Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - July 4, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

July 4, 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.

Special edition on arrests of Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef coming soon

20 rabbis finish training course for Conversion Authority

By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com July 1, 2011

A possible harbinger of a new Orthodox conversion body in Israel emerged on Thursday evening, at an event marking the end of a training course for rabbis to specialize in Jewish conversion law.

Twenty neighborhood rabbis and heads of yeshivot marked the completion of a year of intensive studies under the Harry O. Triguboff Israel Institute for Conversion Policy at Beit Morasha in the capital, designed to provide them with the tools to work as voluntary rabbis in the State Conversion Authority.

New Knesset caucus aims to ease way toward conversion

By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com June 30, 2011

The Conversion Caucus, launched at the Knesset on Wednesday, will help allocate public funds to conversion institutes, work on appointing rabbinic judges, and promote relevant legislation.

Nachman Shai (Kadima) rejected the notion of opening the market to non-Orthodox conversions as a means of encouraging the public to undergo the procedure.

“We are trying to make our efforts practical and feasible. When we start dealing with the Reform and Conservative conversions, we’re lost,” he said.

Jewish Identity (Un)defined at the 2011 Israeli Presidential Conference

By Chaviva Galatz www.huffingtonpost.com June 28, 2011

Responding to concerns about assimilation, Dr. Dov Maimon of the Jewish People Policy Institute surprised the audience by suggesting the creation of civilizational conversion to Judaism.

"If people cannot belong to the Jewish religious people, but want to be a part of Jewish civilization, then we need this," he said.

"The old model doesn't fit the new challenges, so we have to find a new model that fits the new model of the Jewish people: A transnational, cultural community with a nation base."

Divorce recalcitrant gets unlimited jail term

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

In an unprecedented ruling, the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court has sentenced a divorce recalcitrant to an unlimited prison term – until he agrees to give his wife a "get".

The man had already served a 10-year prison sentence, and yet was adamant not to grant his wife a divorce.

The law, "Forcing obedience," authorizes all religious courts to enforce their rulings through a fine or unlimited prison term. The man was sent back to jail until he agrees to give his "chained" wife a divorce.

The Place of Orthodoxy in the State of Israel

www.jewishideas.org July 1, 2011

Susan Weiss, a Jerusalem attorney, is Executive Director of the Center for Women's Justice. She has won landmark cases advancing the rights of women in Israel. This article appears in issue 10 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

As the head of the Center for Women's Justice, I encounter on a daily basis the intractable entanglement—the “Gordian knot”—of State and (Orthodox) religion in Israel.

This union of religion and state supports a gendered society, infringes on the basic rights of women, challenges the democratic values of the State, and threatens to undermine Israel's integrity as the political expression of the Jewish nation.

Using some of the cases that have come my way at CWJ, I will illustrate the above and argue that the place of “Orthodoxy” in Israel should not be within the coercive sphere of the “state,” but within the voluntary sphere of “civil society,” alongside other expressions of Jewishness.

...Forcing all of us into one narrow, square hole for the sake of supposed unity and uniformity, is not working. Instead, it is alienating the great majority of us Jews from both the state and the religion.
Haval, what a shame. We Israelis and Jews of all denominations, including the ultra-Orthodox, deserve a more hopeful, pluralistic, and tolerant reality.

Tzipi Livni, is Netanyahu afraid of rabbis?

By Merav Michaeli www.haaretz.com June 30, 2011

Tzipi Livni:

There is a significant question here: While Netanyahu and all of us talk about the State of Israel as the national home for the Jewish people, there is an argument about what a democratic Jewish state is.

This is not a theological disagreement or an argument in political science class. Is the source of law the law or the Torah? Is the interpreter a rabbi or a court?

The real battle for Israel

By Yigal Walt Opinion www.ynetnews.com June 28, 2011

It is still too early to tell where Israel is headed, but a secular-religious clash - the kind we had not yet seen in this country - may gradually become inevitable.

If Monday’s events in Jerusalem are any indication, we may indeed be in for a very hot summer. May God grant us the wisdom to change course before it’s too late.

Let buses run on Shabbat

By Nitzan Horowitz Opinion www.ynetnews.com June 27, 2011

Haredi Knesset members were overjoyed and slammed what they referred to as “desecration of the Shabbat,” yet they too know that the country doesn’t come to a halt on Saturdays.

Hospitals continue to operate as do the police, IDF, Magen David Adom ambulance service and fire brigades.

Our airport remains open, the electricity and water systems work regularly, and the same is true for television and radio, hotels, and a variety of other bodies and factories that provide diverse services.

No compensation if flight is canceled to avoid violating Shabbat, MKs decide

By Zohar Blumenkrantz http://english.themarker.com June 30, 2011

Passengers whose flights are canceled in order not to violate the Sabbath will not be entitled to compensation, the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee decided yesterday.

The committee approved an article stating that airlines that are forced to cancel flights so as not to make passengers violate the Jewish Sabbath need not pay the passengers any financial compensation.

This provision would particularly affect El Al passengers, as El Al does not fly on Shabbat or Jewish holidays.

For example, if an El Al plane had a technical problem and the flight was canceled because the plane was unable to fly before Shabbat, passengers would get no compensation.

Do Israelis need long weekends?

By William Kolbrener Opinion www.washingtonpost.com June 24, 2011

An American-style Sunday, without violating the holiness of Jewish time and the Sabbath, might provide an opportunity for national reflection on what an inclusive and Israeli public space may look like in the twenty-first century.

Jewish Agency: We're Aiming Higher with New Aliyah Plan

By David Lev www.israelnationalnews.com July 3, 2011

Jewish Agency spokesperson Haviv Rettig Gur:

“If you fix the bureaucracy you get maybe a few hundred more olim, but if you help provide a vision – and a practical way to connect to that vision – you have a greater chance of succeeding with a far larger number of people.”

Jewish Agency denies connection to NY New Israel Fund event

www.jpost.com July 1, 2011

Jewish Agency spokesman Haviv Rettig Gur said that neither the agency nor its American arm MAKOM had been involved in the event, which Rabbi David Rosenn, chief operating officer at the New Israel Fund, described as a “highly successful program that engages young people in a serious discussion of the complexities of Israeli society.”

“MAKOM and the Jewish Agency had nothing to do with this event, not in funding or in planning.

“At the same time, we have nothing against the event and reject the assertion that we could have been ‘hoodwinked’ by political parties,” Rettig Gur said.

Israel & Diaspora: A communal "tank" or communal "tent"? We need to decide

By Robbie Gringas Opinion www.jpost.com June 29, 2011

The writer is the artist-in-residence with MAKOM, the place for compelling Israel education, based at the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Makom is arguing for a communal “tent” rather than a communal “tank.”

In a tank we can be safe, we can fight back against our enemies, but life there is pretty cramped and miserable. A tent, meanwhile, gives us room to talk freely among ourselves, have fun occasionally.

Perhaps equally significant, it can empower us to engage more confidently with those outside the tent.

The sides of this tent can be open for dialogue.

Jewish Agency’s new strategic plan causes concerns

By Elad Benari www.israelnationalnews.com July 1, 2011

The Council of Immigrant Associations:

“We are very concerned and upset that the strategic plan ignores the Jewish communities in Europe, South America, South Africa and France, which is the world’s second largest Jewish community,” wrote Avi Zana, Director of the AMI French Immigrants Fund, an organization affiliated with the Council of Immigrant Associations.

The Council stated that Jews in France, South Africa, South America, England etc. each have their own unique characteristics which should be considered separately as part of the strategic plan to strengthen them and encourage them to make aliyah to Israel.

VIDEO: Partnership2Gether - The Jewish Agency Peoplehood Platform

June 29, 2011

Israel refuses citizenship for gay man married to Jewish immigrant

By Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com June 28, 2011

The Interior Ministry is refusing citizenship and new immigrant status to a homosexual married to a Jewish new immigrant, despite the law's stipulation that the child, grandchild and partner of a Jew are entitled to Jewish immigrant rights.

Attorney Dan Yakir, of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, believes the High Court will grant Alvarez citizenship if asked to rule on the issue.

"It's a question the courts haven't dealt with yet," he says, "whether 'partner' in the Law of Return also applies to a same-sex partner.

In view of the court rulings that have equalized the rights of same-sex couples and in view of the constitutional right for equality, it is obvious that the Law of Return must be interpreted as applying to same-sex couples, and that means an immigrant's partner must be given citizenship."

Towards a renewed Zionist education

By Daniel Gordis Opinion www.jpost.com June 26, 2011

In his book, Defending Identity, Sharansky showed how national, ethnic or religious identities are the most powerful motivators of significant human lives.

He and his colleagues are therefore now wisely putting identity, not simple aliya, at the core of the agency’s work. They understand that without renewed Jewish identity, Jews from the free world will have no reason even to consider making a life in Israel.

We would do well to take a page from JAFI’s courageous self-transformation.

The demagoguery of ridicule

By Alex Sinclair Opinion www.jpost.com June 27, 2011

The writer is the Director of Programs in Israel Education for the Jewish Theological Seminary. “Kesher Hadash,” the new semester-in- Israel program for students at JTS’s Davidson School of Education, is rooted in the rationale explored in this article. He lives in Modi’in.

Israeli Jews need to be exposed to the remarkable, inspiring experience of American Judaism as an open, pluralist way of life, which can speak to different people in different ways; to the vibrancy of American Jewish vehicles for personal spiritual meaning; and to a religious community that has succeeded in having Jewish messages inspire and infuse hundreds of thousands of non-Jews. Israeli Judaism is the poorer for the lack of such exposure.

The Court Jews of the 21st Century

By Gil Troy Opinion www.jpost.com June 28, 2011

Ignoring such complexities, these posturing progressives are the New Galut Jews, the court-Jews of twenty-first century elite society, purchasing acceptance from others by mocking their own.

While the nineteenth-century German poet Heinrich Heine saw conversion as the admission ticket to European culture, some American Jewish extremists now use anti-Zionism as their admission ticket to hip, progressive circles.

Yossi Beilin "aims to set record straight" on Birthright

June 30, 2011

In his latest book, "Birthright: The True Story", Yossi Beilin seeks to reveal the unexpected struggles he encountered from Jewish establishments-- both in Israel and the wider Jewish community--in finding support for these free trips.

Written to expose the inner culture and politics of the existing Jewish establishments, Beilin describes the challenges he had to overcome to make the program a reality: from confronting harsh opposition, to gaining financial support from donors and eventually convincing the wider Jewish community of the necessity of such a program.

"False knowledge has been spread about the creation of Birthright, or been left out completely," Beilin said. "I wanted to provide the truth behind this project."

Birthright "Taglit Excel" students ring in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s opening bell

By David Sheen www.haaretz.com July 1, 2011

On Wednesday, 20 Jewish university students from the U.S., in the country on a special 10-week Birthright trip called Taglit Excel, rang the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s opening bell.

VIDEOS: Taglit Excel: Interning Israel

www.haaretz.com July 1, 2011

Three Taglit Birthright alumni return to Israel as interns for Israeli companies. Haaretz, in association with Taglit Excel, will follow the three over the course of 10 weeks, as they discover what it means to work - and live - in Israel.

Birthright Excel is a selective 10-week summer fellowship program that gives 20 Jewish college students from around the world an opportunity to pursue their interest in business and/or technology, by interning at a prominent Israeli company in an array of industries, including finance, consulting, hi-tech and social media.

Reform leader says Liberalism, Zionism not incompatible

By Gil Shefler www.jpost.com June 28, 2011

[Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch] talked about his new memoir “For the Sake of Zion: Reform Zionism – a Personal Mission” which was officially launched earlier in the day.

“My previous books have dealt partially with social action in the religious arena,” Hirsch said. “This one deals almost exclusively with the Zionist movement and it describes my orientation to some of the major problems.

I felt the Reform movement would become an insignificant sect in Jewish life if it were not involved in the greatest drama of the Jewish people which is the establishment and strengthening of the state of Israel.”

Engaging Israel: Beyond the Crisis Narrative

By Stuart Schoffman http://shi.org.il June 20, 2011

The sensitive question of Israel-Diaspora relations long precedes the creation of the Jewish state.

...This invidious distinction between Jews who dwell in Eretz Israel and those who don’t is also implied in the everyday word “aliyah,” which suggests that one “ascends” to a higher plateau of Jewish existence when one moves to Israel. North American Jews, by and large, don’t buy it.

Click here for Havruta Digital Edition

Deri slams Yishai over posters ‘harming’ Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s image

By Gil Hoffman www.jpost.com July 1, 2011

Shas chairman Eli Yishai and his number two, Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Atias, allowed Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s image to be harmed by not coming out against posters seen as disrespectful to the rabbi, former Shas leader Arye Deri said on Thursday.

The posters, which were plastered throughout haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, looked like they were promoting the return of Deri to the helm of Shas without Yosef’s blessing.

They bore the slogan “The majority decides, not the rabbi,” using words that sound similar in Hebrew.

Shas, Deri trade barbs over signs

By Gil Hoffman www.jpost.com June 26, 2011

Shas activists loyal to former Shas leader Arye Deri and current chairman Eli Yishai sparred over the weekend over who put up what appeared to be signs promoting Deri’s return to the helm of the Sephardi party.

Religion and State in Israel

July 4, 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 - July 4, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 4, 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.

All rights reserved.

Special edition on arrests of Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef coming soon.

Planners split on where to build Haredi enclaves

By Ranit Nahum-Halevy www.haaretz.com July 4, 2011

Planners agree the current situation of high birth and overcrowding among the ultra-Orthodox is not sustainable. What to do about the issue, and specifically where to build homes for them, is still up in the air.

Though many town planners agree separate neighborhoods should be planned for the ultra-Orthodox, which are considered to have special needs - they are divided as to whether wholly separate towns for the population should be planned.

Town planner and lawyer Prof. Rachelle Alterman, head of the Technion Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning:

“At the end of the day combining a non-ultra-Orthodox population with an ultra-Orthodox population means subordination to the ultra-Orthodox way of life and the other populations are not interested in this."

Separate tables

By Tamar Rotem www.haaretz.com July 1, 2011

Gender separation in schools and synagogues has always been an important facet of ultra-Orthodox life and is generally not contested.

But the Hasidic members of the ultra-Orthodox community are now determined to extend gender separation to other venues in the public domain, such as banquet halls, buses, health clinics, and even some sidewalks in Jerusalem on certain days of the Jewish calendar.

Among the various Hasidic sects, the Gur Hasidim are known to be most vigilant, going so far as to keep tabs on the activities of families and couples to ensure that the rules of gender separation are not violated.

Tel Aviv locals win appeal against Chabad 'infiltration'

By Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com June 30, 2011

Secular residents of Tel Aviv's prestigious Ramat Aviv neighborhood have won an appeal against the continued long-term operation of a day care center run by the Chabad Hasidic movement, which they said was meant to draw ultra-Orthodox residents to the largely secular neighborhood.

VIDEO: Tzipi Livni on Why Israel Needs a Constitution

Click here for embedded VIDEO

The rabbis and the army

By Nahum Barnea Opinion www.ynetnews.com July 4, 2011

The entire notion of an IDF Rabbinate is mistaken. The army chief would have done well if instead of a chief IDF rabbi he would have appointed a chief religion rabbi.

Just like the chief artillery officer is responsible for artillery, the chief religion officer would be responsible for religious services. His job would be to provide religious services to any soldier who seeks them, and there are many fine troops who seek this.

There should have no interest in educating all the rest, indoctrinating them, pushing soldiers to become religious, or training them.

Benny Gantz cannot separate religion from the IDF. He has no mandate for this. Yet he can stop the politruk invasion into the army. There is no need to set up a committee: Just wake up on time.

Israel’s Army Becoming God’s Army

By Arieh O’Sullivan www.themedialine.org June 28, 2011

The transformation has seen the deeply religious Jews filling leadership positions in numbers far beyond their proportion in the general population.

Since religious Israelis tend to have more hawkish views, some are concerned the army may face mass insubordination if asked to carry out any controversial moves to implement a future peace deal with the Palestinians, such as dismantling Jewish communities.

The IDF Spokesman’s Unit claims it cannot supply figures on religious soldiers. “The IDF does not differentiate between religious and secular soldiers,” an army spokesman said.

However, a recent edition of the defense journal Maarachot cited that in recent years some 30% of infantry officer course graduates identify themselves as “Zionist-religious,” up from just a mere 2.5% two decades ago. In comparison, only about 12% of the general public place themselves in this category.

We Will, We Will Rock You

By Philologos www.forward.com June 22, 2011

The dispute that has recently arisen in Israel concerning the wording of the Yizkor prayer for fallen soldiers, said on the country’s annual Yom ha-Zikaron, or Memorial Day, reminds one of nothing so much as a similar quarrel that nearly delayed the Jewish state’s declaration of independence more than 60 years ago.

For a higher purpose

By Matan Tzuri www.ynetnews.com June 30, 2011

One cadet stood out among the others at Tuesday's Israeli Air Force cadet course graduation ceremony – a young woman wearing a long skirt. T., 20 is set to be the first religious woman to complete the prestigious course.

While she could have received an exemption from military service on religious grounds, she chose instead to undergo the grueling and demanding Israeli Air Force cadet course.

Hesder Yeshiva Budget to Education Ministry?

www.israelnationalnews.com June 24, 2011

Former Member of Knesset Nissan Slomiansky expressed concern Thursday over a proposal to transfer funding of the Hesder Yeshiva program from the Defense Ministry to the Education Ministry.

'Interior Ministry nixing Evangelical visas'

By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com June 28, 2011

The Interior Ministry has started revoking and denying visas to employees of local Evangelical organizations, the outgoing executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) charged.

Rev. Malcolm Hedding, who has run the ICEJ for the last decade, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post last week that over the last three years, he has noticed a new ministry policy toward Evangelical foreign agencies, which has “decimated their organizations in terms of their ability to hold professional staff, significantly impacting our ability to operate.”

Glenn Beck to address Knesset Immigration, Absorption, Diaspora Affairs panel in July

By Lahav Harkov www.jpost.com June 28, 2011

The event, called “Restoring Courage,” will take place at the Southern Wall excavation site in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Fox News commentator’s website states the event will “unite the people of the world in standing with Israel and remind us of the need to have faith, honor and courage in our own lives.”

Haredi group takes on Christian converts

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com June 27, 2011

Haredi organization Yad L'Achim is launching a struggle against 1,000 Christians' intent to convert to Judaism, make aliyah, establish cooperative kibbutzim beyond the 1967 lines – and settle there.

Following the publication of a Ynet article outlining the initiative, the organization's chairman Rabbi Sholom Ber Lifshitz claims that those involved in the initiative are missionaries whose goal is to bring Jews closer to the Christian faith and belief in Jesus, and called on the government to fend off the attempt.

7,300 Bnei Menashe to make aliyah

By Itamar Eichner www.ynetnews.com June 28, 2011

The Ministerial Committee on Immigrant Absorption, led by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, reached a historic decision in principle several days ago: To bring to Israel the 7,300 members of Bnei Menashe – a northeastern Indian community claiming decent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

The committee decided to appoint an inter-ministerial team of director-generals to prepare an operative plan of action to bring all Bnei Menashe to Israel. The plan will be brought to the government's approval next month.

Rabbi: Mayor Trying to Turn Jerusalem into Goa

By David Lev www.israelnationalnews.com June 21, 2011

A "beach party” that was to be held outside the Old City of Jerusalem is to be moved to the Malha neighborhood, but the incident has left a bitter taste among religious and hareidi residents of the city, who accused Mayor Nir Barkat of gross insensitivity to Jerusalem's religious heritage.

Rabbi Holzberg called on Barkat to think hard and long about his policies. “He wants to turn Jerusalem into Goa. Young people will go wild at these parties, losing all control. Instead of spreading holiness from here to other cities, they are seeking to bring unholiness to Jerusalem.

“The mayor is bringing the Judgment of Heaven down on us, G-d forbid,” he added. “One day it's a gay parade, another day it's a beach party. What's next?”

Masses attend Rabbi Lefkowitz' funeral

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com June 28, 2011

Tens of thousands of haredim flocked to the central city of Bnei Brak on Tuesday morning to take part in the funeral of Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, one of the leaders of the Lithuanian-Orthodox faction and head of Ponovezh Yeshiva.

Photo Gallery: Huge crowds gather in Bnei Barak for rabbi's funeral

By Jonah Mandel www.jpost.com June 28, 2011

Haredim: Let us smoke in peace

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com July 3, 2011

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman is being criticized from within his own public, after the government approved a national plan to help reduce smoking in Israel.

In recent days, the deputy minister's office received many complaints from members of the ultra-Orthodox sector over the decision to raise cigarette prices.

Livni schmoozes famed rabbi in move to improve image in sector

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com June 29, 2011

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni and her husband Naftali Spitzer met last month with popular rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto at his Ashdod home, in a bid to repair Livni's image as anti-ultra-Orthodox.

During the meetings, Livni assured Pinto that she feels a deep connection to the tradition she's witnessed at her parents' home, and that Judaism was part of her Israeliness. She said that some people, presumably her political opponents, were trying to change that reality.

Rabbi promotes 'modesty wounds'

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

What should a girl do if she wishes to dress modestly but her parents won't let her? According to Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein she can injure herself in order to use it as an excuse for dressing modestly.

Religious Zionism rabbis protest gay singer's gig

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com July 2, 2011

Ynet has learned that rabbis, right-wing activists and National Service girls are protesting a decision to invite singer Harel Skaat to perform at an event honoring National-Civilian Service volunteers. Some of them are even threatening to boycott the event.

According to the protestors, the majority of the event's participants are religious girls, who are certain to be offended by having to listen to an open homosexual sing.

Isn't New York’s take on same-sex marriage a major step?

By Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com June 27, 2011

Attorney Irit Rosenblum, the founder and chairperson of the New Family:

"I think that the institution of marriage should be privatized and not part of the state's jurisdiction.

The desire for marriage mediated by the state only perpetuates the state's control over private life. It is contrary to the worldwide process of social activism to separate church and state, and the family from religion and the establishment.

Over the years, the state has taken over the family unit and determined its shape in a way that severely hurt groups that do not meet the criteria determined by the system.

Not only partners of the same sex, but also partners who do not have the same religion or partners who chose to marry abroad in a civil ceremony."

Israel yet to act against Safed rabbis who warned against renting to Arabs

By Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com June 29, 2011

It has been more than six months and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has still not decided whether there should be a criminal investigation against the municipal rabbis who called on homeowners not to rent apartments to Arabs.

Israeli group urges Yellow Pages to boot businesses advertising Jewish-only labor

By Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com June 27, 2011

Israel's version of the Yellow Pages allows businesses to advertise Jewish-only labor in its phone directories, according to a complaint filed by a local umbrella group for civil rights organizations.

The group, Shutafut-Sharakah, approached the Israel Golden Pages (Dapey Zahav ) CEO, Nir Lampert, with a request to remove from the directory businesses that advertise "avodah Ivrit" or Hebrew labor, and to refrain from letting them advertise in the future.

Tel Aviv University won't hold tests during other religions' holidays

By Lital Levin www.haaretz.com June 27, 2011

Non-Jewish students at Tel Aviv University will no longer have to take tests on their major religious holidays, the school has announced.

The guidelines, which were set in response to a request by the student union, are primarily geared toward giving the university's 1,500 Arab students - 6 percent of the student body - a greater sense of belonging on campus, said Noam Furer, who heads the student union's academic affairs department.

Meretz: Jerusalem Municipality commits to oppose gender separation during public events

By Ronen Medzini www.ynetnews.com June 27, 2011

According to Meretz sources, the municipality has also committed to oppose gender separation during public events.

770 Comes To Mitzpe Ramon

http://lifeinmitzperamon.blogspot.com June 24, 2011

Now, Mitzpe Ramon will soon be able to boast its own reproduction of 770 Eastern Parkway, as the new Chabad House here is nearing completion after some years of building and remodeling.

Researchers Confirm 2,000 Year Old Ossuary Discovery

http://allaboutjerusalem.com June 29, 2011

Researchers from Bar Ilan University and Tel Aviv University published results of a study that was done for the Israel Antiquities Authority, which summarizes the importance of the find and confirms its authenticity

ZAKA files US restraining order over cremation of Israeli

By Mackenzie Green www.jpost.com June 29, 2011

The emergency response and disaster relief organization ZAKA has successfully filed a restraining order in the US to prevent an Israeli mother from having her son cremated.

Aaron Tabachnik, a Jewish Israeli teen, recently committed suicide while at a Florida shooting range. Because the young man did not have a will, the disposal of his remains has been left to the discretion of his mother, who opted for cremation and planned to scatter the ashes in Arad, where the family is originally from.

Sides agree to end Schechter Institute strike

By Raphael Ahren www.haaretz.com June 27, 2011

The seven-week strike at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies ended Friday, the Jerusalem-based institution announced yesterday.

"After intensive negotiations between management and workers, an agreement was signed on Friday, June 24 and the workers returned to work today," management said in a statement. The summer semester will open as planned on July 3.

Israel furious with Jordan over condemnation of Jerusalem's Old City renovation

By Danna Harman www.haaretz.com June 28, 2011

Israel is furious with Jordan, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO said yesterday. Nimrod Barkan said Israel is shocked that Amman had led a successful effort within the international body to condemn Israel over the renovations planned for the Mughrabi Gate Bridge - after signing an agreement with Israel to allow the work to go ahead.

Wait until September to build bridge, police advise

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com June 28, 2011

Police officials are recommending that a permanent bridge to the Mughrabi Gate adjacent to the Western Wall be built in September, while the world's attention is focused on the Palestinians' statehood bid in the UN General Assembly.

The Mikveh Ladies in Israel

By Ellyse Borghi Opinion www.cwj.org.il June 30, 2011

We also discussed (briefly in the meeting but also outside of it) religious coercion in the mikvaot. All Jewish women getting married have to visit the mikva before they are permitted to marry in this country.

This means that no matter if you have blue hair, a million piercing and tattoos, eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and have already 3 children outside of marriage, if you want to get married in Israel you have to go the mikva.

What happened to freedom of conscience?

Shas Eli Yishai, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef urge Obama to free Pollard

By Gil Hoffman and staff www.jpost.com June 30, 2011

Interior Minister Eli Yishai delivered a message from Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to US ambassador James Cunningham on Thursday, urging him to persuade US President Barack Obama to commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

The rabbi wrote the president that Pollard's case was one of Pikuach Nefesh (saving a life) and that he should release him as a "humanitarian gesture."

Chief UK Rabbi Jonathan Sacks warns of racism risk in Israel

By John Lyons www.theaustralian.com.au July 2, 2011

Lord Sacks watched from London as 50 of Israel's leading rabbis - 39 who were on, and remain on, government payrolls - urged Jews not to rent properties to non-Jews.

"I was distressed by it, seriously," he says. "And I think a people who have been subjected over the centuries to racism have to be doubly careful never to practise it themselves."

VIDEO: Maintaining Jewish life in Israel's 'Sin City'

By Sivan Raviv www.ynetnews.com June 30, 2011

For the purpose of revitalizing community, a hidden synagogue on 126 Ben Yehuda Street was chosen by a young group of Tel Avivians.

Tel Aviv 100-year-old synagogue defiled

www.ynetnews.com June 27, 2011

Chevrat Shas Synagogue in Tel Aviv's Neve Tzedek neighborhood celebrated its 100th anniversary recently. The site underwent an extensive renovation in the past few years and resumed its activity after being shut down for a long time.

Worshippers say the site is at the center of a real estate dispute, which likely promoted the acts of vandalism.

See what’s blooming at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

By Abigail Klein Leichman www.israel21c.org June 27, 2011

A newly upgraded Bible Path, punctuated by new plantings, outdoor classrooms, interpretational aids and innovative programming, is aimed at bringing in religiously oriented visitors, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

Orthodox Jewish student teachers will soon be invited to workshops relating to the many botanical and agricultural references in the Bible, so that they can share this information with their future students.

Pagan Rituals In Haifa’s Hadar Neighborhood

www.israelnationalnews.com June 22, 2011

A pagan ritual took place last Shabbat at the Binyamin park in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa. The ultra-orthodox community was astonished and offended that workers from Sudan, India and Nepal were allowed to conduct pagan services near their homes.

Thousands to visit Joseph's Tomb

By Yair Altman www.ynetnews.com July 4, 2011

Thousands of worshipers are expected to visit Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus Sunday night, to mark the anniversary of the biblical Joseph's death.

Though the visit was duly coordinated with security forces, a disagreement over the number of buses allowed in the compound has resulted in Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, chief rabbi of the Samaria Regional Council, to boycott the event, following what was called "the disgraceful and humiliating conduct of the defense establishment."

Haredi Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman rules out trips to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com June 29, 2011

Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, one of the leading Haredi adjudicators, ruled yesterday that it is forbidden to visit Joseph's Tomb in Nablus even in coordination with the security forces, and called people who did so suicidal.

Jewish-Druze religious celebration planned

By Akiva Novick www.ynetnews.com July 1, 2011

A unique religious event will be held in northern Israel next week: A joint Jewish-Druze celebration.

It will be held in the Druze town of Sajur in the Galilee region, in honor of the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha, who was considered a righteous man both among the Druze and the Jews.

Religion and State in Israel

July 4, 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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