Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - December 5, 2011 (Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

By MK Rabbi Chaim Amsallem Opinon www.jpost.com November 30, 2011
The writer is a Member of Knesset and Chairman of the Am Shalem movement.

The solution to this extremism rests first and foremost with the rabbis, the great men of our generation. It is they who must make their voices heard against these prohibitions, against the new extremist rulings that seem to appear daily. 

A clear statement by the rabbis, based on their great wisdom and knowledge of Torah and Jewish law, could put a stop to this and reverse the trend.

But sadly, I do not think that this will happen.

By Samuel Sokol www.jpost.com November 30, 2011

Beyond the extensive media coverage of the violence perpetrated by a small haredi minority, the real issue for secular and national religious residents of Beit Shemesh is less the violence than what is perceived as an ultra-Orthodox takeover of what was once a diverse and ethnically mixed city.

Rabbi Dov Lipman explains that “to claim anti-religious sentiment in Beit Shemesh is false and inaccurate. The issue isn’t haredim coming here,” he says. 
“It is their sense of being in control here, which has gone through the roof since [Mayor] Moshe Abutbul came into power.”

By Revital Hovel www.haaretz.com December 1, 2011

Plans to transform the lower Galilee city of Harish into a burgeoning ultra-Orthodox community are moving ahead, even as residents warn the move could create ethnic tension.

Katzir-Harish, in the lower Galilee, now has about 1,200 families, most of whom are secular. They are fighting the plan - which has developed over the past three years - to transform Harish, which has plans for a city of 150,000 people, into a Haredi city.

By Tali Farkash www.ynetnews.com November 29, 2011

Rabbanit Adina Bar Shalom, the daughter of Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has criticized the exclusion of women from the public domain in the ultra-Orthodox sector, which she says "violates Torah."

Speaking Monday at the Women Talking Women economic conference in Tel Aviv, Bar Shalom mentioned the "kosher bus lines", defining the phenomenon as "the exclusion of women from the public domain."

By Elana Sztokman Opinion http://blogs.forward.com November 30, 2011

Adina Bar Shalom is often introduced as a rabbi’s daughter or a rabbi’s wife, but it’s really her own mind that makes her so extraordinary.

…Her increasing willingness to express nonconforming opinions on issues relating to gender, religion and politics makes her a striking role model for Haredi women and for the rest of us, as well. She is intelligent, incisive, insightful, independent-minded and unpredictable.

By Meir Wikler Opinion www.jpost.com November 28, 2011
The writer is a New York based psychotherapist, author and public speaker.

Yad Vashem just doesn’t get it. 

After my fourth visit to the New Wing at the Holocaust memorial since it opened in ’05, I am convinced that the administration simply does not understand why we Haredim are so upset with the museum. 

Despite all the negative coverage Yad Vashem has received in Haredi publications in Israel and the Diaspora, they still don’t get it.

Letters to the Editor www.jpost.com December 1, 2011

Perhaps Wikler’s focus should be on changing attitudes among haredim, and not pressuring Yad Vashem to change. 

The more the haredi community joins with the rest of the nation in mourning and education regarding the Holocaust and all national issues, the more it will have a say regarding their nature.

But to isolate themselves and even mock and vilify national institutions, and then complain about the lack of appreciation for haredim in those institutions, is simply not fair or just.

Beit Shemesh
The writer is a rabbi and director of Anglos for Am Shalem

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com December 5, 2011

Have the "Taliban women" invented a new strict modesty rule? According to testimonies received by Ynet's local portal, Mynet, the radical group of ultra-Orthodox women dressed in cloaks has begun wearing a cloth-covered tube on their heads in order to conceal their human figure.

By Tamar Rotem www.haaretz.com December 2, 2011

Apparently, it took especially extreme cases to make it clear to the rabbis that limits must be set.

They realized for the first time that the phenomenon of women who wear either a shawl, a cape over their clothes, or a long scarf that covers their heads and faces, has also been gaining momentum among extremist circles in Jerusalem, and that it is not a purely religious matter, but a social one they must eradicate.

...So long as the phenomenon remained concentrated in areas far from the Haredi communities in places like Beit Shemesh, it was marked as a symptom of extremism on the ultra-Orthodox margins, among newly religious women, mainly of Mizrahi origin.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com November 29, 2011

After years of intentional disregard, the past few weeks have seen a change in the ultra-Orthodox community's treatment of "Taliban women" – haredi women wearing cloaks for modesty reasons.

The extreme Eda Haredit faction in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood has launched a war on the "veiled women", as they are referred to on the haredi street, and is surprisingly slamming a radical-religious phenomenon from a more moderate position.

By Ilana Curiel www.ynetnews.com December 2, 2011

In his address, Chief Rabbi Metzger lashed out at the "Taliban women" phenomenon in the ultra-Orthodox society. "Allow me to express my grief over the distortion of Jewish mind, the cloak sect, women called 'Taliban' who walk around with cloaks and different covers.

"There have been no rulings on this matter as it has not been known in history. There is no such thing as covering one's face and dressing up. This is distortion of Halacha, unless it stems from lack of knowledge or insanity."

By Jeremy Sharon and Joanna Paraszczuk www.jpost.com December 2, 2011

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office issued an indictment on Thursday against a prominent figure in the extremist ultra-Orthodox Sikrikim (Sicarii) group.

Yosef Meir Kein, 21 – known by his adopted last name, Hazan – was charged with one count of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated assault against a police officer, and rioting.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com November 30, 2011

After 20 months of attacks and a quarter million shekels in damage, a religious bookstore in the ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim neighborhood of Jerusalem decided on Monday to accede to the demands of extremists responsible for the violence.

Under the terms of the compromise, Ohr Hachaim/Manny’s put up a large sign requesting that all customers dress modestly. 

A mashgiach, who checks the store’s inventory to make sure there are no controversial books, will go over the books in the coming week and require that some books be removed from the shelves, though they will not be permitted to remove any English books, said Marlene Samuels, one of the store’s managers.

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com December 4, 2011

"Or Hachaim" owners declined comment, but a source in Mea Shearim said it seemed the bookstore had raised a white flag. "It took quite a long time, but they eventually gave up after many months of battle."

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com December 2, 2011

Jerusalem police have cracked down on violent demonstrations in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim over the past few days, leading to the arrest of nine people accused of disturbing the peace, many of whom are originally American.

By Amira Hass Opinion www.haaretz.com November 30, 2011

The Haredim and Hardalim, as the non-Zionist and Zionist ultra-Orthodox are respectively known, are now cashing in their promissory note from Israeli society.

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com December 5, 2011

Bus service was restored last week to Jerusalem's Mea She'arim after a hiatus of nearly two years, in which there was no public transportation within the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood.

The Egged bus cooperative had halted service due to ongoing sabotage and violence by a group of religious extremists known as the Sicarii; they threw rocks and bottles at passing buses and punctured their tires.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com December 1, 2011

Resumption of the bus service was one of the major goals of Jerusalem police commander Asst.-Ch. Nisso Shaham, who took up his post in the spring and has repeatedly stressed that Mea She’arim residents are not above the law.

Bus service was halted after extremists repeatedly attacked Egged buses in 2010.

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com December 2, 2011

Some NIS 15 million has been allocated to a yeshiva in Yad Binyamin over the past five years by the Education Ministry - although its head preaches against the state, Haaretz has learned.

Rabbi Shmuel Tal, head of the Torat Haim Yeshiva, calls the state an "abomination" and says he has cut himself off from "the secular leadership."

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com December 5, 2011

The inauguration of the Sabbath in Elad has recently become the tensest hour of the week, following a disagreement between the city's Sephardic rabbi and its Ashkenazi rabbi.

The two cannot agree on the exact time for inaugurating the Sabbath. Even the leaders of the Orthodox public, Gedolei Yisrael, were involved against their will, but a solution has not been found.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com December 5, 2011

Owners and managers of businesses located in Rishon Lezion's Kanyon Hazahav ("Golden Mall") say the mall's management is urging them to keep their stores open on Shabbat, violating one of the most important values of Judaism and the social rights of hundreds of workers.

Yaakov Halperin, CEO of the Halperin Optics chain, which operates a store in Kanyon Hazahav, slammed the initiative in a conversation with Ynet.

"It's unthinkable that the mall manager is virtually forcing me to open my store on Shabbat, while implying in his letter that I could be responsible for the mall's failure.”

www.ynetnews.com December 1, 2011

According to Rabbi Eliyahu, there is an Arab attempt "to occupy the country with money" and Israel must not give in.

Asked where an Arab who wants to live in Safed or Akko should go to, he replies: "There are enough villages. Do we have to turn Arab into an Arab city? What for?"

By Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com December 1, 2011

The Givat Shmuel municipality has canceled 24 planned performances by Italy's Medrano Circus later this month, because half of them were to feature a program specially adapted for a religious audience - meaning male performers only.
MayorBrodni: "It's important to me that Givat Shmuel preserve a mix of secular and religious people, side by side," he stressed.

By Renee Ghert-Zand http://blogs.forward.com November 28, 2011

In another sign that the Holy City is also the holier-than-thou one, Jerusalem’s chief rabbinate is going to begin a kashrut certification program for clothing stores.

Rabbi Eliyahu Schlesinger claims that the shatnez problem arises from the fact that so many items are imported from countries like China, Turkey and Egypt. He added that even Israeli manufacturers are not to be trusted.

By Ari Shavit Opinion www.haaretz.com December 1, 2011

Neither the Arab states nor Israel have really separated religion from state. Neither the mosque nor the synagogue have been kept out of politics. So both the Arab identity and the Jewish identity still contain a deep religious component.

This is why when secular Arab nationalism collapses, the response is a return to Allah. When Jewish secular nationalism crumbles, the response is a return to the mighty God of Israel.

By Avirama Golan Opinion www.haaretz.com November 30, 2011

Sorek argues that religious Zionism followed the ultra-Orthodox into mechanical adaptations to Diaspora-style religious law rather than taking the route of modernism on the path to creating the Jewish state.

This utopia, which is based on the eternal Jewish resistance to all law except halakha, views halakha (brought up to date) as the sole foundation for law in the sovereign Jewish state.

By Barak Ravid www.haaretz.com November 29, 2011

Jordan expects Israel to refrain from unilaterally demolishing the Mughrabi Bridge near the Temple Mount, Jordan's King Abdullah II told President Shimon Peres in Amman on Monday.

Peres traveled to the Jordanian capital in secret, as an emissary of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss Israel's plan to demolish the unstable bridge and build a new one in its place.

Jpost.com Editorial www.jpost.com November 28, 2011

This madness must stop. An absurd situation has been created in which some irrational Muslim leaders, intoxicated by their own lies – including the spurious belief that the First and Second Temples were never situated on the Temple Mount – have intimidated Israel into inaction.

Israel must not cave in to the insanity of Muslim extremism. The Mughrabi bridge must be replaced – the sooner the better.

By Akiva Eldar Opinion www.haaretz.com November 29, 2011

As in the wave of anti-democratic legislation, the only person who can get Netanyahu to step down safely from the bridge impasse is Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

The exit pass is hidden in a letter the attorney general's office sent at the end of August to Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser. One part says that if the police or any other agency (like the Shin Bet security service) believes that the municipality is wielding its authority improperly, "we will return and consider this subject."

By Jonathan S. Tobin Opinion www.commentarymagazine.com November 28, 2011

The resentment the Temple Mount project has generated is rooted in a belief that Jews have no right to be in Jerusalem. It has nothing to do with anything Netanyahu or his government might do.

By Tzofia Hirschfeld www.ynetnews.com December 1, 2011

Settlers living on the western hill of the religious community of Har Bracha recently sent a letter to the community secretariat, protesting the housing of Evangelical Christians in their neighborhood.

The Christian volunteers are part of a large group of American volunteers affiliated with Yuval – a pro-Israel Evangelical organization.

The group includes dozens of people, and their stay in Har Bracha was made possible after the community rabbi, Eliezer Melamed, met with them and ruled that they are not missionaries.

By Miriam Kresh http://blogs.forward.com November 29, 2011

Ynet reports that Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Yonah Metzger, enthusiastically endorses importing the pork-flavored goose to Israel.

...Natural breeding takes longer to produce mature geese. So we won’t be seeing the pork-flavored fowl until February of 2012. And when it arrives in Israel, will the ordinary householder be able to afford it? We’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, many kosher chefs and foodies are agog with the possibilities. I eagerly await pork-flavored roast goose in red wine sauce, with rosemary-scented, caramelized apples on the side.

These images are from the photographic retrospective  It Takes a Village: From Gondar to Jerusalem – The Remarkable Journey of Ethiopia’s Jews – documenting the process of forgotten Jews taking the final steps along their journey home.

By Moshe Gilad www.haaretz.com December 5, 2011

The Ministry of Tourism last week launched a new trail that follows Jesus' wanderings in the Lower Galilee, from Mount Precipice near Nazareth to the Capernaum area on the northern bank of Lake Kinneret.

At the dedication ceremony for the Gospel Trail, held in Wadi Hamad near Migdal, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov explained that the trail is designed to expand touring possibilities for Christians, who represent over two-thirds of all incoming tourists - and to offer Israelis a new and unique attraction.

www.jpost.com November 30, 2011

According to the Ministry of Tourism, 2010 was a record year for tourism, with nearly three-and-a-half million visitors arriving in the country. 

Of those, approximately 66 percent were Christians, and of the total number of tourists, 30%, or approximately 1 million, came explicitly for the purposes of a pilgrimage or spiritual journey.

By Greer Fay Cashman www.jpost.com December 5, 2011

There is a strong possibility that Greek Patriarch Theophilos III will try to reconcile leaders and members of the Ukrainian Church that have been split for years. At issue is the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate over the Ukrainian churches.

A schism exists between those who are loyal to the patriarchate in Kiev and those who continue to put their trust in the patriarchate in Moscow.

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.