Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - December 19, 2011 (Section 2)

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

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com December 18, 2011

The Jerusalem Municipality was forced to disqualify the local election for community council in the ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim neighborhood on Tuesday, after extremists stormed into the counting room and destroyed some of the ballots.

…Election organizers in the Bukharim Quarter told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that both of the female candidates had dropped out of the election due to concern over the “lack of modesty” involved in campaigning.

They called on the municipality to find an alternative way to allow women to take part in the community council leadership.

AP www.washingtonpost.com December 14, 2011

Israel’s Channel 2 TV video showed the men screaming at a few dozen women, demanding that they leave a voting station Wednesday. Then the men pushed them away.

The incident happened soon after Jerusalem’s secular mayor, Nir Barkat, left the station after speaking out against gender discrimination.

By Rabbi Stewart Weiss Opinion www.jpost.com December 9, 2011
The writer is a member of the Ra’anana city council and director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana.

In its most extreme manifestation, halachic terrorism uses violence to force others to bend to its decree and follow its demands. 

But in more subtle scenarios, it employs peer pressure, intimidation and fear of being ostracized to compel the well-meaning observant Jew to forgo independent thought and deed in order to toe “the party line.” 

All in the name of God and Jewish purity, of course.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com December 13, 2011

The Beit Orot elementary girls’ school in Beit Shemesh was again the focus of tension on Monday when a group of about 15 haredi extremists arrived at the school during the afternoon and reportedly shouted insults at the classrooms and attacked an activist photographing the incident.

According to DK, as he was taking photos of the event, two of the extremists attacked him and threw him to the ground, before a second activist intervened and the men fled to the adjacent neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet.

www.ynetnews.com December 14, 2011

[Dov] said that as he was photographing the incident, in which the haredim called the girls "prostitutes" and "shiksas" he was attacked by two of the protestors, who shoved him and then grabbed him and threw him on the ground until he was rescued by a friend.

By Naomi Ragen Opinion www.jpost.com December 16, 2011

As Tamar Rotem wrote in Haaretz, “It is hard to ignore the sense that part of the impetus for the Badatz condemnation of the group... derived from men’s feeling of intimidation by these women.”

...Let’s be clear: the veil wearers are cuckoo. But they didn’t lose their marbles all by themselves. A whole society was pushing them down this path, the same society that now seems so shocked that they have finally gone over the edge.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com December 13, 2011

In addition to standing in the road, the protesters overturned a baby carriage - with a baby in it - in front of the bus.

By Lior Dattel http://english.themarker.com December 13, 2011

Israel needs to "more forcefully" ensure the quality of ultra-Orthodox schools teaching core subjects and that the community's younger members are acquiring vocational skills, the OECD states in its first comprehensive report on Israel, released yesterday.

...Haredi girls did particularly poorly, it notes with concern. Math and science scores fell for Arab students. Likewise, math scores fell for ultra-Orthodox girls; they did not take the science test. Not enough ultra-Orthodox boys took the tests in order to generate reliable statistics, it adds.

By Michael Omer-Man www.jpost.com December 9, 2011
The Safed Academic College opened a track for haredi women in the 2011-2012 academic year.

Dozens of women began their studies last month, mostly in the field of social work. The track was specially designed to allow full participation of religious women by holding classes during specific hours and separating male and female students.

The college is offering full tuition assistance and stipends to those eligible.

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich www.jpost.com December 13, 2011

The haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector is giving up its shame about its physically and disabled children and will no longer sweep those with special needs under the carpet, United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni said Monday.

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com December 13, 2011

Ultra-Orthodox Internet surfers who visited the Behadrei Haredim website one night last week were surprised to discover porn films instead of pictures of rabbis and articles about the haredi sector.

By Roni Shub Opinion www.haaretz.com December 16, 2011

As the editor of an ultra-Orthodox women's newspaper, I engage in exclusion all day long. I exclude socialites who chatter themselves to death; I make gaunt models who encourage eating disorders disappear; I erase paparazzi pictures of celebrities. Or viewed from another angle - there are no pictures of women in my paper.

Nevertheless, in the unsolved equation between a cover picture of the current starlet and a picture of a little boy, I prefer the censored option.

AP www.ynetnews.com December 16, 2011

In new research, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics is predicting that the fast-growing ultra-Orthodox Jewish community will make up nearly a third of the country's population within 50 years.

By Rabbi Marc D. Angel Opinion www.jewishideas.org December 18, 2011

Religious freedom is a problematic concept for those who are sure that they, and only they, have the absolute Truth. Such people tend to be extreme and intolerant.

Since only they have the Truth, they have no patience for those who have other beliefs; indeed, they don’t see the need to grant rights to others. They feel compelled to crush the “opposition”, either by converting them, by coercing them, by oppressing them, or even by murdering them.

For the single-minded bigots, religious freedom exists only to serve their interests and to guarantee their freedoms; but it doesn’t involve a mutual commitment to religious freedom for others.

By Lior Dattel www.haaretz.com December 15, 2011

An estimated 20,000 Haredi teens study at the exempt schools. All other Haredi schools are supposed to teach the core subjects, and theoretically, their budgets depend on it.

But the Education Ministry doesn't have the staff to inspect the schools and make sure they do teach these subjects at a satisfactory level.

The survey found that in fact, only 41% of Haredi high schools teach math, 39% teach English, 30% teach civics and geography, 41% teach Hebrew literature and 43% teach Hebrew grammar.

The requisite conclusion is that while Haredi girls get some form of core education, the boys get almost none because of the legal exemption.

By Gilad Morag www.ynetnews.com December 13, 2011

Parents of soldiers who recently completed an IDF medics' course were shocked to discover that in the invitation to the graduation ceremony they were instructed to arrive in "modest clothing."

...on the back of the invitation, below a list of driving instructions and other details, it was written in bold letters: "(Guests must) arrive in modest clothing."

By Moran Azulay www.ynetnews.com December 14, 2011

"Halachic considerations cannot override the considerations of army commanders," the head of the IDF's Human Resources Directorate said Wednesday, in response to demands to excuse religious soldiers from events in which women sing.

MK Nissim Zeev of Shas proposed that "those who do not wish to hear women singing should not listen," and said that a rabbi he had spoken with suggested earplugs as a solution to the dilemma.

By Yair Lootstein Opinion www.cjnews.com December 15, 2011

It’s clear to me the rabbinate should go back to its core responsibility of providing IDF units with religious services, much like the Military Advocate General’s Corps, in which I served, provides the IDF with legal services.

As for values, leave them to the Education Corps. It runs courses and workshops exposing military personnel to divergent opinions on many of the complex issues faced by soldiers and Israelis in general.

These programs broaden knowledge without towing particular political or religious ideologies, something that can no longer be said about the rabbinate’s course of action.

Letter to the Editor www.haaretz.com December 14, 2011
It seems to me that religious soldiers should not be compelled to listen to women's singing if they feel offended by this....Nonreligious soldiers should be allowed to absent themselves from events at which there is Jewish missionary activity.Dr. Alon Ribak, Haifa

By Rabbi Eric Yoffie Opinion www.jpost.com December 1, 2011

We can see where this is leading. Either women, facing discrimination, will avoid the military, or Israel will end up with two separate armies, one for Orthodox soldiers and one for everyone else.

...What we need now are Orthodox rabbis who understand two things: a) That women will serve in the army on a completely equal basis with men; and, b) That the task of the rabbis is to help religious soldiers to serve in such an army, while remaining loyal both to their tradition and their country.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com December 14, 2011

Israeli religious leaders fear that a civil war is only a matter of time, following Monday night's settler violence in the West Bank.Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger on Tuesday strongly condemned the attack on the Ephraim Brigade commander near the outpost of Ramat Gilad, which left him and his deputy injured.

According to [Former Military Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky], "Although we do not support such activity in any way, the State must work to lower the flames, as this may eventually lead to a brothers' war."

By Itai Trilnick http://english.themarker.com December 19, 2011

National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau backtracked Sunday on the so-called kosher electricity law he promoted, which would have given state rabbinic authorities oversight over electric power production.

The bill had garnered large opposition over the weekend, with an online petition against it gathering over 13,000 signatures, and dozens of protesters rallying outside Landau's house on Friday.

By Amiram Barkat www.globes.co.il December 18, 2011

According to the ministry's statement, Landau decided to withdraw the amendment because of the fear that it would represent a change in the status quo on relations between religion and the state.

By Ophir Bar-Zohar www.haaretz.com December 18, 2011

Landau admitted that he may have been mistaken in the drafting of the proposal. “We intend to check and correct,” the minister said.

By Ran Rimon www.ynetnews.com December 18, 2011

Mickey Gitzin, executive director of Be Free Israel, told Ynet: "It won't be a country with a Rabbinate, but a Rabbinate with a country. If we subject the IEC to the Rabbinate and want to subject the army to the Rabbinate too, why not subject the infrastructure minister and the prime minister to the Rabbinate as well?

"Someone there can't find the brakes and doesn't understand the place of religion within a state. It makes no sense to have the Rabbinate supervise electricity systems. Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

By Guy Katsovich www.globes.co.il December 18, 2011

A Facebook page has been opened calling for a demonstration opposite the Knesset on Wednesday next week (the last day of Hannuka), while an Internet petition has attracted 15,000 signatures in less than two days.

The NGO Yisrael Hofshit (Free Israel) which opposes religious coercion organized a demonstration outside Landau's home in Ra'anana on Friday.

By Shimon Shamir www.haaretz.com December 18, 2011
Allah’s Safe Haven? The Controversy Surrounding the Mamilla Cemetery and the Museum of Tolerance: Contesting Domination over the Symbolic and Physical Landscapes, by Yitzhak Reiter, The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (Hebrew)
The legal and public discussions of the matter give rise to such questions as: How long are graves sacrosanct and who is qualified to remove them from this category?

How much authority does the Muslim community have over its sacred properties and cemetery?
Does the sharia court have judicial autonomy?

By Lahav Harkov www.jpost.com December 13, 2011

Torah Tidbits is a popular English-language newsletter on the weekly Torah portion – but what about “Torah Tibi?”

Chakima, the Knesset’s weekly Torah newsletter, printed a Bible lesson by MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) on Tuesday, the first by a Muslim MK.

Writers for Chakima come from all over the religious spectrum – from haredi to secular – but until this week, the contributing politicians have all been Jewish

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com December 13, 2011

Religious Zionist leaders’ reactions to the Tuesday morning attack on an IDF base in the West Bank were mixed, with some rabbis expressing vehement criticism, and others, while decrying the attack, nevertheless blaming the government for the growing number of such incidents.

“We’re in shock,” said Rabbi Ya’acov Medan, co-head of Yeshivat Har Etzion in the settlement of Alon Shvut, one of the largest religious Zionist yeshivot in the country.

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com December 13, 2011

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky, current head of the Itamar settlement, said on Tuesday that if violence such as the earlier rightist attack on an IDF base in the West Bank continues, he will consider leaving the Itamar settlement.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com December 14, 2011

Three senior religious-Zionist rabbis sent a letter on Tuesday to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, requesting that the IDF change its rules of engagement toward stone throwers participating in riots in the West Bank.

Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron Dov Lior; Chief Rabbi of the Samaria region Rabbi Elyakim Levanin; and Rabbi Eliezer Nahum Rabinovitch, head of the Birkat Moshe yeshiva in Ma’aleh Adumim stated in their letter that according to Jewish law, and all law, it is permitted to protect oneself by all means available.

By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Opinion www.haaretz.com December 19, 2011
The writer is the rabbi of Efrat.

I am telling you that you are making a fundamental mistake. If a country can be sacred, if there is sanctity in earth and stones, then isn't it clear that a fortiori there is sanctity in man - whether Arab or Jew - who was created in God's image?

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com December 14, 2011

The United Synagogue of the UK has denied that any offer was made to Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger to fill the position of UK chief rabbi, which will open up when Rabbi Jonathan Sacks steps down next year.

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com December 13, 2011

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger was offered to replace Lord Jonathan Sacks as the United Kingdom's chief rabbi, Metzger's office confirmed this week.

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com December 16, 2011

Foxman told Haaretz it still holds the Rabbinate has not done enough. Foxman further demanded the Rabbinate "needs to institute an educational program of respect, so that there is a greater understanding in the ultra-Orthodox community of why this conduct is so offensive and inimical to Jewish values."

By Yair Altman www.ynetnews.com December 19, 2011

Thousands of haredim took part in a demonstration in Jerusalem's Shabbat Square Sunday night to protest a decision to establish a state authority which will be responsible for the tomb of Simeon bar Yochai in Mount Meron. Among the protesters were prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbis and leaders.

Earlier this month, the government received a bill by the Tourism Ministry for the establishment of a new governmental authority which will be in charge of Simeon bar Yochai's tomb. Members of the Eda Haredit are opposed to what they describe as a "Zionist takeover" of the holy site.

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