Sunday, July 24, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - July 25, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 25, 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 general causes storm after calling to curtail religiosity in army

By Amos Harel July 20, 2011

The outgoing Human Resources head also recommends reforming the organizational orders for the Education Corps and the Military Rabbinate, arguing that currently, the IDF essentially lets the two bodies, which have conflicting orientations, compete.

Zamir proposes giving the Education Corps responsibility for Jewish consciousness activities, as opposed to the Military Rabbinate.

The latter has drawn complaints from commanders who called its actions "religious-nationalist brainwashing."

IDF Brig-Gen (Res) Elazar Stern: 'Some people think army is yeshiva'

By Aviel Magnezi July 20, 2011

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Ronsky:

"Who are the officers in this corps? These are just guys from Tel Aviv! They can't teach Judaism – where will they get their information from, Wikipedia?" he told Ynet.

Ronsky added that he believes such awesome battles are taking place over the IDF because it is Israel's most influential education system. "This is a battle over the image of Israeli society – no less," he explained.

"The question is whether it will have the image of a Jewish national army – and I'm not referring to religion – which stresses Jewish history, the Bible, and other connections with religion, or whether it will be an army of a 'people's state'."

IDF officers against religious extremism

IDF must fight its growing religious extremism

Haaretz Editorial July 21, 2011

The memorandum of surrender to the rabbis was drafted in 2003 and is entitled "Appropriate Integration."

But contrary to its title, it undermines integration and is inappropriate. The chief of staff's advisor on women's affairs, Brig. Gen. Gila Kalifi-Amir, protested vehemently against the radical religious coercion and discrimination against female soldiers and officers that the document has engendered.

Ex officer slammed for saying IDF becoming too religious

By Yaakov Katz July 21, 2011

Rabbi Uri Regev, from Hiddush, an organization which promotes religious freedom and equality, called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz to establish an external committee to review the military’s relationship with religion.

“It will be unfortunate to involve the Supreme Court in questions relating to religion in the IDF, but there might be no choice if you don’t realize that this is a threat to democracy and freedom of religion in Israel,” Regev wrote in a letter to Barak and Gantz.

With God on their side

Is the IDF becoming an Orthodox army?

By Amos Harel July 22, 2011

According to the IDF journal Ma’arachot last year, the proportion of religiously observant cadets in infantry officers courses leaped from 2.5 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2007.

Zamir provides a complimentary statistic: Between 1994 and 2009, the proportion of graduates of state-religious schools who are serving as majors in combat units rose from 6.9 percent to 20 percent.

...Both documents conclude the IDF went too far in acceding to the rabbis’ requests. And, implicitly, they raise another problem: The more the IDF excludes women from its center of activity, due to exacerbated problems of modesty, the more tension it will generate.

‘Full integration of women into IDF would be good for Israel’s security’

Is the army sacrificing women on the altar of the religious?

By Merav Michaeli July 21, 2011

Based on what Zamir and the advisor on women's affairs said, it appears that the army is sacrificing women on the altar of the religious and the ultra-Orthodox.

"There is a clear, profound and wide-ranging process of what could be called 'religification' of the army. The issue of women plays a significant part in this. It's a symbol, and an extremely central theater of conflict.”

Officers slam author of letter on religious extremism in the IDF

By Amos Harel July 21, 2011

Rabbi Uri Regev, the director of Hiddush, an organization to promote religious freedom and equality, demanded that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz appoint an independent civilian body to examine the relationship between the army and religion.

"Zamir's warnings justify the establishment of a reliable and pluralistic civilian body to reevaluate this relationship, given a situation in which freedom of religion and conscience is under a growing threat," Regev wrote.

IDF commander Nitzan Alon visits Haredi leader

By Kobi Nahshoni July 19, 2011

Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon, who has recently been under attack from right wing elements, met with haredi leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. Alon sought a blessing from the rabbi and addressed the recent infiltration by Jewish worshipers at Joseph's Tomb.

During the meeting the rabbi said: "there is a halachic prohibition to enter the tomb in Nablus without first coordinating the visit with security forces as it constitutes mortal danger to both the worshipers and the IDF soldiers."

Shas demands guidelines for yeshiva inspections

By Jonah Mandel July 22, 2011

A furious Shas is demanding that the Finance Ministry draw up guidelines for their inspections in yeshivot after a reportedly unsavory visit by two inspectors at a Bnei Brack institution.

...The financial support yeshivot receive from the state is determined by the number of students registered at the institution.

The money is then provided by the Education Ministry, but the ongoing supervision over the correlation between the number of students in the books and in the institutions is carried out by an accountant firm sub-contracted by the Finance Ministry's Accountant General.

The past year has seen a tightening of the supervision over the yeshivot, after a few large-scale swindles were exposed.

Police using anti-mobster methods to crack down on Mea She'arim zealots

By Yair Ettinger July 22, 2011

When Yoel Kreus was arrested last week in Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood, his attorney accused police of removing the main organizer of the ultra-Orthodox demonstrations on the pretext of alleged tax offenses.

This week another central wheeler-dealer of the ultra-Orthodox sect Eda Haredit in the neighborhood was arrested on suspicion of tax offenses.

The arrests are indeed part of a new police strategy, led by incoming Jerusalem District Commander Maj. Gen. Niso Shaham, to crack down on the city's ultra-Orthodox zealots, Haaretz has learned.

AUDIO SLIDESHOW: Dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv - “Na Nach”

By Benjamin Preston July 17, 2011

Lieberman calls on Chabad to encourage aliya

By Jonah Mandel July 19, 2011

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the Chabad movement to expand its indefatigable activities worldwide to include “bringing all the Jews from around the world here to Israel.”

Speaking at the Knesset during a Monday event honoring the emissaries of the hassidic movement stationed in the Former Soviet Union, the foreign minister noted the revolution the ubiquitous “shluchim” have brought to a part of the world where, until not too long ago, that kind of Jewish religious expression and activity was forbidden.

Ahead of the event, NGO Hiddush: For Religious Freedom and Equality distributed to all Knesset members a letter “exposing the statements of senior Chabad leaders against the State of Israel and Zionism.”

Hiddush head Rabbi Uri Regev said that “any Zionist MK with national dignity should keep away from saluting this anti-Zionist hassidut.”

PM's plan creates affordable housing, mostly for Haredim

By Zvi Zrahiya, Arik Mirovsky, Meirav Arlosoroff and Jonathan Lis July 20, 2011

The Finance Ministry is believed to strongly oppose the idea, arguing that the vast majority of people who have bought homes through this program are ultra-Orthodox.

...Senior government sources said the proposal by Atias, from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, will not really address the housing shortage. It is primarily designed to shore up Netanyahu's coalition and satisfy his ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism coalition partners, they said.

Haredim support 'tent city' protests, but won't join in

By Jonah Mandel July 19, 2011

A permanent haredi presence at the Tel Aviv housing protest would kill the cause by turning the secular media against it, a United Torah Judaism MK said on Tuesday.

Speaking just a few hours before a planned visit to the site, Yisrael Eichler had no doubt that current public support of the protest, that would benefit all Israelis including the ultra-Orthodox, would flip if haredim became visible in it.

Shas threatens coalition over housing flap

By Gil Hoffman July 20, 2011

Shas chairman Eli Yishai warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that if Shas’s proposal for solving the housing shortage is not adopted, his party would leave the coalition.

Threats to leave the coalition – which were once delivered frequently by the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party – have become increasingly rare for Shas. Yishai’s spokesman said this particular threat should be taken seriously.

J'lem: 250 Haredim protest opening of Karta parking lot

By Melanie Lidman July 23, 2011

In what has become a weekly occurrence, more than 250 ultra-Orthodox demonstrated on Rehov HaNeviim to protest the opening of the Karta parking lot in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday.

Committee for the Sanctity of Shabbat: Seculars ignited Shabbat protests

By Kobi Nahshoni July 19, 2011

Shabbat protests have returned to Jerusalem, but it seems that even the members of the Eda Haredit faction, which organizes them, are at odds over their necessity.

Shmuel Chaim Pappenheim, considered one of the faction's unofficial spokesmen, has slammed the decision to resume the protests against the operation of the Karta parking lot on weekends, claiming that most of the community members are against them.

PHOTO Gallery: Sabbath wars in Jerusalem

By Matanya Tausig July 16, 2011

Click here for PHOTO Gallery

Israel security forces block Ultra-Orthodox Jews from reaching a main street which they planned to block as part of a demonstration against a municipal parking lot that is open on the Jewish Sabbath in Jerusalem.

Poll shows new low in Haredi trust in legal system

By Tomer Zarchin July 20, 2011

People in ultra-Orthodox and settler communities are unlikely to consider the court system in Israel legitimate, according to a new poll.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. The overall Jewish population gave the courts a mark of 3.52, while the settlers gave it a 2.78 and the ultra-Orthodox a 2.24.

By the grace of God, and Mark Zuckerberg

By Nati Tucker July 21, 2011

Not only are the Haredim online, but they've joined the Web 2.0 age and are active on social networking sites. They've also discovered how to make money on Facebook, and they're doing a good deal of business online.

The Haredi encounter with the Internet began with the popular website B'Hadrei Haredim, which touts itself as the biggest Haredi portal in the world. The name is a pun on the phrase "B'hadrei Hadarim," which means "behind closed doors."

The Jewish-Muslim sisterhood of the veil

By Avirama Golan Opinion July 20, 2011

Secular Israelis have a hard time deciphering the religious revolution taking place before their eyes because they are used to quarreling with ultra-Orthodox Jews who represent a stable and conservative form of religiosity.

They are confused by nationalist ultra-Orthodox Jews, also known by their Hebrew acronym Hardal.

New: 'Segregated Facebook' for haredim

By Kobi Nahshoni July 24, 2011

Mandy has 321 male friends. His wife, Chaya Mushka, has 321 girlfriends. How many new couples will they be able to match? Well, none.

All these friends are on FaceGlat – the haredi version of the Facebook social network, in which Mandy and Chaya Mushka are not even allowed to meet.

Yes, the Jewish mind doesn’t rest. Technology keeps presenting new wonders, and there's always someone ready to take the challenge.

This time it's Kfar Chabad resident Yaakov Swisa, 25, who founded a "kosher" social network with complete segregation between men and women and free of any immodest pictures or ads.

Work resumes on removal of 500 fake gravestones in Jerusalem's Mamilla Muslim cemetery

By Melanie Lidman July 21, 2011

After nearly a year, the Israel Lands Authority this month resumed work removing 500 fake tombstones from the Muslim Mamilla Cemetery in downtown Jerusalem, prompting furious condemnation from Muslim groups.

Last August, Jerusalem municipality officials, working in conjunction with the ILA and the Israel Antiquities Authority, removed around 300 counterfeit tombstones, calling their erection “one of the largest acts of deception in recent years.”

Allah’s Safe Haven? The Controversy Surrounding the Mamilla Cemetery and the Museum of Tolerance

By Yitzhak Reiter The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, The JIIS Studies Series no. 409

The construction of the Museum of Tolerance in Mamilla reflects a clash between human dignity (respect for the deceased) and the urban development interests of modern society.

It also reflects a conflict between the needs of the Jewish state and the sensitivities of the Muslim-Arab minority, with its need for symbols of identity in the local and national landscapes.

Golden bell, possibly from Cohanim robe, found in J'lem

By Melanie Lidman July 22, 2011

A golden bell ornament that archaeologists believed belonged to a priest or important leader from the Second Temple Period was found in an ancient drainage channel in ruins next to the Western Wall on Thursday, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced.

The small bell, which has a loop for attaching to clothing or jewelry, was found underneath what is today known as Robinson's arch. The area underneath the arch was the central road of Jerusalem, which lead from the Shiloah Pools in the City of David to the Old City and the Temple Mount.

Officials: New donor cards will reduce organ transplants; blames religious groups

By Dan Even July 22, 2011

Health officials are worried that the Knesset will authorize changes to organ donor cards that would move certain people up the waiting list for transplants without increasing the overall number of transplants. The officials are putting the blame on religious groups.

In the current format, a potential donor may condition a donation on the decision of a clergyman of the family's choice.

'King's Torah' splits Israel's religious and secular Jews

By Yolande Knell July 20, 2011

Eliyahu Gross, 21, travelled with friends to Jerusalem but tells me he had not read the King's Torah.

"I was just demonstrating against the idea of the restriction of the Torah," he says, stressing the need for uninhibited discussions of Judaism's founding legal and ethical religious texts.

"In my point of view, anything that's against the freedom of the Torah is basically against my freedom as a Jew."

...A research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, Yair Sheleg, has long studied religious trends in the country and warns that misunderstanding between different groups is dangerous. He stresses that secular Jews should not view all religious Jews in the same way.

"I found an inner struggle between the liberals and extremists within the religious Zionist sector," he says. "The extremists gain power if they feel that [Israel's] secular majority describes the whole sector as extremists."

"When young people feel they are hated, it makes them more extreme. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Rehovot residents win battle over new synagogue in city

By Gili Cohen July 21, 2011

The High Court of Justice issued an injunction on Tuesday prohibiting the Rehovot municipality from going forward with plans to build a synagogue in the city.

...The fight against the synagogue is not one of secular versus religious, the petitioners stressed.

In fact, the battle is being led by a religiously observant couple, attorney Michal Lichter and her husband Gilad, and supported by dozens of area homeowners as well as the local neighborhood committee.

To some of Israel’s rich and famous, a rabbi serves as adviser, guru and miracle worker

By Matti Friedman AP July 23, 2011

A few evenings every month, some of Israel’s wealthiest and most powerful people can be found in a living room in this seaside city, waiting to have a few minutes with a rabbi they see as an adviser, guru or miracle worker.

...The rise of wonder-rabbis among the wealthy and influential here is linked to a more general rise in religious sentiment in Israel and to New Age trends, said psychologist and sociologist Yoram Bilu of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

A visit and donation to the rabbi offers an experience Bilu termed “instant redemption,” with none of the intellectual or practical demands of the actual religion.

Bilu ties it to the uncertainties of Israeli life: “Israeli businessmen operate in a very stressful, unpredictable environment, and the whole society is in a permanent state of emergency.”

The Loyalties of the Sephardim

By Aryeh Tepper Opinion July 22, 2011

In a recent Haaretz column, Gideon Levy, the radical leftist polemicist, sounded the warning that Israel's religious Zionists—"the knitted skullcaps"—have joined hands with the ultra-Orthodox and the Sephardim to form "a united tribe of zealots."

Why have the ultra-Orthodox and the Sephardim formed this coalition? In Levy's telling, both groups are responding to the history of discrimination they've suffered at the hands of the Zionist Left.

...But Levy is familiar with the ignorance of his target audience outside of Israel, who sadly but predictably hailed his article as "phenomenally provocative."

Levy's article was nothing of the sort, but it did aptly demonstrate that anti-Israel passion blinds otherwise intelligent people, both in Israel and abroad, from seeing what is in right front of their noses—or under other people's skullcaps.

Beck moving J'lem rally over fears of 40,000 Muslims July 19, 2011

Click here for embedded VIDEO

Conservative radio host and former Fox News commentator Glenn Beck announced that he is moving a mass rally planned for August from the Southern Wall of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Religion and State in Israel

July 25, 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.