Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
By Hila Weisberg http://english.themarker.com December 21, 2011
Six hundred people turned out on Tuesday for an employment fair in Haifa targeting the Haredi community.
It was the second such event of its kind in recent months, as organizers and participants acknowledged that the ultra-Orthodox were increasingly recognizing that they needed to leave their own community in order to earn a decent living.
"The problem is that companies aren't offering to train, but rather are looking for people with degrees or training, and most of Haredi society lacks this," [Yehiel Rosenberg] said.
"The ultra-Orthodox know the salary of an avrekh [a married, male yeshiva student] isn't enough to buy food," he said.
By Kamoun Ben Shimon www.jpost.com December 20, 2011
Poverty, the extraordinary growth of haredi society, and economic changes, including the cutback in National Insurance benefits, have created a new reality for haredi men.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, increasing numbers of yeshiva students are seeking gainful employment. At a recent job fair in Jerusalem, hundreds of haredi men – many times more than the government organizers had anticipated – turned out to inquire about gainful employment.
But the road that leads out of the yeshiva and into the world of work is fraught with difficulties for these men. They must face the extremists in their own community. The transition from welfare benefits to gainful employment is financially challenging, if not impossible.
The training available to them does not often prepare them for the job market. And if, after all this, they do find a job, many feel that they are rejected by the same secular society that demands that they get out and work.
By Maayan Lubell http://uk.reuters.com December 22, 2011
"There are two States of Israel in one," said economist Dan Ben-David, head of the Taub Center for Social Policy Research.
"One is a state of high-tech, universities and medicine at the forefront of human knowledge. And then there are all the rest, who make up a huge and increasing part of Israel and who do not receive the skills or conditions to work in a modern economy."
A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) this month said problems in haredi education were "likely to increase in importance over time" and that Israel must step up pressure on ultra-Orthodox schools.
"The ultra-Orthodox community should be more forcefully encouraged to strengthen the vocational skills of its youth, in part by stronger curriculum requirements for the receipt of state funding," the report said.
By Isi Leibler Opinion www.jpost.com December 21, 2011
Ultra-Orthodox children, like their counterparts in the Diaspora, must receive an education which will enable them to earn a livelihood and not be destined to remain permanently dependent on state welfare.
Their schools should be denied funding unless they include core subjects such as mathematics, science and language in their curricula. Like other citizens, they too must contribute toward citizenship and serve in the army or at least undertake some form of national service.
By MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem Opinion www.israelnationalnews.com December 23, 2011
While a few select and elite scholars must always be designated to focus exclusively on Torah study, the rest of the nation, including Hareidim, must go to fight.
Many may question my suggestion that all Israelis serve based on religious grounds. After all, doesn't the army present religious challenges for the soldiers?
The answer to this question is very straightforward. It must first be stated that IDF officially observes Jewish law from its creation and this policy is part of its Supreme Command Code.
Aside from this, the IDF has made adjustments in recent years which transformed serving into a completely appropriate experience for soldiers of all religious backgrounds.
By Gili Cohen www.haaretz.com December 22, 2011
The heads of nine pre-military programs on Wednesday called on thousands of their graduates in the IDF to stand up against the religious fanaticism in the army.
By Yoav Zitun www.ynetnews.com December 25, 2011
Some 20 Golani Brigade soldiers were asked by a non-military rabbi over the weekend to wear their berets and attend a Torah lesson, Ynet has learned.
The soldiers, who belong to a reconnaissance unit, were not certain whether the lesson was optional or mandatory.
By Anshel Pfeffer www.haaretz.com December 26, 2011
[M]embers of the Chabad movement, Lubavitch Hasidim affiliated with the messianic right, are planning to visit dozens of Israel Defense Forces bases and outposts during the holiday to distribute sufganiyot and Hanukkah menorahs to the soldiers.
Although the army has not authorized these visits, Chabadnikim enter the bases freely, often leaving informational material in the synagogues.
Chabad's website invites supporters to its Hannukah party at the Anatot army base, near Ramallah. The IDF Spokesman's Office said in a response that it had not received a permit request from Chabad and would review any that arrived.
By Hirsh Goodman Opinion www.jpost.com December 22, 2011
The writer is a senior research associate at the Institute for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.
The military induction center in Jerusalem is, with obvious irony, in the middle of an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood.
For generations now, Jerusalem’s teenagers, taking their first step along the path to compulsory military service, have had to wade through an ever-growing mass of haredi teenagers who are almost automatically exempted from doing the same.
By Ahiya Raved www.ynetnews.com December 22, 2011
Unidentified vandals have severely damaged an archeological site near the northern town of Afula on Thursday.
A receptacle containing equipment and antique artifacts was torched in the incident.
By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com December 23, 2011
Want to be the godfather at a newborn's circumcision ceremony? All you have to do is donate $35,000.
An ad published recently in ultra-Orthodox newspaper Hamodia offered the right to become a godfather to the person willing to make a donation to the Committee for the Purity of the Camp.
...In recent years, the committee has been promoting sex segregation on certain bus lines and the creation of separate routes to the Western Wall for men and women, and fighting against the opening of businesses in haredi centers in Jerusalem after midnight.
By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich www.jpost.com December 24, 2011
Dr. Naftali Fish, an American- born clinical psychologist:
The haredi world, he continues, “is having a reaction to the loss of balance after the Holocaust.
With so many haredi Jews lost, they became more separate and extreme so as to grow in numbers and retain members of the community. But insisting that everybody has to dress same way and learn Torah all day goes against the Judaism that existed before World War II.
There is small elite capable of devoting all their time to Torah, but normative behavior is to work in addition to setting aside time to learn Torah,” says the psychologist.
“More moderation is needed. So many communities were destroyed that haredim developed a strong fear of the secular world in the Diaspora and in Israel.”
By Ben Hartman www.jpost.com December 22, 2011
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) dedicated the first state religious educational institution in Jaffa in decades, at a Hanukka ceremony at the Yafeh Nof school on Wednesday evening.
Granak said that about 70 percent of the parents were not religious, but were looking for a place where their children could learn “basic Jewish values” in a non-mixed environment. Twenty-five years ago there were seven state religious schools in Jaffa, but they closed one by one, he said.
By Ben Hartman www.jpost.com December 19, 2011
Yakobovitch was part of a group of eight ZAKA volunteers at the Tel Aviv marina on Monday, finishing a course for the private search and rescue organization’s special-diving unit, which trains to assist as amphibious first responders.
While the volunteer team numbers more than 248 mainly secular divers, according to ZAKA, the eight men who finished the course on Sunday and Monday this week represent what the organization said are the first haredi (ultra-Orthodox) volunteers for the squad.
By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich www.jpost.com December 21, 2011
The Gur Hassid and United Torah Judaism MK, who fiercely opposed the construction project on a lot where ancient bones of pagans were found but who was overridden by the government, said Tuesday he would not attend the ceremony.
...Litzman moved the project because he insisted the ancient graves on the land were those of Jews and had to remain undisturbed.
By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com December 21, 2011
Rabbi Menachem Froman of the settlement of Tekoa is calling for firm action against "price tag" activists, stating that burners of mosques must be deported from Israel.
By Ophir Bar-Zohar www.haaretz.com December 22, 2011
Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke in January 2006 came about because of his role in disengagement from Gaza, according to a campaign to be launched on December 31 by an extreme right-wing religious party, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu.
www.ynetnews.com December 25, 2011
The B’nai B’rith World Center and the Israeli non-profit organization Bridge of Gold will co-sponsor a festive menorah-lighting ceremony at the historic Hurva Synagogue in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City Jewish Quarter.
By Rabbi Dov Lipman Opinion www.jpost.com December 20, 2011
The writer is a rabbi, author and the director of the English Speakers Division of Am Shalem, the new political movement headed by MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem. His website is wwww.rabbilipman.com
The issue dates back to the aftermath of Operation Solomon in 1991 when 14,000 people were airlifted to Israel in a dramatic 48-hour rescue operation. But at the same time, an equal number were left behind to cling to the hope that their dream of making it to their homeland would soon come true.
Year after year passed, controversy after controversy erupted in Israel about the Falash Mura and their precise halachic (Jewish legal) status as Jews because their ancestors converted to Christianity more than 100 years ago.
Mainly, however, the people waited. Fourteen thousand Jews in Gondar and another 1,000 or so in Addis Ababa continue to languish in transit camps.
WHY HAVE they been left behind?
By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com December 20, 2011
Emanuel Hadane, the brother of Israel’s Ethiopian Chief Rabbi Yosef Hadane, has taken up the cause of more than 20,000 Ethiopians of Jewish descent who are not eligible under Israeli government criteria to make aliya.
According to Hadane, who is a trained lawyer, his brother – the rabbi – is supportive of his attempts to try and reverse the government’s position on this issue and allow immigration from Ethiopia to continue until the last of the Falash Mura (Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity more than a century ago) arrive in Israel.
By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com December 16, 2011
Ethiopian aliya is a complicated business, made more complex by a series of declarations and retractions from successive Israeli prime ministers and interior ministers over the past decade.
The situation is even further complicated, say locals, by widespread corruption among those who previously facilitated pre-aliya services here and because of an oral history that has been mishandled or misunderstood from the start.
By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com December 22, 2011
A year after the Prime Minister’s Office began funding security cameras in the Mount of Olives cemetery, vandals desecrating graves are caught more often, and are more easily convicted due to video evidence.
By Zafrir Rinat www.haaretz.com December 26, 2011
A rare clay seal that appears to have been used to authenticate the purity of ritual objects used in the Second Temple has been discovered during excavations near the Western Wall, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Sunday.
www.forward.com December 23, 2011
The Stephen Wise Free Synagogue’s Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is leading an interfaith group of 16 prominent New York religious leaders on a mission to Israel and the West Bank.
The group, which includes prominent Christian and Muslim leaders as well as Jews, will meet seek to “promote peace and understanding” during the high-profile weeklong trip starting January 6.
By Shuki Sadeh http://english.themarker.com December 20, 2011
Among the posh crowd who summer in the Hamptons, on Long Island, is one of Israel's most prominent rabbis, Yoshiyahu Pinto. Pinto heads up Shuva Israel, an international network of charities, yeshivas and other religious institutions.
By Josh Nathan-Kazis http://forward.com December 20, 2011
Pinto is among the most prominent of a new breed of Israeli rabbinic gurus with influence in Israel’s business and political spheres.
A scion of two prominent Moroccan rabbinic lines, his followers include Nochi Dankner, billionaire owner of the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv, and Jacky Ben-Zaken, a prominent real estate investor.
Leading political figures from across the Israeli spectrum — including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, opposition leader Tzipi Livni, former Labor Party leader Amir Peretz and Gideon Ezra, a former minister of internal security — appeared at a recent event hosted by Pinto in Israel.
At the event, which was covered by Israel’s Channel 10, Labor Knesset member Benjamin Ben-Eliezer described how he woke from a coma after Pinto wept at his bedside.
By Barak Ravid www.haaretz.com December 22, 2011
Some two months ago, the Prime Minister's Office received a request to arrange a conference call with some Jewish and Christian leaders.
… But, in the end, the conference call was not held.
By Benjamin Spier www.jpost.com December 22, 2011
The Jerusalem Municipality gave out free Christmas trees last Wednesday by the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, to celebrate the upcoming holiday. However, the holiday spirit of giving quickly gave way to a chaotic dash by local residents to grab as many free trees as possible.
By Daniella Cheslow AP www.salon.com December 21, 2011
The founders of Neve Shaanan, a neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv, planned their streets in the shape of a seven-branched candelabra — a symbol of their Jewish faith.
Ninety years later, the streets are full of Christmas decorations, reflecting a flowering of Christianity in Israel’s economic and cultural capital.
Tens of thousands of Christian foreigners, most of them laborers from the Philippines and African asylum seekers, have poured into the neighborhood in recent years.
www.demotix.com December 22, 2011
www.haaretz.com December 22, 2011
By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com December 25, 2011
David “Dudu” Ohana, who owns the Mania supermarket in the Mahaneh Yehuda open-air market, is the Jerusalem Santa Claus of traditional food and spices, ensuring that at least mealtime can give the foreign workers a connection with homes across the world.
(original AP post from September 2011)
AP www.ynetnews.com December 24, 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.
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
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