Monday, January 24, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - January 24, 2011 (Section 2)

January 24, 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.

Student Union appeals to High Court against yeshiva student stipends

By Asaf Shtull-Trauring January 23, 2011

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director general of the Reform Movement which took part in the petition, said:

"The Israeli government and Ultra-Orthodox politicians are trapping thousands of families in poverty, while causing an actual blow to Israel's economic and social strength," Karev added.

"We hope that the High Court will draw a red line before the continuation of discrimination and will signal to the government and the members of the Ultra-Orthodox parties that this celebration at the public's expense is over," he said.

Students petition continued payment of kollel stipends

By Jonah Mandel January 23, 2011

Five weeks after the government approved the continued payment of stipends to kollel students for a newly limited five years, seven for religious advocacy, public advocacy and student groups filed on Sunday a petition to the High Court of Justice demanding it prevents the Education Ministry from continuing to pay allowances to unemployed kollel students.

The National Union of Israeli Students, Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality, Masorti (Conservative) Movement and Reform Movement spearheaded the petition that claimed that the recent government decision is a “foolish and unacceptable attempt to circumvent the High Court of Justice ruling.”

Haredim to get academic training instead of IDF service

By Jonah Mandel January 20, 2011

The Civilian and National Service Authority is about to offer haredi men a new program aimed at helping them enter the work force by allowing them to focus on vocational training and higher education while performing alternative service to military duty.

The Civilian and National Service Authority is about to offer haredi men a new program aimed at helping them enter the work force by allowing them to focus on vocational training and higher education while performing alternative service to military duty.

Haredim to get job training in national service

By Zvi Zrahiya January 19, 2011

Ultra-Orthodox men who volunteer for national civil service will get professional training to help then integrate into the workforce, under a new plan developed by the National Civil Service Administration.

During the first part of their service, the men will be exposed to a variety of professional fields. Afterward, they will start a course to prepare them for college or a vocational training program in a field of their choice, in keeping with manpower needs.

Activists protest haredi draft dodging

By Yoav Zitun January 18, 2011

Hundreds of demonstrators and activists from 60 non-profit organizations set out Tuesday on a protest journey against the exemptions from military enlistment given to the ultra-Orthodox.

Dozens of haredim who arrived at the induction center to receive their exemptions from military service on the grounds that Torah study is their profession passed by the ceremony that kicked off the march.

Haaretz cartoon by Amos Biderman - January 20, 2011

Dudi Zilbershlag: "Thank G*d, I withstood the temptation"

‘I did not have the right to play with peoples’ lives’

By Yaakov Lappin January 19, 2011

The 25-year-old woman at the center of alleged extortion plot targeting influential haredi publicist Dudi Zilbershlag said Wednesday she was recruited to “expose corruption and sexual harassment” that Zilbershlag was supposedly responsible for at Bikur Cholim and Meir Panim.

Haredi businessman allegedly blackmailed over financial dispute

By Dan Even, Chaim Levinson, Yair Ettinger and Nir Hasson January 19, 2011

Two business rivals allegedly tried to blackmail a prominent Haredi businessman by sending a woman to his hotel room to film him in compromising circumstances. A gag order on the case was lifted yesterday.

Five arrested for allegedly blackmailing haredi journalist

Two employees of Haredi businessman suspected of blackmailing him with call girl

Nablus tahini with kosher seal?

By Kobi Nahshoni January 19, 2011

The Chief Rabbinate's kashrut department said it recently received a request from the Alul Factory in Nablus, which manufactures tahini and halva (sweetmeat of sesame oil and nuts), to receive a kosher seal on their products.

McFalafel arrives in Israel

By Shoshana Chen January 18, 2011

"Today," [McDonald's Israel CEO Omri] Padan added, "we have 36 kosher restaurants and 124 non-kosher ones. In the first quarter of 2011 we plan to open three more kosher restaurants.

In four years from today, Israel will have 200 McDonald's restaurants, 30% of them kosher, and 25 of them with a McCafĂ© corner – mostly the non-kosher ones.

"I'm not anti-religious, I'm against religious coercion," says Padan.
"I'm in favor of separating state and religion, and there are some rabbis who share the same view. We conducted a survey and reached the conclusion that the majority of the secular public, 70%, wants kosher meat, 15% says it doesn't matter, and only 5% want non-kosher meat."

Haredi rabbis boycott grooms with cell phones

By Ari Galahar January 21, 2011

Rabbi Aharon Shteinman, head of the Lithuanian Orthodox yeshivot, has warned his students that he and his educational staff will not attend the wedding of any student caught with a cellular phone inside the yeshiva.

Rabbi's Organ Donation Controversy Resurfaces: Review

By David Lev January 23, 2011

The recent death of a soccer star in Israel has revived focus on a long-standing rabbinical dispute regarding when death occurs – when the heart ceases functioning, or when the part of the brain controlling breathing does-and whether it does.

And as a result of the revived discussion on the issue, attention has focused on a paper issued last year by the Rabbinical Council of America, the largest body of Orthodox rabbis in the United States, which substantially revised its official position on the issue.

Rabbi: Lower marriage age to 15

By Moria Ben-Yosef January 18, 2011

The Lobby for Jewish Values and Director of Jerusalem-based Kol HaNa'ar Rabbi Asher Idan has presented a new initiative to lower the marriage age allowed by law.

In the past few days, Chairman of the Lobby for Jewish Values Ofer Cohen has approached several members of Knesset from religious factions in order to garner support for the new bill.

Editorial calling for death camps for ‘Amalekites’ raises storm among religious

By Yair Ettinger January 23, 2011

A popular leaflet circulated in religious Zionist synagogues recently included an article that discussed death camps for "Amalekites."

"It would be interesting to know whether they will leave concentrating the Amalekites into death camps to others or perhaps decide that wiping out Amalek is no longer relevant," the "Ma'ayanei Hayeshua" leaflet said in an editorial. The "they" in question referred to moderate religious Zionist rabbis.

Think Israel's a lost cause? Ten reasons to think again

By Bradley Burston January 17, 2011

5. Hard right rabbis have lost all credibility.

As the rabbis positions have become more extreme and more public, their prohibitions against compromise and peace talks have lost once-receptive ears in the general public.

6. Turmoil in Shas may make Eli Yishai a lost cause.

The stance of Shas, and its iconoclastic Grand Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has often proven key to the success or failure of peace negotiations. Rabbi Yosef has ruled in the past that peace moves, including territorial compromise, can be viewed as Pikuah Nefesh, Jewish law's paramount and overriding obligation to save human life.

Peres to speak out on racism in Knesset speech

By Greer Fay Cashman January 18, 2011

Peres has already given expression to the shame he felt as a Jew over the letter signed by a number of rabbis endorsing the edict of Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu not to rent or sell property to non-Jews.

Peres was outraged that Eliahu could so disregard the biblical injunction to “rejoice with the stranger in thy midst.”

Communications Ministry orders Cellcom to stop Haredi campaign

By Gad Perez January 20, 2011

The Ministry of Communications has ordered mobile carrier Cellcom Israel Ltd. to halt or change its campaign in the haredi (ultra-orthodox) community.

The order was in response to a complaint by mobile carrier Mirs Communications Ltd., which also notified Cellcom that it would take legal action against it to stop the competing campaign.

Website for Orthodox gays aims to find solutions

By Jonah Mandel January 18, 2011

A new virtual home for Orthodox homosexual men was launched last week in the form of a website seeking to “expose to the rabbis and religious community the difficulties faced by religious homosexuals, to reach common ground and solutions.”

The Kamoha – Orthodox Homosexuals (meaning “like you” in Hebrew) group was founded by “Amit,” a 30-year-old hesder graduate from central Israel, who broke off from Havruta after feeling that the veteran Internet site for religious gays in Israel was compromising on the religious adherence to which it was purportedly committed.

VIDEO: Aish Hatorah World Center, Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem

January 21, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Aish Hatorah World Center Old City Dedication Video

Poll: Religious sector thinks Knesset not Jewish enough January 23, 2011

The sample appeared split down the middle over the question of whether the Knesset is more Jewish or democratic: 39% said that the Knesset is more Jewish than democratic (23% of whom consider it a negative fact, while 16% consider it as positive), compared to 38% who think that it is more democratic than Jewish (21% of whom see it as positive, while 17% see it as negative.)

The remaining 23% claimed that the Knesset is neither Jewish nor democratic.

VIDEO: "Highway No.1" Ronen Izhaki & Ka'et Ensemble

"Kol Atzmotai Tomarna"

Dance Theater School for Men

Shyne wants to work with Israeli artists

AP January 19, 2011

Reformed rapper and ex-convict Shyne said Tuesday he is eager to collaborate with artists ranging from young Israeli musicians to hip hop moguls Kanye West and Jay-Z as he revives his career.

VIDEO: IDF Soldier Raised Christian, Turned Muslim, Now Jewish

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IDF Soldier Raised Christian Turned Muslim Now Jewish

First of its Kind: Electronic Beit Medrash in Or Etzion

By Hillel Fendel January 20, 2011

The new Torah study hall (Beit Medrash) in the Or Etzion Hesder Yeshiva was dedicated this week, replete with a wireless internal network, electric outlets for laptops at every table, and access to a digital database of Halachic and other Jewish texts.

Rabbi Sherlo: Don't probe leftist organizations January 19, 2011

The head of the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva, Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, spoke out recently against the initiative calling for a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the funding sources of leftist organizations in Israel.

He believes that while there is a need to restrict their activities, it should be done through legislative measures – and not by turning politicians into inquisitors.

Religious investors hare for Rami Levy after bid for Digal

By Yoram Gabison January 18, 2011

Levy may have presented his offer as purely a business deal for Digal's main asset, the Nof Zion project in East Jerusalem, but though he denied it, his bid was also a clear political move.

Levy's offer won approval from 76% of bondholders, while the Palestinian's did not receive a single vote.

Tens of thousands pray for Pollard's release January 20, 2011

The prayer session was organized by Bnei Akiva and held at more than 80 of the organization's branches in Israel. The prayer session was attended by members and non-members alike.

Rabbi, plan me a family

By Tzofia Hirschfeld January 23, 2011

Dr. Harel Gordin presented the halachic point of view on religious couples' decision to postpone pregnancies at a Bar-Ilan University convention on 'Fertility, Halacha and Family Health' Sunday.

Burial societies strike in wake of Haifa slaying

By Fadi Eyadat January 18, 2011

All of the country's Jewish burial societies (hevra kadishas) will be on strike until 2 P.M. today to protest Sunday's murder of Benny Hesse, the director general of Haifa's Ashkenazi burial society.

Hevra Kadisha announces strike to protest murder

By Jonah Mandel January 18, 2011

Burial services are state-funded in Israel, but a shortage of burial plots, especially felt in cities, has led in the past 10 years to the solution of burying in multi-storied drawer systems.

Freshly bereaved families are at times outraged to learn from Hevra Kadisha workers that interment in the ground is either not possible, or an option that would cost extra money.

Interview: Rabbi Hananya Shahor, is a dispute over burial space cause for murder?

By Yair Ettinger January 18, 2011

Q: If the problem is a local one, why are burial societies all over the country striking?

Rabbi Hananya Shahor:

"We hold that there is a connection between this murder and the lack of burial land, especially in the large cities.
The government, the Israel Lands Administration, all the relevant agencies are making us to change burial methods, to put as many graves as possible into a small area. This means we have to use multi-tiered niches, which not everyone is willing to accept."

Chabad Shliach Appointed Kiryat Ata Chief Rabbi January 21, 2011

Longtime Shliach of the Israeli city of Kiryat Ata, Rabbi Chaim Shloma Diskin, was appointed yesterday to serve as its chief Rabbi.

The appointment was in part thanks to strenuous activism on the part of Rabbi Shimon Elitov, member of the Chief Rabbinate Council and a Chabad Chosid.

Rabbi Diskin will be joining the ranks of some six other Chabad Rabbis serving in their cities' top posts, which include Rabbi Yosef Hecht - Eilat, Rabbi Moshe Havlin - Kiryat Gat, Rabbi Yeshyahu Herzel - Nazareth Illit, Rabbi Yochonan Gurary - Holom, Rabbi Moshe Landau - Bnei Brak and Rabbi Dovud Meir Drukman - Kiryat Mochkin (as well as two deceased rabbis, Rabbi Levi Bestritzky - Tzfas and Rabbi Ben Zion Lipsker - Arad).

VIDEO: Rav Ovadia Yosef on Sheitels

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Religion and State in Israel

January 24, 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.