps reinventing itself in attempts to bring people closer to their Jewish heritage. Introducing: Chabar – a bar combined with a Chabad house in the center of Jerusalem's Nachlaot neighborhood.

Head of Jewish burial service in Haifa shot to death by unknown gunman

By Fadi Eyadat January 11, 2011

The Haifa director of the Ashkenazi Hevra Kadisha, the nonprofit organization in charge of state burial, was shot to death on Sunday near his Haifa home.

Other community members said that Hesse also had conflicts with different contractors in the area regarding his work at Hevra Kadisha.

Haifa: Chevra Kadisha director shot to death

By Ahiya Raved January 16, 2011

Elements in Haifa's religious community said there were bitter debates over the past few years regarding the division of burial plots among the various Chevra Kadisha groups in the city, raising suspicions the murder may be linked to the dispute.

Ethiopians need not apply

By Ido Solomon January 14, 2011

Their employment figures speak for themselves: In 2008, only about 30 percent of Ethiopian men and 46 percent of Ethiopian women were working (compared with 70 percent of men and 80 percent of women in the overall population).

The barriers facing Ethiopians are many and varied. Their starting point is typically lower, since they are less educated, even when compared with other immigrant groups. The percentage of Ethiopians who have completed their matriculation exams, for example, is far below the national average (30 percent compared with 55 percent.

Some 350 Falash Mura to make aliya over next two days

By Gil Shefler January 16, 2011

Some 350 Falash Mura, Ethiopians claiming Jewish ancestry, are expected to make aliya to Israel on Monday and Tuesday in two early morning flights landing at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Ticket-pricing row puts Falashmura airlift on hold

By Zohar Blumenkrantz January 12, 2011

The operation bringing the Falashmura waiting in the Gondar transit camp to Israel has been canceled at the last minute, Haaretz has learned.

The first two flights - one of which was meant to leave yesterday and the other today - will not be take place, after the Ethiopian aviation authority did not allow the chartered Turkish planes to land. A total of 170 immigrants were due to arrive on the planes.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef asks PM to back Eli Yishai

By Kobi Nahshoni January 12, 2011

Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Tuesday protested Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's lack of backing for Eli Yishai in regards to the interior minister's responsibility for the Carmel fire failures.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef calls on Obama to free Pollard January 13, 2011

Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Thursday called on US President Barack Obama to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard who is serving a life sentence in a US prison.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef pushes for Pollard release

By Gil Hoffman January 13, 2011

Shas chairman Eli Yishai relayed a letter to Obama from Yosef in a meeting with American ambassador James Cunningham at Yishai's Tel Aviv office.

Religion and State in Israel

January 17, 2011 (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.