Sunday, June 26, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - June 27, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

June 27, 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.

IDF Chief of Staff Gantz puts Yizkor debate into general's hands

By Amos Harel June 24, 2011

Haaretz cartoon by Amos Biderman - June 26, 2011

At the cabinet meeting on Sunday, the ministers discussed the cottage cheese issue, until PM Netanyahu said "Look at how many problems there were in the media market, and Minister *Kahlon solved them all. All of you should be Kahlons, too - find solutions!"

[*Minister of Communications/Minister of Welfare and Social Services Moshe Kahlon (Likud)]

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz yesterday appointed Maj. Gen. (res. ) Yishai Be'er head of a team charged with examining the Yizkor prayer said at military memorial ceremonies for Israel's fallen soldiers.

Be'er retired from the IDF more than a year ago. A law professor, he graduated from the Jerusalem high school yeshiva Netiv Meir and is dean of the law faculty at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

Chief of Staff appoints team to decide on wording of commemoration prayer

By Amos Harel June 22, 2011

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz announced last night that he was setting up a team that would reexamine the wording for the yizkor prayer for the fallen in Israel's wars.

...Due to the sensitivity of the issue and the tensions between religious and secular, there is uncertainty at the army whether the IDF should intervene directly in the debate.

Elazar Stern: As a religious IDF officer, which version of Yizkor do you prefer?

By Anshel Pfeffer June 21, 2011

Interview with Maj. Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern

Every time religiosity comes from a place of force, we get burned in the end. I certainly wouldn't fight over this.

Take Tisha B'Av for example. The memorial day for the destruction of the Temple has a religious protocol only, and in practice it doesn't interest secular people. There's a danger that this can happen with us too, perhaps not today, but please God, in the future when there is peace. We know how the Americans treat their Memorial Day. There it's basically a day for shopping.

We want to mobilize the entire nation in the effort to remember the IDF's fallen soldiers and not leave it in the small domain of the religious.

They won't join the army

By Sefi Rachlevsky Opinion June 21, 2011

"May God remember his sons and daughters" is a hair-raising messianic formula. Making it the obligatory wording of the official Yizkor memorial prayer is a true revolution, one that alters the IDF's very essence: It has now become the Israel Divine Offense Forces.

A Yizkor for whom?

By Udi Lebel Opinion June 21, 2011

The writer teaches political science at the Ariel University Center of Samaria.

Unfortunately, in an era when most of the fighters come from another place in society - from a close connection to Jewish tradition, from settlements and yeshivas - the version of Yizkor has been adapted, unpleasant as it is to say, to those for whom the prayer might be said.

Thousands tell IDF to return to original memorial prayer

By Jonah Mandel June 21, 2011

The argument over the wording of the IDF’s memorial prayer has gone up a notch, with over 40,000 people signing an online petition by Monday night calling on Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz to revert to the original version that gives no mention to God.

Click here for Petition (Hebrew) יזכור עם ישראל

Conflict irresolution

By Michael Handelzalts June 24, 2011

It was to be expected that, over the years, mirroring developments in the daily life of the Jewish state and its army, the powers-that-be would introduce more religious content in texts intended to be stately and ceremonial, even if they're secular. This was inherent in the nature of the "Jewish and democratic state" and its language, Hebrew.

C'tee head: Plan to cut IDF service must be implemented/ yeshiva students and religious girls

By Amos Harel June 22, 2011

Ben Bassat would also cancel special programs such as those for yeshiva students, and avoid using soldiers for civilian duties.

...Ben-Bassat says that five years ago only 58 percent of men completed their three-year mandatory service. This percentage has since decreased due to men's exemptions for religious reasons.

Jerusalem mayor's choice of woman deputy could mean clash with Orthodox/Haredi coalition

By Nir Hasson June 22, 2011

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is facing a crisis with his Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) coalition partners because he wants to appoint a female deputy mayor from the secular camp.

At the heart of the storm is Rachel Azaria, a representative of the Wake Up Jerusalem movement, which comprises both secular and religious activists.

To make the situation even more absurd, she herself is a religious, Sabbath-observant Jew. But sources in the municipality said this fact has actually exacerbated Haredi anger.

'Haredi draft OK, if seculars study Torah'

By Tani Goldstein June 21, 2011

Knesset Member Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said Sunday that he is in favor of drafting haredim into the Israel Defense Forces, as long as each student leaving his yeshiva will be replaced by a young secular studying Torah from morning to night.

According to Gafni, the State must recognize haredi education as education for all intents and purposes, and force employers to hire people based on their Torah education.

Naama Shafir Wins the Modesty Battle

By Ashley Baylen June 20, 2011

Shafir believed that her future in professional basketball might be impossible, as she refused to compromise her religious beliefs under any circumstances.

Luckily, FIBA has now permitted Shafir to play if her uniform had “skin-toned elastic sleeves.”

At Tournament, Naama Shafir Wears Observance on Her Sleeves

By Allison Kaplan Sommer June 20, 2011

In her career as a U.S. college player, it hasn’t bothered officials that Shafir wears a T-shirt underneath her sleeveless jersey, covering her shoulders in order to maintain her personal level of modesty.

But playing as a member of the Israeli national team, she was told that international basketball regulations require uniforms to be uniform.

Israeli bus company advocates segregated seats despite court ruling

By Yair Ettinger June 21, 2011

The Egged bus company has allegedly violated a Supreme Court ruling which forbids segregation on public transportation buses on the basis of gender.

In an announcement with the company logo, published in early June in a local Haredi magazine, the arrangements for gender segregation on Egged buses in the city were detailed.

For its part, Egged says that the company logo used in the announcement was copied illegally and that the content of the ad does not reflect its policy.

Where nothing is sacred

By Yair Ettinger June 21, 2011

From attacks with metal clubs to setting fire to a home, another red line has been crossed in the war between rival ultra-Orthodox groups in Jerusalem's Warsaw Homes (Batei Warsaw ) neighborhood.

Eida Haredit zealots hired a lawyer and are preparing to appeal this month to the Israeli courts, which they do not officially recognize, in an attempt to overcome their rivals, members of the community of Gur Hasidim.

Rabbis from the Eida Haredit permitted representatives of the residents to seek the assistance of the Zionist state in an indication of just how desperate this violent battle has become - a battle in which nothing is sacred anymore.

Birth rates sag among religious Jews and Muslims, new official study finds

By Yair Ettinger June 23, 2011

The number of births among ultra-Orthodox women has dropped by 15 percent - from a 7.6 average per woman to 6.5 in the past decade...

The plunge may be associated with the drastic slash in child allowances in 2003. But economic and ideological changes in the ultra-Orthodox world could also have affected the birth rate.

For example, the ultra-Orthodox community has grown considerably and members are now more likely to join the labor force. In addition, growing numbers of women are working, which could lead to lower birth rates.

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv recovering from operation

By Yair Ettinger June 21, 2011

Lithuanian-Orthodox religious leader Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is expected to be released from the hospital this week after undergoing catheterization in a major artery at Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Sunday night. The medical team.

While thousands pray in Israel, Cleveland Clinic doctor operates on influential rabbi

By Teresa Chin, The Plain Dealer June 22, 2011

Cleveland Clinic surgeon Dr. Daniel Clair, chairman of the Clinic's Department of Vascular Surgery, flew nearly 6,000 miles to operate on the rabbi, who is the highest profile leader of the Lithuanian stream of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

Yeshivas getting a good deal on cottage cheese

By Adi Dovrat-Meseritz and Nati Tucker June 24, 2011

Tnuva has offered a number of large institutions, mostly in the ultra-Orthodox world, a really good deal on cottage cheese - as long as they buy large quantities.

It seems that the recent consumer boycott aimed against the high price of cottage cheese has left Tnuva stuck with an oversupply of the white cheese.

Police keep J'lem street open despite Haredi protest

By John Backtane June 27, 2011

Haredi riots aimed at preventing civilian traffic on Rehov Hanevi’im reached a new height on Saturday afternoon, when over a hundred men of various sects tried to scare secular residents into steering clear of the Jerusalem thoroughfare, shouting “Shabbes,” pelting cars with stones and spitting on passersby.

Chief Rabbi Metzger says kaddish for Pollard's father

By Jonah Mandel June 21, 2011

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger will be saying kaddish for Jonathan Pollard's father, a religious duty the imprisoned agent cannot fulfill since that prayer needs a quorum of Jewish men, the rabbi announced on Tuesday.

See also Metzger says kaddish for Pollard

Here comes another Lost Tribe

By Michael Freund June 22, 2011

The writer serves as chairman of Shavei Israel

The resolution will permit all the remaining Bnei Menashe in India to make aliya, and will finally bring an end to their years of waiting and uncertainty.

Both the foreign minister and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver said they were behind the measure.

This means we are just one month away from an historic turning point, one that will restore 7,232 precious souls to the Jewish people.

Gospel choir in tow, a soul sister carries Reb Shlomo's tunes home

By Raphael Ahren June 24, 2011

Fans of famed composer and singer Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach may wonder why his daughter Neshama is touring Israel backed up by a Baptist choir, but the singer says she is in a way following in her father's footsteps.

Holy hip-hop!

By David Brinn June 20, 2011

Don’t be surprised if the next Matisyahu album has a decidedly Israeli bent to it.

The American hassidic reggae rocker recently spent time here recording songs with such eclectic collaborators as the klezmer meets-techno stew of Balkan Beat Box, the African Jewish roots music of Yemen Blues and street hip hop of Shyne, the infamous US rapper who’s relocated to Israel.

Cultural Exchange: Shyne goes from New York to jail to a new life in Israel

By Batsheva Sobelman June 26, 2011

This past year he's become a regular if somewhat unusual sight in Jerusalem's synagogues and predominantly white Hassidic study halls, mixing striped religious robes, side locks and a black hat with Ray Ban shades, flashy watches and activist T-shirts.

Dating website eyes formerly religious

By Itamar Merilos June 25, 2011

A new dating website targeting the formerly religious and "religious-light" sectors has recently been launched.

The currently available religious dating websites are not sufficient, Micha declares.

…Most of the dating websites do not offer the possibility of describing oneself as formerly religious or religious-light and this prevents such people from meeting suitable partners."

Politics get mixed up with archaeology in dispute over Solomon's Silwan wall

By Nir Hasson June 24, 2011

An archaeological site dedicated in Jerusalem this week consists of a section of an ancient wall built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C.E., says the archaeologist who dug up the wall. Other archaeologists, however, disagree with the date and implications and object to what they call the political use of archaeology.

Ophel City Wall site inaugurated June 24, 2011

The Ophel City Wall site – a complex of buildings uncovered along the route of the fortifications from the First Temple period (tenth-sixth centuries BCE), and the display of the earliest written document ever uncovered in Jerusalem – was inaugurated in a festive ceremony Tuesday.

Black Hebrews celebrate Shavuot festival in Dimona

Reuters June 20, 2011

Members of the African Hebrew Israelite community, popularly known as "the Black Hebrews" celebrated the Shavuot Harvest on Sunday in the sleepy southern town of Dimona.

Milking shoppers: Kashrut rules turn moo juice into white gold June 22, 2011

Industry sources say that traditionally the cost of production is higher at an Israeli dairy than at dairies elsewhere in the world. They blame Israeli kashrut, which raises the cost of the technological systems and means that the Israeli dairy operates only five and a half days a week.


By Rebecca Steinfeld June 20, 2011

Rebecca Steinfeld is a doctoral candidate in politics at Oxford, where she is writing her dissertation, War of the Wombs: The History and Politics of Fertility Policies in Israel, 1948-2010.

...there has been significant pressure on Israeli Jewish women to increase their fertility to ensure a Jewish majority through internal population growth, to render their wombs a national womb, or rechem leumi.

...Overall though, cultural and religious values have combined with political and demographic concerns to create an atmosphere in which having children is considered not only a basic individual right, but also a national duty.

War of the Wombs: The History and Politics of Fertility Policies in Israel

Click here for PODCAST

'Torn' between two worlds

By Hannah Brown June 22, 2011

Can a priest be Jewish? That’s one of the many questions raised by the new documentary, Torn, which will be screened tonight at the Jerusalem Cinematheque at 7:30.

The film, which was directed by Ronit Kertsner, tells the compelling and moving story of Jakub Weksler, a Polish-Catholic priest who has moved to Israel and wants to make aliya.

Click here for embedded VIDEO

Jewish graves vandalized at Mount of Olives June 22, 2011

More than a dozen graves at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem were vandalized, the latest in a series of attacks on one of Judaism's oldest cemeteries.

On June 14, some 14 graves were damaged by Arab youths wielding sledgehammers, according to private security guards stationed at the iconic cemetery located in eastern Jerusalem. At least five of the damaged gravesites are those of Americans buried in the cemetery, according to Rabbi Moshe Bezalel Buzokovsky of the Chevra Kadisha.

Underground Crusader city revealed beneath streets of Acre

AP June 22, 2011

Off the track beaten by most Holy Land tourists lies one of the richest archaeological sites in a country full of them: the walled port of Acre, where the busy alleys of an Ottoman-era town cover a uniquely intact Crusader city now being rediscovered.

High Court rules Be'er Sheva mosque to be used as Islamic museum

By Jack Khoury June 23, 2011

The High Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that a large mosque in Be'er Sheva would be used for an Islamic museum, rejecting the city's request that it be turned into a general museum.

Religion and State in Israel

June 27, 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.