Monday, February 14, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - February 14, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

February 14, 2011 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Interior Ministry gets tough on int'l Orthodox conversions

By Jonah Mandel February 11, 2011

Is the Interior Ministry attempting to encourage non-Orthodox conversions for people planning on making aliya?

Probably not, but the ministry’s current conduct appears to make it far easier for Reform and Conservative converts to be recognized for the purpose of immigrating and receiving Israeli citizenship.

“There is nobody speaking on behalf of moderate Orthodoxy. We will have to take this case to court if the Interior Ministry does not back down from its policy. There is nothing in the law that gives the ministry the authority it is exercising here,” Rabbi Seth Farber said.

Who Is A Jew Crisis Moves Into Immigration Sphere

By Michele Chabin February 11, 2011

Thomas Dohlan, who converted to Judaism in an Orthodox Canadian beit din, never anticipated that Israel’s Ministry of the Interior might question his Jewishness and block his bid to make aliyah.

But that’s exactly what’s happening, thanks to what appears to be a new policy that gives Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, and not the Interior Ministry, the ultimate authority to decide which Orthodox converts are kosher enough for immigration purposes.

...The irony, Rabbi Seth Farber said, is that the Rabbinate would not be scrutinizing these converts if they had undergone a non-Orthodox conversion.

Jewish? Rabbinate: Yes. Interior Ministry: No.

Knesset convenes for first-ever Jewish Identity Day

By Jonah Mandel February 9, 2011

One of the more interesting issues taken up as part of Jewish Identity Day was the situation in which the Interior Ministry refuses to grant citizenship to people the Chief Rabbinate has recognized as Jews, because the ministry does not recognize them as such.

Why is Patrilineal Descent Not Catching On in Reform Worldwide?

By Sue Fishkoff February 13, 2011

For three decades now, the American Jewish Reform movement has considered as Jewish the child of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother who is raised as a Jew.

But most Reform Jews in the rest of the world still do not accept “patrilineal descent.”

That makes the debate about “Who is a Jew” not just between the Orthodox-dominated Israeli Rabbinate and American Jewish liberal movements, but also between American Reform Judaism and most of the Diaspora.

Lieberman mulls leaving Netanyahu government if conversion bill fails

By Barak Ravid and Jonathan Lis February 10, 2011

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is considering withdrawing from the government and bringing about a general election unless his party pushes through the military conversion bill that recently passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset.

Lieberman: Coalition may fall over IDF conversion bill February 9, 2011

In a closed party meeting, the foreign minister alluded to the controversial conversion law, saying that "the matter needs to be decided, and this decision could be a costly one." He added that if the law reaches a "second or third reading, the price could be the dismantling of the government."

Conversion, Between Crisis and Dialogue

This paper is a short summary of the comprehensive working paper prepared for the Institute's conference on the future of the Jewish people, which was held October 20-22, 2010 in Jerusalem, and of the discussions held in the working group dealing with the subject of conversion (giyur) during the conference itself.

It contains several of the principles already presented in the background paper, but is mainly an attempt to incorporate into them the additional insights gained during the three discussions facilitated by Prof. Susan Stone, which were lively and, at times, tumultuous, while also including policy recommendations for the continued discourse around this crucial issue.

MKs told more education is needed to combat intermarriage in Israel

By Rebecca Anna Stoil February 11, 2011

Jewish Identity Day in the Knesset on Tuesday was sponsored by the Tzohar organization and by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), and featured a number of committee meetings, all focusing on aspects of Jewish identity in Israel. But not all the lawmakers thought that the subject was appropriate material for a committee hearing.

Expanding the tribe in the home of the brave

By Naamah Kelman and Elan Ezrachi Opinion February 8, 2011

Rabbi Naamah Kelman is the dean of Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem; Dr. Elan Ezrachi is an educational consultant to international Jewish organizations. They are married.

As the great-granddaughter of an Orthodox rabbi, [Gabrielle] Giffords would certainly be entitled to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return but then she would bear the brunt of endless bans and shunning. Her activity in the Reform Jewish community in her home town of Tucson, Arizona, would not be of help to her.

...While Judaism in Israel is become moving further to the margins and concentrating mainly on whom to push out of the fold - the convert, the foreigner, the half-Jew or the new immigrant serving in the Israel Defense Forces - in American Judaism a dynamic of acceptance, embrace and widening circles is developing.

This is another measure of the growing gap between Israeli society and the largest Jewish community in the world.

Israel to delay the deportation of the partner of slain gay youth

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion February 10, 2011

Rabbi Andrew Sacks is the Director of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement's Rabbinical Assembly in Israel

Scores of Jews by choice – of all denominations – have been left in limbo upon seeking to fulfill the Mitzvah of Aliyah. Virtually all converts of color (those coming from Ethiopia are in a different path to citizenship) must jump through hoops, not to mention engage the services of an attorney, if they are to have the slightest hope of obtaining the right to live in Israel granted by the Law of Return.

The Interior Ministry bars non-Jewish students from obtaining a student visa unless they plan to study at a degree granting institution.

Just today I had to tell a person who hopes to complete his conversion in Europe that he may have to turn down his acceptance to study at the Conservative Yeshiva, in Jerusalem. The Interior Ministry will not even allow such a recent convert to come to Israel on a Birthright trip unless it has been a year since the conversion.

Egged faces contempt charges over Haredi newspaper ads

By Ron Friedman February 10, 2011

Following the refusal of haredi newspapers Hamevaser, Hamodia and Yated Ne’eman to publish Egged-sponsored ads informing their readers of the cancellation of the “mehadrin” gender-separation arrangement, the Reform Movement threatened Wednesday to charge both Egged and the newspapers of being in contempt of a High Court decision.

The Israel Religious Action Center’s lawyer Orly Erez- Likhovski told The Jerusalem Post that the ads had featured inHaaretz and Yisrael Hayom, but that the haredi newspapers had flatly refused to run them.

27 rabbis, 7 days, 1 Jewish state: Bay Area rabbis take pluralism to Israel

By Dan Pine February 10, 2011

...But the rabbis hoped their show of inter-denominational unity would impress Israelis unused to such religious pluralism.

The rabbis got a different take from Anat Hoffman, head of the Israel Religious Action Center. She was one of the first to attempt to read from a Torah scroll at the Kotel years ago, and paid a price with arrest and physical violence.

“Here’s a tip,” she said at IRAC headquarters in Jerusalem. “If you want to be a social activist, get a folding table, and make sure it’s a light one because it may end up on your head.”

Orthodox rabbis see the other side of the spectrum

By Dan Pine February 10, 2011

[Rabbi] Dardik said he felt uncomfortable during a meeting with Anat Hoffman, head of the Israel Religious Action Center and the woman behind the Women of the Wall.

That movement seeks to open the Kotel up to women who wish to read from Torah scrolls, just as men may today. “It was a stretch,” he said of his meeting with Hoffman. “I feel I get it better. I also feel I accept it more.”

Institute appeals to High Court over Civil Marriage law

By Aviad Glickman February 10, 2011

The Jerusalem Institute for Justice appealed to the High Court Thursday demanding that the Civil Marriage Law for non-denomination Israelis be changed on the grounds that it discriminates, humiliates and harms the constitutional right to family life and equality.

Making Recalcitrant Husbands Pay — Literally

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen February 11, 2011

“This is the first time that an appellate-level court has confirmed a decision of Israeli Family Courts in which Jewish women who suffered from ‘get-abuse,’ trapped in marriages due to the husband’s refusal to give them a Jewish divorce (a “get”), were awarded tort damages as a result of their suffering,” said Susan Weiss, the Center’s founder and executive director, in a press release.

“It is also our hope that this case will serve as an important precedent for women all over the world who take the position that religious laws cannot be exploited to abuse them, or used as an excuse to infringe on their basic rights to autonomy and freedom.”

Renegade Jews in Israel

By David Brinn Opinion February 13, 2011

...And we heard through the grapevine that the chief rabbi was planning on paying a surprise visit to our Shabbat morning service.

We weren’t sure whether he was going to try and disrupt it, or attempt to speak to us about the ills of men and women sitting and praying together.

We were quite sure he wasn’t going to sit down among us and put his arm around the woman next to him and sing ‘Adon Olam.’

Secular rabbis to the rescue?

By Brian Blum February 9, 2011

Secular rabbis? Isn’t that an oxymoron? No, says Tmura, the Israeli arm of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, the rabbinic and leadership school of a small Jewish movement of about 30,000 members worldwide that’s mostly flown under the radar.

...The organization has graduated some 23 rabbis in the last three years and has a sister organization called Tkasim (“ceremonies”) that helps non-religious Israelis created humanistic life cycle events – weddings, funerals and bar and bat mitzvah’s – along with Shabbat and holiday celebrations.

Prosecutor: Indict Rabbi Elon for sexual assault

By Ofra Edelman February 11, 2011

The Jerusalem prosecutor's office is recommending that Rabbi Mordechai Elon be tried on allegations that he engaged in sexual offenses involving two minors between 2003 and 2006.

However, Elon will have a chance to defend himself at a hearing where he will be shown the evidence against him for the first time.

Rabbi Moti Elon called to hearing on sex crimes

By Ron Friedman February 10, 2011

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office has called Rabbi Mordechai Elon in for a hearing, following which it will be decided whether to indict him on charges of sexual offensesagainst two underage plaintiffs.

Rabbi Moti Elon to be charged with sex crimes February 10, 2011

Before filing charges, Elon will be given an opportunity to argue why he should not be charged.

The decision was authorized by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein with the recommendation of the state prosecutor.

CEO of IKEA Israel: Shabbat Protected Us February 7, 2011

“The fact that we are a company that observes the Sabbath and has a kosher only restaurant protected us. A great miracle happened here in that the fire broke out on the Sabbath when the store was closed, so no was killed or even injured,” he said.

MKs clash on assimilation in Israel February 8, 2011

MK Chaim Amsellem (Shas) stated he feels the true assimilations issue is caused by over 300,000 immigrants originating from the "seed of Israel". Amsellem said the State must do all that it can to integrate them in Israel.

"The current system probably can't handle this," he said. "This problem will continue to grow. We are creating a product that has never existed – Israelis rooted in the Jewish society but aren't Jewish because the State isn't prepared."

Amsellem suggested to unify the conversion process and not separate the civil process from the military one.

Diaspora: A window into US Jewry

'Reviving Sanhedrin may help bridge gaps with Diaspora'

Layoffs at Nefesh B’Nefesh due to fund-raising dip

Jewish Agency in 'Zyklon B' building

J Street: Playing Birthright for Self-Promotion

Knesset convenes for first-ever Jewish Identity Day

The Other Right of Birthright

Rethinking Peoplehood and Israel-Diaspora Relations

Irit Kohn takes helm of Jewish lawyers association

Birthright trips should be political, says sociologist Prof. Steven Cohen

VIDEO: Birthright Rejects J Street Trip: Prof. Steven Cohen's Comments

James Tisch favored as next JA Board chair

Alan Slifka, 81, co-founder of the Abraham Fund

Alan B. Slifka, Abraham Fund: An investor of human capital

World ORT regains right to use its English name in Israel

German family fights to stay in Israel

By Ravid Oren February 9, 2011

The Foreign Ministry, however has expressed interest in the program. David Saranga, an official at the ministry and former Consul for Media and Public Affairs in the US presented the program in one of the school's seminaries.

But this was not enough for the Interior Ministry. Last year, Dr. Kling's work permit expired and he is currently residing in Israel on a tourist's visa.

Goodbye Chicago, Hello Negev!

By Elyashiv Reichner Opinion January 28, 2011

Who said that Zionism is over? Quietly, far from the media, American Jews have moved to the Negev and are in the process of establishing the core of an interesting community.

Rabbi Lopatin, a prominent Orthodox rabbi in America, came up with the idea to settle in the Negev when JNF introduced him to the OR movement, an organization that works to encourage people to settle in the Negev and Galil.

Jewish Agency representative in Ethiopia focuses on aliya

By Ruth Eglash February 8, 2011

The challenge facing thousands of Ethiopians waiting for permission to make aliya is no longer about fighting for the right to immigrate but rather about better preparing them for a new life in modern Israel, the recently appointed Jewish Agency head of delegation in Ethiopia told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The Possibilities of Peaceful Coexistence in Jerusalem—An Inspirational Encounter

By Rabbi Ron Kronish February 7, 2011

Last Thursday night, I was witness to a rare and beautiful opportunity for encounter and dialogue at the ICCI Education Center in Jerusalem.

Fourteen high school students from all over Jerusalem gathered in our center with their parents for the opening of the 11th year of the Face to Face/Faith to Faith program.

Eight Palestinian families—Muslims and Christians—and six Jewish families, religious and secular, joined together to begin an exciting year of dialogue and education.

Religion and State in Israel

February 14, 2011 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

All rights reserved.

Religion and State in Israel - February 14, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

February 14, 2011 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Top Israeli intellectuals to State: Probe rabbi's alleged link to Rabin assassination

By Jonathan Lis February 13, 2011

Leading Israeli intellectuals and Israel Prize laureates demanded the immediate firing of a top rabbi accused of supporting a book justifying the killing of non Jews on Saturday, urging the state to investigate him for his alleged role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

"...there is evidence that [Rabbi Dov] Lior was the main source for the religious edicts authorizing the killing of Yitzhak Rabin," the leading intellectuals added.

What do the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-Orthodox religious-right have in common?

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion February 11, 2011

If the state should be using its power in any way, then it should be firing rabbis like Lior from official positions.

They, of course, should be free to say whatever they like, but the scandal of rabbis spouting off the most obnoxious views at the taxpayer's expense has been going on for much too long.

Religious Zionist rabbis: Lior should be questioned

By Kobi Nahshoni February 13, 2011

Some 70 leading Zionist Religious rabbis - including city rabbis, yeshiva chiefs and educators - issued a petition Thursday protesting the arrest warrant against Rabbi Dov Lior following his refusal to report to a police inquiry in the "King's Torah" affair.

But Ynet has learned that some rabbis refused to sign the petition and feel that Lior should be investigated.

70 rabbis: Arrest warrant for Rabbi Dov Lior a disgrace

By Kobi Nahshoni February 11, 2011

"We see this as a disgrace towards the torah and those who follow it," the petition stated. "This is an attempt to block the rabbis' freedom of expression through severe, unacceptable and anti-democratic measures."

Who’s disparaging the Torah? Editorial February 8, 2011

Rabbi of Ramat Gan Ya’acov Ariel put it best when he said that the battle against Torat Hamelech should not be waged “via declarations to the media, or via police investigations...rather by bringing to light true Halacha after in-depth research.”

...As [Ariel] Finkelstain noted, it is open intellectual exchange, in thefree market of ideas, that is the best weapon against bigotry and racism.

70 rabbis protest arrest warrant against Rabbi Dov Lior

By Jonah Mandel February 10, 2011

“To us, this is a disgrace to the Torah and those who study it, an attempt to curb the rabbis’ freedom of expression through severe, unwonted and anti-democratic measures, which were never utilized against intellectuals from the Left, despite extreme sentiment expressed against the state and its citizens,” the rabbis wrote.

Hebron rabbi: No 'little official at the Justice Ministry' will tell me what to do

By Tomer Zarchin and Chaim Levinson February 9, 2011

"If the state declares that rabbis are not allowed to voice a political opinion, it will be like in the Soviet Union, where there were commissars who said what was allowed and what was forbidden," Lior said at the rally.

"It is inconceivable that a little official in the Justice Ministry can say what rabbis are permitted to do."

Rabbis condemn Dov Lior arrest warrant

By Kobi Nahshoni February 8, 2011

Chairman of the Tzohar Rabbinical Orgnization Rabbi David Stav, who declared he does not agree with Rabbi Lior's endorsement of "The King's Torah", told Ynet:

"A democratic society cannot prosecute rabbis for offences pertaining to freedom of expression, let alone criminal offenses."

Rabbi Lior supporters protest arrest warrant

By Yair Altman February 8, 2011

Rabbi Lior said during the demonstration that he accepts the rule of law and is not trying to defy the state.

"Rabbis are elected representatives who answer questions the public is concerned with. Clearly we do not engage in politics but these are important issues which concern us all directly and we must therefore respond. It is the rabbis' right and duty to express their opinions on these matters.

They were elected on this basis until the State declares rabbis are banned from expressing their political opinions."

Wanted Kiryat Arba rabbi tells supporters: I'm not racist

By Chaim Levinson February 8, 2011

Both Lior and Rabbi (and former Shas MK ) Yaakov Yosef, who also supported the book, refused to cooperate with police, issuing a letter instead stating that the Torah is not subject to police investigations. People close to Lior expressed outrage at the arrest warrant.

Rabbi Lior agrees to be investigated at his home

Free Speech in Israel -- How Much and At What Cost?

By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield Opinion February 7, 2011

The writer is an author, radio and TV talk show host, and President of CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

Rabbi Dov Lior and his colleagues should publish pretty much whatever they want -- that is their right.

But, they must also be accountable for what they publish. Freedom of speech is a human right, and like all such rights, it carries obligations. It's time for Rabbi Lior to remember that. And if he doesn't remember it on his own, then the police will have to remind him.

Police issue arrest warrant for rabbi that supported book which justifies killing non-Jews

Arrest warrant issued against Rabbi Dov Lior

Haifa Chief Rabbi She’ar Yishuv Cohen to be indicted for bribery, fraud

By Ron Friedman February 11, 2011

The Chief Rabbi of Haifa Rabbi She’ar Yishuv Cohen was called in on Thursday for a hearing by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office, before the probable filing of an indictment against him on charges of bribery and false registration of corporate documents.

Haifa chief rabbi faces indictment over bribes-for-degrees scam

By Nir Hasson February 10, 2011

Cohen is suspected of involvement in the so-called 'Rabbis Affair', in which senior rabbis granted advanced degrees to members of the country's security services.

These degrees allowed IDF soldiers, Israeli police officers and Prison Service officers to receive salary raises worth hundreds of millions of shekels.

Haifa Chief Rabbi summoned for bribery charges

Haifa Chief Rabbi suspected of bribery

Haifa Chief Rabbi to be tried for bribery

By Aviad Glickman February 10, 2011

"There aren't and never have been any grounds to try Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen in a criminal court," Cohen's attorney, Yaron Kostelitz, told Ynet.

"It's unfortunate that the prosecution summons him again for a hearing after closing the case against him over a year ago."

Ministry keeping closer eye on yeshivas

By Yair Ettinger and Or Kashti February 7, 2011

The Education Ministry recently stiffened its monitoring of ultra-Orthodox yeshivas in response to a recent revelation that directors of a number of Haredi institutions systematically forged identity documents to puff up enrollment numbers and receive higher budget allocations.

Rabbi Avram Yosef forbids women from teaching 10-year-olds

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's son: Women are can't teach beyond 4th grade

By Jonah Mandel February 10, 2011

A woman teaching 10-year-old boys is compromising their chastity, according to Holon’s Chief Rabbi Avraham Yosef, son of senior Sephardi adjudicator Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

In an answer to a listener’s question during his program on haredi radio station Kol Hai as to whether a woman could prepare a youth for his bar mitzva Torah reading, Yosef took the opportunity to set the boundaries for pedagogical interactions in general between boys and women.

MKs to vote on extending Daylight Savings Time

By Jonathan Lis February 13, 2011

The Knesset is expected to pass a law this week extending daylight savings time until October.

The vote will be held even though Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced last week that he had appointed a committee of experts to review the law on his behalf.

Ministers to vote on Daylight Savings Time bill

By Rebecca Anna Stoil February 12, 2011

MK Horowitz promised that whatever the committee decides on Sunday, he will place the bill before the Knesset plenum for a preliminary reading on Wednesday.

"Maintaining daylight saving time for most of the year is the right thing to do. It is beneficial to all of the public – children and adults, drivers and pedestrians, religious and secular,” said Horowitz.

“The government must listen to the public’s calls and end this situation, which costs us tens of millions and harms everybody’s regular routine.”

Shas Minister Yishai to form c'tee to examine daylight saving extension

By Jonah Mandel February 7, 2011

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) has retracted his former stance and decided to form a professional committee that will examine the possibility of extending the daylight savings time, Channel Two reported Monday evening, explaining the shift as the result of the public pressure Yishai faced over his insistence on maintaining the abnormally short daylight savings period in Israel.

Ordination not a prerequisite for being army’s top rabbi

By Jonah Mandel February 9, 2011

Being an ordained rabbi is not officially a prerequisite for being named the IDF’s chief chaplain, nor it is explicitly stated anywhere that a candidate for the position must be a Jew, MKs were amazed to learn during a Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee hearing on Tuesday.

...While the committee supported the bill and approved it for its first reading in the Knesset, committee chairman David Azoulay (Shas) and other members expressed concern that the bill, as currently written, could allow a Reform rabbi to be appointed IDF chief chaplain and effectively become part of the Chief Rabbinate Council.

Survey: 52% believe [National] Religious contribute most to IDF February 8, 2011

In the first part of the survey participants were asked to choose one group or more that in their opinion "contributes the most to the IDF".

Some 52% selected the national religious group, 36% selected the kibbutzim, 31% chose the residents of the peripheral towns, 13% chose the settlers, 10.5% selected the new olim and only 4% chose residents of Tel Aviv.

IDF Funds Lubavitch Shchita February 13, 2011

The recent large influx of Charedi soldiers into the Israeli Defense Forces sent the IDF grappling with the new reality of catering to the diverse spectrum of Charedi soldiers.

Soldier identifying as Chabad will receive a 300 Shekel stipend to cover the costs of Lubavitch meat which they are to bring from their homes.

Former chairman Shas Aryeh Deri on Haredim, yeshivas & work

Aryeh Deri, should Shas be leading the protest against the state's economic policy?

By Merav Michaeli February 10, 2011

Aryeh Deri:

No one needs to convince me about working. Work is not only a social issue but a Jewish value of the first order. At the same time, I think, I believe, that it's important, for the existence of the people of Israel, that there be a group of people who give their soul to studying Torah.

We need to strengthen them, this small group. All those who are not part of this small group of scholars, and I mean every ultra-Orthodox man for whom the Torah is not really his entire world, whose real occupation is not studying Torah, and who does not study all day - they can work and find time for Torah, and that's the best thing.

VIDEO: Israel Channel 10 Special Documentary on Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Hebrew)

Click here for VIDEO

Peres: Haredim want work, too

By Nati Tucker February 9, 2011

"People believe that the religious don't want to work. That's nonsense. There are thousands of Haredim who want to make a living - men, too. This is a stigma that divides the people," President Shimon Peres said while visiting the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad yesterday.

The employment rate in the Haredi community is far below the national average.

According to Bank of Israel data from 2009, only 39% of Haredi men were working, compared with 75.7% of men in the overall population (not counting Haredim or Arabs ). Of the women, 58% were working, compared with 64% for the overall population.

Don't lock the Haredim into employment centers

By Nati Tucker Opinion February 8, 2011

The employment-center model is crucial for a certain percentage of Haredim, but if we continue to lock them up in them, the community will not meet even a fraction of its potential and will continue suffering from poverty.

To increase their contribution, ultra-Orthodox men and women need professional tools - and mainly motivation - to be able to fill any position in the free market and climb as high as they can.

Israel faces challenges in rise of Haredim

AP February 7, 2011

Demographers now estimate about a third of last year's Jewish babies were born into the ultra-Orthodox community, an insular and devout minority that has long been at loggerheads with the rest of the increasingly modern and prosperous country.

A November 2010 report by two demographers at Haifa University, Arnon Soffer and Evgenia Bystrov, estimated that 30% of the Jewish newborns are now haredi.

Government statistics predict that by 2025 the haredim will have jumped from 9% of the population to 15%.

Advertising in religious sector up 10% in 2010

By Nati Toker February 7, 2011

Advertising in the ultra-Orthodox and religious sector were up 10% in 2010, reported IFAT Advertising Monitoring.

This is partially due to an increase in advertising by food companies Osem and Unilever, cleaning supplies company Sano, and by book publishers catering to the religious sector.

In fact, two publishing houses were the sector leaders, spending a total of NIS 11.4 million in 2010, up 50% from 2009. Unilever and Sano both spent NIS 4 million to target religious consumers, up 15% and 17% respectively from 2009.

Anti-secular MK to be reinstated

By Kobi Nahshoni February 7, 2011

Israel Eichler is to return to the Knesset as a replacement for MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism), in accordance with a rotation deal between the two.

Rabbi and attorney Uri Regev, who heads Hiddush, said that "we must protect Eichler's right to derogate all that is sacred to most of the citizens of this state".

Eichler stood his ground.

"Hiddush receives money from outside sources in order to persecute the haredi public and its representatives. This is their job, as they declare, and that is why they persecute us. There is nothing new in this," he said in response.

A Hecksher for Fashion — and an Exposé on Jews in Burqas

By Allison Kaplan Sommer Opinion February 8, 2011

Just when you thought the policing of Haredi women’s appearance couldn’t get more extreme — it does.

Heath Ministry Allocates Shekels to Solve Problem of Electronic Doors

By Nathan Jeffay February 4, 2011

The Haredi newspaper Yated Ne’eman reports that the Health Ministry, which is controlled by the Haredi United Torah Judaism party, has “decided to allocate hundreds of thousands of shekels” to solve the problem.

It is going to “install systems with a timer designed to leave electronic doors open during Sabbath.”

State to fine animal rights abusers

By Erez Erlichman February 6, 2011

[Attorney Yossi Wolfson of Let the Animals Live organization] addressed the Kapparot issue saying this custom was never forbidden.

"The prohibitions only concern the conditions of which the chickens are kept in while they await slaughter."

The Israel Animal Guard Chairman Doron Brenner is not so optimistic, fearing that MK Maklev's objections is enough to call off or stall the approved regulations.

Haredi ads: Internet causes cancer

By Ari Galahar February 9, 2011

The Internet causes draught and terminal disease – so claims a new marketing campaign publicized in the ultra-Orthodox community and aims to curb use of the world wide web.

"Where there is Internet, there are no rains," read one of the posters that were pasted in central haredi spots.

"Let's remove the idolatry from among us. Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients (suffer) because of the Internet."

Mea Shearim: Ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem

Click here for PHOTO Gallery

By Chaim Schvarcz February 7, 2011

Mazal Tov! 18 is not a crowd

By Liat Rotem Melamed February 7, 2011

When she was young, Rivkah, a Jerusalem resident belonging to the Belz Hasidic movement, never dreamed that at the age of 44 she would be leaving the maternity ward with her 18th child.

It's true that she herself comes from a large family – she has 15 brothers and sisters, but her husband comes from a much smaller family that includes 'only' five kids.

Police: Sudanese men stabbed by Israeli gang in Bnei Brak

By Yoav Zitun February 12, 2011

Prompted by the growing numbers of of Sudanese refugees in the neighborhood, Bnei Brak rabbis issued a statement last October, calling on residents to avoid renting homes to Africans, and warned against a "spiritual danger."

Around the same time, a whistleblower hotline threatened to expose the names of Jews renting property to foreigners, in hopes of shaming them into stopping.

Forget Paris, this is 'Gay Jerusalem'

By Nir Hasson February 11, 2011

Jacob Israel de Haan is probably the only common denominator between the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit organization in Jerusalem and the city's gay community.

De Haan's name is still featured in the pashkevilim, the public proclamations posted in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods such as Jerusalem's Mea She'arim quarter, as a "victim of secular persecution."

Four J'lem men indicted for Milan judaica theft

By Ron Friedman February 13, 2011

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s office filed an indictment, on Sunday, against four Jerusalem men for stealing and selling judaica artifacts worth upward of one million Euro from a synagogue in Milan earlier this month.

Collector who helped recover Milan Judaica calls items rarest ever stolen

By Yair Ettinger February 8, 2011

The thieves, four ultra-Orthodox youngsters from Jerusalem, are suspected of stealing the objects from the synagogue in Milan, Italy, where they went last Tuesday pretending to be worshippers.

Israeli arrested for allegedly stealing Judaica from Italy synagogue

By Yaniv Kubovich February 7, 2011

According to the police, the thieves entered the synagogue pretending to be worshipers, and stuffed their bags with the valuable Judaica once they saw they were alone in the building.

The next day they went to France and flew from there to Israel with the goods, police said.

Pray in mosque, rabbi rules February 13, 2011

"It would be better to pray in a mosque and do so with meaning and after the sun rises, rather than at home, at dawn or at the airport and without meaning," Rabbi Baruch Efrati determined recently in a response posted on the Kipa website recently.

Devoted To Exercise

By Sharon Udasin February 10, 2011

Staff members at Jump and the men-only Kosher Gym in Givat Shaul – two of Jerusalem’s biggest gyms that attract sizeable religious populations – say that over the past couple of years they have seen a marked increase in haredi membership as the larger community shifts some of its priorities to focus more on bodily health as part of overall spiritual well-being.

Three Ministers make surprise visit to Joseph's Tomb

By Tovah Lazaroff February 11, 2011

Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) on Thursday called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to increase access to Joseph’s Tomb, located on the southern edge of Nablus, which has a waiting list of thousands of Jews wanting to make the pilgrimage.

At present, access to the tomb is limited to one nightly trip a month.

Religion and State in Israel

February 14, 2011 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

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