Monday, October 3, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - October 3, 2011 (Section 2)

October 3, 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.

United Torah Judaism chairman slams Trajtenberg report

By Jeremy Sharon September 27, 2011

Tel Aviv Demonstration

Photo: The Advocacy Project

MK Yisrael Eichler, chairman of the United Torah Judaism faction in the Knesset, harshly criticized the Trajtenberg Report on Tuesday, particularly its recommendations regarding the integration of haredim into the labor market and education in haredi schools.

The Trajtenberg Committee stated in its report that the Education Ministry needs to ensure that all elementary schools teach core subjects such as mathematics, English, computers and at least one of the traditional sciences.

MK Yisrael Eichler:

“United Torah Judaism maintains and will maintain the independence of the haredi education system, which guarantees the existence of Israel throughout the generations.”

They wanted social justice? They got it

By Meirav Arlosoroff Opinion September 27, 2011

5. The most daring proposal: To require the Haredim to teach core subjects at their schools.

The committee, one must stress, targeted the demand only at primary schools, grades 1 to 6. Even this committee wouldn't dare suggest the same for the yeshivas that are the ultra-Orthodox equivalent of high schools for boys.

Making True Economic Reform: Getting to Work

One of the major distortions in the distribution of the social burden in Israel is the complete absence of ultra-Orthodox men from the workforce. Due to the rapid growth of ultra-Orthodox society, this sector is the fastest growing in Israel.

Therefore, any steps towards a more socially just society sought by the middle class must include measures to ensure the integration of ultra-Orthodox [men and/or women] into Israeli society as well as the economy.

Israel 2021 Conference Confronts Ultra-Orthodox Workplace Integration September 22, 2011

Ultra Orthodox

Photo: Premasager Rose

On September 5 and 6, hundreds of participants assembled at the Israel 2021 conference, sponsored by The Marker newspaper as a forum to discuss Israel’s future regarding a wide range of fields, including integration of the ultra-Orthodox population as one of the seven topics chosen to focus on.

MK Sheetrit proposes bill requiring core curriculum in order to receive gov't funding

By Lahav Harkov October 3, 2011

Meanwhile, MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) proposed a bill requiring Arab and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) schools to teach the Ministry of Education’s core curriculum in order to receive government funding. Sheetrit proposed a similar bill earlier this year, which was voted down.

Sheetrit cited a poll by Hiddush: For Religious Freedom and Equality, which says that 80 percent of Israelis favor requiring haredi pupils to learn core subjects, and 64% say schools that do not teach these topics, which include math, English and civics, should not be funded by the government.

Chief Rabbi Metzger: Excuse religious soldiers from events where women sing

By Anshel Pfeffer and Yair Ettinger September 27, 2011

Fernando Lugo es saludado por Yona Metzger, Gran Rabino Askenazi de Israel

Photo: Fernando Lugo

Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger took the IDF to task for dismissing the four cadets from officer candidate school and suggested that in the future, events where many religious male soldiers will be present should feature only male singers.

If this is impossible, he added, the army should at least bar women from singing at events where a large portion of those present follow a strict interpretation of the prohibition, such as his own, which would require them to leave the event.

Chief Rabbi Metzger: Let troops avoid women's singing

By Kobi Nahshoni September 27, 2011

In order to prevent friction in the future, Metzger suggests, the army must ensure that only men are allowed to sing in events held in the presence of many religious soldiers.

Alternatively, he says, the army should make sure that in places where a large majority of the soldiers are religious, they will be allowed to avoid listening to women singing.

If they are a minority, and the commander decides to invite a female singer or a band, the religious troops should be allowed to be late or leave the event early without interrupting it.

Religion in uniform September 23, 2011

Letters to Editor

Sir, – How could this have been a legitimate order? The attorney general should have demanded that the commander be reprimanded for unnecessary religious coercion.

As Martin Stern pointed out in letter published on the same date (“Sour notes”), it does not involve any military need and is comparable to forcing women to sit at the back of the bus. Both are examples of the intolerant attitude that “my social mores are acceptable but yours are not.” [...]

Kathy Jones, London

Shelly Yachimovich's Election Marks New Era in Israeli Politics

By Elana Sztokman Opinion September 29, 2011

A Livni-led government without religious partners would really signal a new era in Israeli politics. It would also be a welcome change for women, who have the most to lose from Israel’s increasing religious fundamentalism.

After all, religious parties have put pressure to keep women in the back of buses, out of certain army units, off the public stage, off party lists, in separate workplaces and, of course, bodily covered to the hilt.

This is one of the greatest impediments to women’s well-being and human rights in Israel today. Moreover, this threat to women’s human rights represents a significant danger to the future of democracy and civil society in Israel in general.

People of what book?

By Yair Ettinger October 3, 2011

The zealots claim their objections to the store stem first and foremost from the sale of "books of apostasy and heresy."

…There is also a possible connection between the storm surrounding the store and a wider dispute that is taking place a few dozen meters away. It involves the homes of the Batei Warsaw neighborhood. In this controversy, the anti-Zionist zealots are pitted against their arch-enemies, the Gerer Hassidim, who are part of the Haredi mainstream.

Images craved, not graven

By Yair Ettinger September 28, 2011

Western Wall

Photo: Premasager Rose

There is a thriving paparazzi industry in the Haredi world today, starring magazines and websites full of photos of esteemed religious figures at family and other events, and fueled by large sums of money.

The ascendance of the photographic papers and magazines is directly connected to the growing tendency in the Haredi world to become more permissive regarding publication of images and information about rabbis' lives.

In Jerusalem, an old-fashioned medium goes online

By Daniella Cheslow, AP October 2, 2011

For ultra-Orthodox Jews who shun secular newspapers, radio and the Internet, the best way to hear the news has long been by literally reading the writing on the wall.

The insular, strictly religious community still relies on black and white posters pasted up on walls in their neighborhoods to hear the latest rulings from important rabbis on modest dress, upcoming protests and the correct way to vote in elections.

Radio offers 'kosher' traffic reports

By Akiva Novick October 2, 2011

A new initiative launched by an ultra-Orthodox radio station offers listeners "strictly kosher" traffic reports, presented exclusively by men.

According to Kol Barama officials, the station's traffic reports will focus on the ultra-Orthodox communities of Elad, Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit, rather than on places like Herzliya, Haifa or Tel Aviv.

PM's aides visit Chabad rabbi's grave

By Kobi Nahshoni September 26, 2011

Senior members of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations General Assembly held a special prayer Saturday night on the grave of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, at the Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned the Rebbe as he presented the Israeli stand against the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu's messianism could launch attack on Iran

By Sefi Rachlevsky Opinion September 27, 2011

Benjamin Netanyahu promised to tell the truth at the United Nations, and the truth was indeed revealed. The prime minister chose in this speech to quote reverently from his meetings with one person only: the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who viewed himself as the messiah.

Meretz MK slams Yishai on 'early' end to daylight savings

By Lahav Harkov October 2, 2011

MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) accused Interior Minister Eli Yishai of "fooling everyone" with his daylight savings time reform, as Israel turned its clocks back one hour late Saturday night.

"Despite all the committees and the promises, the foolishness continues," Horowitz said. "The law hasn't changed, and daylight savings time ended a month too early."

VIDEO: Pilgrims arrive in Ukraine for Jewish New Year

September 30, 2011

El Al to Hasidim: Don't smoke on plane

By Danny Sadeh September 30, 2011

The El Al rabbi this week issued a leaflet with strict instructions to Hasidic pilgrims flying to Ukraine for the High Holidays, following passengers' inappropriate behavior on the airline's planes in recent years – including smoking, refusing to put on their safety belts and destroying equipment.

Breslov Hassidim wreak havoc at Ben Gurion airport on way to Uman September 27, 2011

Breslov Hassidim on their way to Uman caused damage at Ben Gurion airport, according to a report on Israel Radio Tuesday.

They reportedly smoked in non-smoking areas, littered with their food and drink, and five of them were allegedly caught with forged passports.

Burial of Israeli yeshiva student who drowned in Uman delayed

By Aviel Magnezi October 2, 2011

Ukrainian authorities are delaying the repatriation of the body of 19-year-old Eliyah Eli, who drowned last week in Uman, right before the Tashlich prayer.

Police identify body of Israeli who drowned in Uman

By Gil Shefler October 2, 2011

The Israeli who drowned in Uman, Ukraine, on Rosh Hashana is Eli Eliah, a 19-year-old yeshiva student from Netanya, authorities announced on Sunday.

Eliah drowned last Thursday while taking part in a tashlich ceremony, a traditional Rosh Hashana prayer recited near a body of water, in the river that runs through the town where Rabbi Nachman of Breslov is buried.

Ukrainians protest Jewish pilgrimage

AP and Stav Spivak September 26, 2011

Police have detained about 100 activists of Ukraine's nationalist party on Sunday who protested the annual pilgrimage of Hasidic Jews in southern Ukraine.

About 300 supporters of the nationalist party Svoboda, or Liberty, demanded that Hasidic Jews not be allowed to gather in the town of Uman, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) south of the capital. The protesters at the rally shouted "Ukraine for Ukrainians."

The Breslovers’ Hajj

By Israel Kasnett Opinion September 28, 2011


Photo: Gaby Kaminsky

Years ago, I visited Uman for a few hours on a trip up from Odessa where I was staying for a few weeks. I had long been intrigued about the location to which so many Breslover Hassidim make the journey each year on Rosh Hashana.

Say no to rabbis’ racism

By Avi Yesawich Opinion October 3, 2011

Avi Yesawich is an independent journalist and political commentator on Middle East affairs. He holds degrees from Cornell University and Tel Aviv University, is an IDF combat reservist and is co-founder of

What we are witnessing is a deliberate attempt to use Judaism not only as a religious dogma, but as a powerful and effective political tool utilized in order to maximize the agendas of religious Jews and the ultra-right wing here in the State of Israel.

...Members of the Orthodox establishment maintains a strict interpretation of Jewish law as found in the Torah and Talmud, which they claim doesn’t evolve over time.

Shin Bet urges state to stop funding of West Bank yeshiva

By Chaim Levinson and Amos Harel September 27, 2011

The Shin Bet security service is urging the Education Ministry to immediately halt funding to the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva in the settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus, saying it has received intelligence information that senior rabbis in the yeshiva are encouraging their students to attack Arabs.

'Collective punishment needed in light of W. Bank terror'

By and Ben Hartman September 25, 2011

Kiryat Arba's Chief Rabbi Dov Lior on Sunday called for collective punishment for the "rioters" that he said killed Hillel Palmer, 25, and his one-year-old son Yonatan in the West Bank on Friday.

Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior: Collective punishment against rioters

By Yair Altman September 25, 2011

"We have murderous rioters surrounding us, according to the Torah, there is room for collective punishment and the IDF must carry out the punishment against the rioters. There are no innocents in a war," Rabbi Dov Lior said.

Building a Palestinian-free kingdom

By Chaim Levinson September 28, 2011

Yehuda Etzion, a resident of the settlement Ofra, has a draft master plan for Jerusalem, which he is preparing with a team of Ofra residents and an architectural firm.

The plan centers around the Third Temple: where a ring road will pass, where pilgrims will park, where observation points will be located. The Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem will be demolished. They are not part of the plan.

1.5 million expected to visit Kotel for High Holy Days

Virtual 'Shana Tova' brings Jews together

By Ronen Medzini September 28, 2011

The Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs has decided to take advantage of the new technology in order to bring postcards back into fashion in a new way, aiming to connect between Jews all around the world.

In uphill effort, Muslims seek Israeli converts

By Matti Friedman, AP September 28, 2011

In an unprecedented endeavor, a few Muslim believers are crossing the Holy Land's volatile boundaries of culture, faith and politics to bring Islam to Israel's Jews — hoping, improbably, that some will be willing to renounce their religion for a new one.

The bearded men approach Jews in and around the Old City of Jerusalem and try, in polite and fluent Hebrew, to convert them.

Mamilla: A case of tolerance vs. dignity? JIIS Bulletin #7 - September 2011

Mamilla Muslim cemetary

Photo: Seth Frantzman

The controversy surrounding the construction of the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem has not abated.

As building continues on the Mamilla site that is known to have previously been a large Muslim cemetery, the debate surrounding it has developed into a clash between human dignity (respect for the deceased) and the urban development interest of modern society.

Beyond that, argues Prof. Yitzhak Reiter, it now "reflects a conflict between the needs of the Jewish state and the sensitivities of the Muslim-Arab minority, with its needs for symbols of identity in the local and national landscapes."

See: The Controversy Surrounding the Mamilla Cemetery and the Museum of Tolerance

Rabbis urge religious public to volunteer as organ donors

By Jeremy Sharon September 26, 2011

A new initiative designed to raise the number of people signing up for organ donation cards has been formally approved by Tzohar, the religious- Zionist rabbinical group.

In a meeting last week at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, 40 rabbis from the organization voted to approve a new organ donor card and framework which seeks to reduce any concerns potential religious organ donors may have that their organs will be harvested in a manner in keeping with Jewish law.

Youngest case of ‘tefillin allergy’ reported by IMA journal

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich September 22, 2011

A 14-year-old boy who complained of a chronic rash on his left arm and hand has been diagnosed with a “tefillin rash” – caused by the chemical potassium dichromate, which is used to process the black straps of the phylacteries.

Christians worldwide to pray for Jerusalem

By Michael Freund October 2, 2011

Millions of Christians in 175 countries will join together on Sunday to pray for the well-being of Jerusalem, in what organizers say is “the largest Israel-focused prayer event in history.”

Known as the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, the annual event is the brainchild of Rev. Robert Stearns of New York, who launched it in 2002.

Israel grants residency to Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, a Palestinian September 27, 2011

Israeli authorities have granted a residency permit to Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, Palestinian Suheil Dawani, after months of legal wrangling, the clergyman said in a message to his supporters on Tuesday.

Dawani was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem in 2007, and as a non-Israeli is required by Israeli authorities to obtain a temporary residence permit. This was granted in 2008 and 2009, but he was turned down in 2010.

Yigal Amir to pray with another prisoner

By Aviel Magnezi September 26, 2011

The Petah Tikva District Court has decided Monday to allow Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence for the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to meet with another prisoner three times a week for prayer.

Aside from these meetings, Amir is to remain in solitary confinement at least until next January.

An unholy mess in the Holy City

By Uri Blau and Nir Hasson October 2, 2011

The knowledge that there was a group of pedophiles among them was a tremendous blow to local residents.

In the small neighborhood, which is known for its pluralism and openness, Yiddish-speaking Haredim, American skullcap wearers, Bratslav Hasidim and even secular people live in coexistence and with mutual respect. They all testify that, before the incident, this was an open, trusting neighborhood.

See also: A large disturbance in a small world


Yad Sarah: Halacha says synagogues should be accessible

By Judy Siegel September 25, 2011

Yad Sarah called on the heads of synagogues to make their places of worship accessible to physically disabled people who have difficulty reaching seats so they can participate in prayers.

A shining example: Boys Town Jerusalem, Torah & tech for synergistic education

By Sharon Udasin September 23, 2011

Boys Town Jerusalem combines Torah and technology for synergistic education. Its latest project is 50 square meters of solar panels.

Israeli tycoons on pilgrimage to Bulgaria

By Akiva Novick September 20, 2011

The Bulgarian city of Silistra will turn this week into one of the centers of Israel's economy with the arrival of a large group of tycoons and opinion shapers from the Jewish state.

The guests include businessmen Ilan Ben-Dov, Jacky Ben-Zaken and Rami Levy, as well as American Jewish billionaire Jay Schottenstein.

They will be accompanying Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, 38, of Ashdod, who is known to have a great amount of influence on Israeli celebrities and has even been referred to as "the seculars' Rebbe".

Bnei Brak man accused of molesting minors in mikva

By Joanna Paraszczuk October 2, 2011

According to the indictment, the defendant, who cannot be named, molested the minors as they immersed themselves in a Bnei Brak mikva [ritual bath] and as they showered beforehand.

Four men to be charged with abducting, extorting rabbi

By Joanna Paraszczuk September 27, 2011

The Southern District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that an indictment has been served in the Beersheba District Court against four men accused of abducting and extorting Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi.

See also: Rabbi Ben-Artzi's abductors indicted

Religion and State in Israel

October 3, 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.