Monday, July 18, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - July 18, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

July 18, 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.

Israel Wrestles With How — or Whether — To Recognize Gay Couples

By Nathan Jeffay July 18, 2011

Just as every Jew has the right to immigrate to Israel and receive citizenship under the Law of Return, so does his or her “spouse,” even if that spouse is not Jewish. But whether Israel would honor this for same-sex as well as heterosexual couples has never been tested.

Now, an American Jewish man has given Israel’s Interior Ministry, which is controlled by the Haredi Shas party, a July 31 deadline to give his husband citizenship. The couple’s alternative is a high court petition for citizenship, which legal experts believe will likely succeed.

The couple’s lawyer, Nicky Maor of the Israel Religious Action Center, the lobbying arm of the Reform movement, said that they are victims of “illegal discrimination.”

She commented,

“As the Law of Return uses the word ‘spouse’ as opposed to citizenship laws, which use the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife,’ here there’s not even any interpretation needed and there’s no basis for distinguishing between heterosexual and same-sex marriage.”

Groups educating Haredi women on ‘Mehadrin’ bus lines

By Jonah Mandel July 14, 2011

The group – which was the bulk of the passengers for most of the ride – was marking the launch of the “Grab A Spot” initiative, in which female students at the Hebrew University ride public buses in haredi areas to ensure that gender segregation is not being forced upon female passengers, who are allowed by law to sit in any part of the bus, and not be restricted to the rear, as is the norm on these lines.

IRAC Director Anat Hoffman, whose movement is supporting “grab a spot,” agreed that there has been an improvement in the past months, but stressed that there must be efforts made to free the haredi women – especially the young ones – from the mindset that has been instilled in them regarding their place in society.

“See them,” she said, pointing at a small group of girls who boarded the bus from the middle door, and walked to the back of the vehicle.

“They’ve been indoctrinated. It will take about 10 years to change that mindset,” she said, noting that it has been a decade since the segregated buses began operating, and five since IRAC filed their court action. “The verbal and physical abuse focuses on young haredi girls,” she added.

Israeli 'Freedom Riders' Ensure A Woman's Place At Front Of The Bus

By Michele Chabin July 13, 2011

On July 7, the Jerusalem-based Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), which had successfully petitioned the High Court to ban religious coercion on public transit, officially launched a program to encourage visiting Jewish tour groups to ride the once-segregated buses.

Anat Hoffman, who heads IRAC, said the Freedom Rider program, which was inspired by the civil rights activists who challenged racial segregation in the American South, is a way to share Israelis' struggle against religious coercion with Jews around the world.

Prior to the court ruling, Israelis and foreigners rode the segregated buses, and their reports were eventually tallied and submitted to the court, Hoffman said.

Like the female passengers who initiated the court petition, some of the volunteers were subjected "to verbal abuse, pushing, name calling and shouting," Hoffman noted.

Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv: Scream, insult, embarrass and harass ‘uppity’ women

By Sharon Shenhav Opinion July 13, 2011

The writer is a Jerusalem-based lawyer and Director of the International Jewish Women’s Rights Project of the International Council of Jewish Women.

How should ‘uppity’ women be treated in Israel today?

When [a yeshiva student] boarded the bus he discovered a woman sitting in the front. He informed her that this was a mehadrin bus, and that she must move to the rear section reserved for women. The woman refused to move, so the yeshiva student screamed at her, insulting her in front of all the other passengers, and continued to harass her verbally throughout the journey.

...Rav Elyashiv responded by stating that he had heard the details of the incident, and there was no need for an apology.

PHOTOS: MKs experience gender-segregation first hand in Jerusalem July 13, 2011

Click here for PHOTOS

MKs join the Israel Religious Action Center of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism to experience gender segregation on public buses first hand ...

VIDEO: Jerusalem: Why it Matters to Jews - Anat Hoffman and Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger

Click here for embedded VIDEO

By Luis Ramirez July 17, 2011

But the way Anat Hoffman sees it, much remains to be done before this sacred spot can be, in her view, considered truly holy.

She recalls how Israel demolished Palestinian homes after the 1967 war to make way for this plaza.

She has also led a fight to remove the partition that segregates men and women in this outdoor synagogue.

"I would start with paying back and compensating every person who lived here at the Mughrabi neighborhood for this plaza. Only then, I think, we'll be able to tread this wall and feel holiness. Then I'll blow the partition to all hell," she said.

Women and Walls

Mary Brett Koplen, Pardes Summer learner, shares her Rosh Chodesh experience with Women of the Wall. For more of Mary Brett’s writing or to see her original post, visit her website: Where the Gnome Goes (A Traveling Blog). July 10, 2011

I am standing with the Torah for 15 minutes, when a woman with frayed sleeves approaches us. Age points the tips of her shoulders down, and her head is covered in a many colored tichel.

“Sefer Torah?” she asks in a thick accent whose words I barely recognize. “Ken,” we say. Her face breaks into a smile that drips from her eyes, then she is talking in excited Hebrew, throwing her hands into the air, and the woman I am standing with is nodding and saying, “ken, ken, ken.”

I watch as this woman, tears on her face, reaches out for Torah, kissing it, burying her face in its cover, then quickly she pulls herself away and disappears.

Court orders Netanya to help build Reform synagogue

By Jonah Mandel July 14, 2011

The Reform Movement in Israel marked a victory on Thursday, when the Tel Aviv Administrative Court ruled that the city of Netanya must allocate a building for the local Reform community, it committed to do years ago, and renovate it at the municipality’s expense.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv head of the Reform Movement, said that the decision “corrects a historic injustice against the community and the Reform Movement in Israel, and we hope will turn over a new leaf in the relations between the movement and the city’s institutions.

Reform rabbis against boycott law

By Kobi Nahshoni July 16, 2011

Dozens of Reform rabbis have signed a "manifesto" against the boycott bill adopted by the Knesset this week and are calling on the wide public and religious leaders to act against it.

In the letter, members of the Israeli Council of Progressive Rabbis strongly criticize the controversial law, ruling that "it's a mitzvah to protest against it and fight it until it disappears."

Rabbinical Courts Report 2010: Fewer agunot released

Modiin sees surge in divorce rate

By Kobi Nahshoni July 12, 2011

The figures also reveal a sharp drop in rabbinical courts' success in releasing agunot ("chained" women) from their marriages. According to the [Rabbinical courts' report for 2010], 77 agunot were "released" and allowed to marry other men in 2010 after their husbands were located in Israel or abroad and convinced to grant them a divorce, compared to 162 cases in 2009 (-53%).

The courts' figures do not include all women refused a divorce, as some of them are not defined by the courts as agunot, but they point to the judges' extent of success in getting them a divorce.

Religions and Democracy in Israel

By Brian Freedman July 14, 2011

Click here for Photos

More than 50 guests gathered to hear Mr. Darawshe, Yair Sheleg and Rev. Samuil Fanous discuss religions and democracy in Israel, the topic of the ICCI’s annual lecture, which took place on June 22.

Yair Sheleg, an Israeli Jewish journalist and researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, argued that internal reform within religions was paramount to interreligious reform and dialogue, and that the rule of law should be obeyed, “as a religious principle.”

He also discussed the need to separate religion from the State of Israel, criticizing the lack of civil marriages in Israel, for example.

Sheleg, a skullcap-wearing Jew, also emphasized the common values among the three monotheistic religions.

Secular MK Fears Israel Becoming a Religious State

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu July 17, 2011

Knesset Member Daniel Ben-Simon, a former journalist for the left-wing Haaretz newspaper, said at a Sabbath “cultural event” that “a quiet revolution” by the religious community is taking place in Israel.

"I have a feeling the national religious establishment is preparing a long-term plan,” he said in Rehovot.

Enemies or allies? The relations of religions and states

By Rabbi David Rosen July 6, 2011 Collegium Novum, Cracow

The exclusive monopoly of "recognized" denominations denies the principle of the freedom of religion (to which Israel is committed by its Declaration of Independence) to those denominations that are not officially "recognized".

...the Orthodox Jewish monopoly means that the non-Orthodox Jewish denominations are not officially recognized.

The paradoxical result is that Islam and Christianity enjoy a status in Israel that is denied to non-Orthodox Judaism! In other words, the state of Israel provides for a pluralism of religions, but not for Jewish religious pluralism!

This situation will only be rectified with the advent of civil marriage. (In fact a very minimal provision for such is currently being introduced for "those who have no religion” which may well be a harbinger of more significant developments to come.)

Prof. Alice Shalvi receives lifetime achievement award by New Israel Fund and Dafna Fund

By Greer Fay Cashman July 12, 2011

A short list of Shalvi’s achievements includes the establishment of the English literature department at Ben-Gurion University, introducing a revolutionary curriculum at the Pelech experimental school for Orthodox girls, creating the Israel Women’s Network, reaching out to Palestinian women to find common denominators, and most recently a four-year stint as rector of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.

Along the way, there were people who disapproved of both her religious and political activities, but there are arguably more who admired her integrity, her tenacity and her commitment to equality, peace and justice.

Prof. Alice Shalvi Receives New Israel Fund Award for Social Leadership July 14, 2011

Prof. Alice Shalvi was awarded NIF and Dafna's Fund Prize for social and feminist leadership during the NIF Board meeting in Jerusalem earlier this month.

In a highly moving ceremony, she was commended for her inspiring leadership and significant contribution to feminism, religious pluralism, separation of synagogue and state, social justice and equality and human rights.

Click here for embedded video

Is Israel ready for a SlutWalk of its own?

By Alona Ferber July 12, 2011

Anat Hoffman, director of the Israel Religious Action Center, and chairwoman of advocacy group Women of the Wall, welcomes minority efforts to reclaim public space, but argues that SlutWalk raises issues that “will take another two generations for Israelis to deal with.”

“The idea of modesty in the Jewish doctrine is so huge, going in the street and saying I can wear what I want touches a very deep nerve in Israeli society,” she says.

Israeli kindergarteners to be required to sing national anthem weekly

By Asaf Shtull-Trauring July 14, 2011

Beginning this September, Jewish nursery and kindergarten teachers will be required to open the week with the raising of the Israeli flag and the singing of "Hatikva," in accordance with new directives issued by the Education Ministry.

Respecting Hatikva Editorial July 15, 2011

We believe, along with the education minister, that the state has the right and the obligation to use the public school system to help strengthen its citizens’ national identity.

...In a state that defines itself as both Jewish and democratic, the right to respectfully refuse must be respected alongside the right of the state to try to inculcate its citizens with patriotism.

Jewish Unity and the State of Israel

By Rabbi Ehrenkrantz Opinion July 10, 2011

Rabbi Ehrenkrantz is the President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, PA.

We must maintain our engagement with and commitment to a safe and secure Israel.

However instead of depending solely on Israel to be the unifying factor for Jews worldwide, we must find additional and tangible ways to live our connections to Judaism and to other Jews, wherever we find ourselves.

Nefesh B'Nefesh brings new immigrants to Israel July 11, 2011

Nefesh B’Nefesh is expecting to welcome 245 new immigrants to Israel on Tuesday morning, arriving on the organization’s first chartered flight of Olim for the summer.

Hundreds of new immigrants arrive in Israel

By Jeremy Sharon July 12, 2011

On Tuesday, 245 North Americans were brought to Israel by Nefesh b Nefesh on a chartered flight dedicated for the new immigrants, in partnership with the Jewish Agency. The new arrivals ranged in age from a two-month old baby to an 81-year old man who made aliyah with his wife.

On the flight were 45 families with 103 children, 51 singles, 15 people going in to the army, six dogs and a cat, and they came from states as diverse as Arizona, Colorado and New York as well as from Canada.

Can One Be an American Zionist Rabbi?

By Benjamin Resnick Opinion July 12, 2011

Benjamin Resnick is in his third year of rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and just returned from an academic year in Jerusalem.

So although recent hand wringing about whether or not the new generation of liberal rabbis is committed to Israel is misplaced — we overwhelmingly are committed — our current discourse on the subject could use a healthy dose of honesty about what the challenges are.

By all means we need to talk about politics, and by all means we need to support dialogue between Israelis and American Jews. But we also need to turn our attention inward and think carefully about how (and if) we can integrate these conflicting values.

Debating Peoplehood July 13, 2011

...If we wish to ground “the peoplehood agenda” in meaning and intention, we must fully embrace the Jewish social justice values that clarify our collective purpose and anchor Jewish identity today.


President, American Jewish World Service

New York, NY

The Real Peoplehood Problem

By Daniel Septimus Opinion July 15, 2011

Daniel Septimus is the CEO of MyJewishLearning, Inc., publisher of and

Galperin’s peoplehood agenda is an emperor without clothes — not because the agenda is limited to brainstorming, but because there is no essential substance to “peoplehood.”

What is the content of Galperin’s “bond of peoplehood”? What is this bonded people supposed to do? What values do they cherish and share? What mission do they work to achieve?

3,000 party at Taglit Mega-Event' at Ramat Gan

By Jeremy Sharon July 17, 2011

Around 3,000 participants on Taglit-Birthright’s summer programs attended the organization’s “Mega- Event,” on Thursday night on the campus of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, the second of two such parties this summer.

Jerusalem planning board okays Museum of Tolerance plan

By Nir Hasson July 13, 2011

The Jerusalem district planning and building committee yesterday approved the plans for the city's controversial Museum of Tolerance.

Though the new plan widely diverges from Gehry's, the Wiesenthal Center didn't submit it as a new plan; it instead asked the committee to treat it as a set of changes to the old one, which is a much quicker process.

The Wiesenthal Center said neither the area of the museum nor its purpose has changed since the original plan, so there was no need to begin the approval process from scratch.

Jerusalem Museum of Tolerance gets final OK

By Ronen Mezini July 12, 2011

The authorization of the planning committee marks a significant landmark, and construction of the museum is slated to begin within the next few months. The controversial building will include a library, convention center and a theatre.

'Jewish Eurovision' strikes again

By Liron Nagler-Cohen July 14, 2011

After 20 years, the "Jewish Eurovision" is making a comeback: Close to 30 Jewish communities from across the world are sending representatives to the world's biggest Jewish song contest, Hallelujah, which will be held on August 25 in Ramat Hasharon.

Telling porkies - When pigs fly

By Ronit Vered July 15, 2011 (see 2nd article)

Photo posted with permission

Jeffrey Yoskowitz spent his time in the Holy Land on pig-related travels, visiting Kibbutz Mizra in the north and the “pork triangle” in Jerusalem (the area in the capital where there are delis that sell pork products), and conducting hundreds of interviews with pig breeders, pig sellers, chefs and pork-eaters of all kinds. These interviews were also the inspiration for the Pork Memoirs blog.

“I understand and identify with both sides − Israelis who eat pork and those who don’t − though I’m opposed to the kind of extreme violence that leads to the burning down of shops that sell the meat,” he says.

“I often wonder what Herzl, the visionary of the Jewish state, would have thought about the issue of pork in Israel. I think he would actually have been pleased to see pork chops on the menu of an Israeli restaurant.”

Religion and State in Israel

July 18, 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 18, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

July 18, 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.

Women banned from economic conference

By Omri Efraim July 12, 2011

The conference organizers confirmed that women were refused entry, explaining on behalf of Hamodia and the production company that the event was a private function for a public with certain values, and that women were banned for modesty reasons.

The added that this was not a case of sexual discrimination, as Hamodia organized conference exclusively for women twice a year.

Mickey Gitzin, director of the Be Free movement, told Ynet that "whoever thought the exclusion would stop with the segregated bus lines realizes now that this is a much wider phenomenon taking place in conferences and community centers.

"It's important to remember that the Convention Center is not a private institution, but is subsidized by the Jerusalem Municipality and Jewish Agency, who should condemn and prevent such phenomena."

VIDEO: Women banned from economic conference (Hebrew)

Click here for embedded video

(If you see an ad, click right arrow to advance to video. Allow time to load.)

Ultra-Orthodox bar women from major Jerusalem economic conference

By Frances Raday Opinion July 13, 2011

The author chairs the Concord Research Center for Integration of International Law in Israel at the Haim Striks School of Law, Colman College of Management.

Women who came to last week's Management Forum conference in Jerusalem, hosted by the Haredi newspaper Hamodia, were not allowed to participate - the event was for men only.

...The more the ultra-Orthodox enter the workforce, the more women are going to find themselves marginalized and excluded.

The solution has to be clearly conditioning the use of public resources, public spaces and the political arena on equal access and participation for all Israelis, including women.

The lack of political will evinced by the Knesset and the government will no doubt once again leave the Supreme Court as Israel's only guardian of liberal democracy.

Male-Only Economics Conference Raises Difficult Questions

By Allison Kaplan Sommer July 15, 2011

So if the conference hadn’t been held in a publicly owned facility — and the fact that it was limited to men made clear from the outset — would banning women have been acceptable? Should the public officials have accepted their invitations to speak?

If ultra-Orthodox executives uncomfortable networking with women aren’t going to attend mainstream conferences, should they be barred from holding their own privately sponsored sex-segregated events? If so, should comparable women-only events also be outlawed?

Deferentially progressive

By Kamon Ben-Shimon July 3, 2011

The eldest daughter of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the revered (by his followers) and controversial (to everyone else) spiritual leader of the ultra- Orthodox Sephardi party Shas, Bar Shalom defies most stereotypes about Haredi women.

“There is nothing attractive about poverty,” she says, but immediately adds that she has no intention of “tempting yeshiva boys to leave the world of Torah. I approach only those who have already taken that step.”

...“We have no intention to change anything in the Haredi way of life. Torah studying always comes first, but if a man cannot study, why should he stagnate in poverty? Why should he work for a low salary instead of acquiring a higher education that will allow him a life of comfort? Haredi and poverty are not doomed to go together.”

“We have to build a world in which there are Haredi doctors, and Haredi psychologists, who come from the Haredi world and understand our special needs. So if there are girls who have the grades and want to study medicine – why shouldn’t they be allowed to?”

And what are the chances of success? Bar- Shalom says of herself, “I not only know how to dream – I’m pretty good at fulfilling these dreams, too.” She adds, “Of course, with God’s help.”

Haredi radio to play women's voices?

By Kobi Nahshoni July 14, 2011

Ultra-Orthodox radio station Kol Barama will soon start playing women's voices on its programs, The Second Authority for Television and Radio decided during a meeting last week.

The issue was addressed following complaints filed with the Second Authority against the station's refusal to have women present programs or call in as listeners.

Kol Barama operates as part of a Second Authority franchise and is one of two haredi radio stations (along with Kol Hai Radio). It is defined as a "religious Sephardic" station.

Haredim want Jerusalem high-tech park for housing

By Yuval Azulai July 14, 2011

United Torah Judaism Jerusalem city councilmen have a new cause: shut down the capital's Har Hotzvim high-tech park and clear the area for residences. The haredi party is the largest party on the city council, with eight seats.

In a letter to Mayor Nir Barkat, party chairman in the city, Yaakov Halperin, said that the current location of the high-tech park was illogical because it is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, including Sanhedria, Kiryat Zanz, Ezrat Torah, Ramat Shlomo, as well as Ramot.

Kadima MK Schneller: End boycott of Zionists in High Rabbinical Court

By Jonah Mandel July 18, 2011

A key member of the Committee for Appointing Rabbinical Judges is warning he will prevent new rabbinic judges joining the High Rabbinical Court of Appeals, if a Zionist rabbi is not one of them.

For six months, the committee has been unsuccessful in filling the four vacant places in that court. Last Wednesday was supposed to be when the new judges would be appointed, but MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) who serves as one of the Knesset committee members, said on Sunday he wouldn’t let the appointments take place since only haredim were final candidates on last week’s shortlist.

A Haredi city on the horizon

By Zafrir Rinat July 18, 2011

Just over a week ago, the future ultra-Orthodox city of Harish came closer to reality, after the National Planning and Building Council voted in favor of its master plan.

...Yigal Shahar, formerly director of the northern and Haifa districts of the Interior Ministry, simply accepts the government position that the Haredi population in the country needs a city in this region - even if it's at the expense of the existing secular population of the town, who will soon find themselves in an ultra-Orthodox locale with about 50,000 residents.

Haredi Women Branch into Architecture and Interior Design

By Aryeh Ben Hayim July 12, 2011

Haredi women have already made their mark in the software industry, and now with the growing sophistication of the Israeli housing market, they are entering the world of architecture and design.

This phenomenon can be witnessed at the Houses and Designs 2011 Exhibit, which attracts Israel's major companies, and this year featured lectures and professional workshops that took account of the participants' modesty requirements and standards.

Shas: Don't allow Ashkelon students to tour churches

Ashkelon Students Won’t Tour Churches

By Elad Benari July 15, 2011

Former Deputy Mayor of Ashkelon and current councilman Shimon Cohen of Shas:

“It’s a very serious issue that after two thousand years during which we were scattered among the nations and finally came to our State to maintain a Jewish character that students are taken to visit churches.”

“...Anyone who wants to visit churches should do it privately and not in public, let alone through school which is supposed to teach Jewish values.”

'Ovadia Yosef backs placing girls in Haredi schools'

By Jonah Mandel July 14, 2011

Senior Sephardi adjudicator and Shas’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is supporting the newly formed Education Ministry committees to find high schools for haredi girls, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Meshulam Nahari (Shas) said on Wednesday, but hinted that a solution from within the schools could render the new bodies unnecessary.

Rabbi Elyashiv wants Educ Ministry out of placement of Haredi schoolgirls

By Yair Ettinger July 13, 2011

The independent Hinuch Atzmai ultra-Orthodox education system may be on another collision course with the Education Ministry after Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Elyashiv instructed the principals of Haredi schools not to cooperate with the ministry in placing girls in the independent schools.

Education Ministry: Principals won't assign girls to Haredi schools

By Jonah Mandel July 13, 2011

The Education Ministry has, with the formation of a new committee, expropriated from the hands of principals the power to assign high school girls to haredi institutions, as pressure on the ministry grows to find solutions for what is regarded as racial discrimination against Sephardi girls.

[Attorney Yoav Laloum of the Noar Kahalacha NGO] said in response to Shoshani’s letter that “after dozens of years of discrimination in haredi educational establishments, the Education Ministry is finally cleaning things up. But this measure is too late and too little.

The ministry should entirely cancel the enrollment process, since it is based on quotas that limit Sephardim and discriminate against them.”

Torah and Military Inethics

By Rabbi Gil Student Opinion July 14, 2011

Torat HaMelech, a book published last year by two rabbis in Israel, has been lambasted by Israeli media and government as racist and an incitement to violence.

Confident that most if not all commentators on the book failed to understand, and probably even to read, the book, I set out to discover for myself the truth about its contents.

While the media got a lot wrong about the book and failed entirely to explain its creative thesis, they were right about the book being racist.

Police confiscate booklets in support of Rabbi Lior July 14, 2011

A student of the "Nir" Hesder yeshiva in the Judean Jewish community of Kiryat Arba, headed by Rabbi Dov Lior, was briefly detained by police Thursday in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, while en route to the Samarian Jewish community of Beit El, where he hoped to deliver 40 copies of a booklet put out by other students at the yeshiva in support of Rabbi Lior.

Do not desecrate the image of God

By Rabbi Barry Leff Opinion July 12, 2011

The writer is a business executive and rabbi. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rabbis for Human Rights. Opinions expressed here are his own.

This is not a clash between halacha and secular Western values. It is not a clash between the different Jewish denominations – there are Reform and Conservative rabbis who think “Purity of Arms” is too strict, and there are Orthodox halachic authorities, like R. Ovadiah Yosef, who have criticized Torat Hamelech.

This is a clash for the soul of Judaism. Do we want Judaism equated with the most backward elements of Islam? Or are we going to celebrate our universal values and have Israel take its place as a “light unto the nations?” The choice is ours.

‘Torat Hamelech’ controversy

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion July 15, 2011

The writer is director of Jewish Media Resources, has written a regular column in The Jerusalem Post Magazine since 1997, and is the author of eight biographies of modern Jewish leaders.

I have not read Torah Hamelech, and cannot comment on its contents. But Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv, the most prominent living halachic decisor, has condemned the work for reasons similar to those that shocked me in that long-ago debate – it places Jews around the world in danger.

And Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, son-in-law of the late halachic giant Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach withdrew his letter of approbation from the book because of “certain conclusions that are not halachically correct,” and others that defy common sense.

At the same time, I have difficulty conceiving what could have led Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan (who runs a unit that deals with the settler community) and the police to take the extraordinary step of seizing printed copies of Torat Hamelech and then summoning rabbis Dov Lior and Ya’acov Yosef (who had given letters of approbation to the work) for questioning.

IDF officer: Yeshiva in West Bank settlement harbors 'Jewish terror' and must be shut down

By Anshel Pfeffer July 17, 2011

GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi said Saturday that the yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar must be shut down since it functions as a source of terror that must be dealt with.

Speaking to ‘Meet the Press’ on Channel 2 television, Mizrahi stated that several of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva leaders hold views that are not “consistent with democracy”, although they represent only a small minority of the settler community.

New: 'Kosher' preventive driving course

By Ari Galahar July 11, 2011

The Transportation Ministry has opened segregated preventive driving courses for ultra-Orthodox men wishing to avoid studying alongside women.

In a bid to reach out to the haredi public, the Transportation Ministry is holding the segregated classes on different days than the classes held for all other drivers.

Six police officers hurt in clashes with ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem

By Nir Hasson July 13, 2011

The clashes began after police had come to the neighborhood of Mea She’arim to close down an illegal slaughterhouse.

Haredim throw rocks at police in Mea Shearim

By Jonah Mandel July 13, 2011

Police were accompanying tax authority and municipality officials who raided the chicken slaughterhouse belonging to Yoelish Krois, the unofficial "operations officer" of the Eda Haredit, the small anti-Zionist extreme haredi group. Krois was arrested during the raid. His business has been operating for some ten years without the proper licenses.

Eda Haredit to mark 100 weeks of Karta lot protests

By Jonah Mandel July 15, 2011

Last week, secular protesters arrived in clown garb. They say police are not doing enough to ensure the freedom of passage on that route from haredi blockage and stones. It is the last main artery open in the area now that Jaffa Road has been closed in favor of the light rail due to start operations on August 19.

This Saturday’s ultra-Orthodox demonstration will be held on Rehov Hanevi’im due to the presence of summertime tourists in immodest dress near the Karta garage, Pappenheim said. To expose the young Eda Haredit men to such spectacles would be counterproductive, he said.

Eda Haredit rabbis: Resume parking lot protests

By Kobi Nahshoni July 15, 2011

The Eda Haredit leadership is forbidding women to take part in the demonstration as well, stressing that "supervisors on behalf of the Badatz (court of justice) will oversee the aforementioned."

800 ultra-Orthodox protesters attempt to block Jerusalem road

By Nir Hasson July 16, 2011

Secular residents claim that the police are turning a blind eye to ultra-Orthodox efforts to block traffic on the street every Saturday, with hundreds of religious men often resorting to violence in a bid to prevent cars from desecrating Shabbat.

Jerusalem protest: Eda Haredit Haredim fight for Shabbat

By Omri Efraim July 16, 2011

"Senior rabbis arrived at the site. The protest was conducted relatively peacefully, yet upon the rabbis' departure the violence grew and was accompanied by stone-throwing," he said.

In the past month, Jerusalem residents reported violent assaults by haredim while traveling on HaNevi'im Street on Shabbat. Saturday's protest also drew some seculars, who arrived at the site to protest against what they characterized as "haredi thuggery."

Ultra-Orthodox target non-kosher deli in non-religious neighborhood

By Yori Yalon July 15, 2011

The Laguna delicatessen, which opened just one week ago on busy Jaffa Road in the city's center, is just outside the large and growing ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Makor Baruch. The shop sells seafood and non-kosher meat products.

Representatives of the religious community quickly made it clear to the shop owner that he should immediately stop offering non-kosher foods.

The Ability to Claim and the Opportunity to Imagine: Rights Consciousness and the Education of Ultra-Orthodox Girls

Shulamit Almog University of Haifa - Faculty of Law, Lotem Perry-Hazan University of Haifa - Faculty of Law; University of Haifa - Faculty of Education - Journal of Law and Education, Vol. 40

The Israeli Ultra-Orthodox education for girls offers a unique opportunity to explore our contentions, since it combines wide general education with extreme messages of gender inequality.

We demonstrate that their wide general education is not sufficient to empower the Ultra-Orthodox girls.

The lack of human rights knowledge, together with community and gender obstacles, prevents them from reaching the domain of human rights as mature women.

This deficiency of rights consciousness affects their ability to define problematic situations they encounter as violations of their human rights and to imagine a wide and open horizon, leading towards personal growth.

Haredi women trained as engineers

By David Regev July 15, 2011

Some 800 ultra-Orthodox women have been trained as software engineers, architects and graphic artists, according to a new study conducted by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.

Jewish group fights beach harassment

By Yair Altman July 17, 2011

The Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land (Lehava) has decided to start "defending the daughters of Israel" on the country's beaches.

According to the organization, many Arab men are posing as Jews, courting and harassing the beautiful women. In response, a "coast guard" aimed at fighting the alleged phenomenon has been set up.

South Korean envoy visits Bnei Brak

By Yoav Zitun July 18, 2011

After telling Ynet about the Talmud being a bestseller in South Korea, Ambassador Young Sam Ma was invited to tour the Israeli city of Torah studies – Bnei Brak – in order to witness the centrality of the ancient rabbinic writings in the lives of the city's residents up close.

Young told his hosts that his wife had bought him all of the Talmud volumes as a birthday present.

See also: Why Koreans study Talmud

PHOTO Gallery: Na Nach: The Hasidic Jewish Party to Bring Redemption

By Zachary A. Bennett July 12, 2011

Click here for PHOTO Gallery

I recently had the chance to tag along with three Na Nachs for a day. We started in the center of Tel Aviv at the Shuk Carmel, an open-air market and one of the biggest tourist traps in the city.

As soon as we parked, my friends jumped out of the van and broke into dance for about 10 minutes. Locals and tourists alike gathered around to watch their moves.

After cutting a serious rug, the Na Nachs grabbed a pull-out table from the back of the van and stacked it with many religious books, creating an impromptu book store.

Extensions to Mount of Olives mosque illegal, says city

By Melanie Lidman July 13, 2011

Right-wing activists are condemning the Jerusalem Municipality for failing to stop the illegal expansion of a controversial mosque in the Mount of Olives cemetery that has tripled in size since last fall.

The mosque, located next to the rotary at the main entrance of the Ras el-Amud neighborhood, was built in the 1950s, when Jordan controlled the area.

Second Temple artifacts may be buried under Ein Karem toilet

By Nir Hasson July 15, 2011

Have the Tourism Ministry and the Jerusalem municipality buried treasures from the Second Temple under a giant lavatory? That possibility is just one of the problems cited by opponents of a plan to improve a spring in the city's Ein Karem neighborhood, at one of Israel's most important Christian tourism sites.

After clearing mines along border, Israel opens Jesus baptism site on the Jordan River

AP July 12, 2011

Israel opened the traditional baptism site of Jesus to daily visits Tuesday, a move that required the cooperation of Israel’s military and the removal of nearby mines in the West Bank along the border with Jordan.

The location, where many believe John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan River, is one of the most important sites in Christianity.

Majorcan Descendants of Spanish Jews Who Converted Are Recognized as Jews

By Doreen Carvajal July 11, 2011

Centuries after the Spanish Inquisition led to the forced conversion of Jews to Catholicism, an ultra-orthodox rabbinical court in Israel has issued a religious ruling that recognizes descendants from the insular island of Majorca as Jews.

Chuetas of Majorca recognized as Jewish

By Jeremy Sharon July 12, 2011

Because the Chuetas are related to the previous generations and married among themselves they should be considered Jewish, Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund told reporters that Rabbi Nissim Karlewitz, chairman of the Beit Din Tzedek (rabbinical court) in Bnei Brak, wrote in a letter to the organization.

See also: The return of Mallorca’s Chuetas

A black and white issue

By Asaf Shtull-Trauring July 18, 2011

Only one of the 294 pupils at the Ner Etzion Elementary School in Petah Tikva is not of Ethiopian origin. As a result, the school has become a symbol of the difficulties involved in integrating the Ethiopian community in the city - and now the struggle has become even more acute.

...The struggle is not limited to Ner Etzion, which is part of the state religious stream.

Barak reinstates Har Bracha as high yeshiva, not ‘hesder'

By Jonah Mandel July 12, 2011

In what seems a significant move to bury the hatchet, the Defense Ministry on Monday said they have decided to recognize Yeshiva Har Bracha as part of the institutions where students can defer military service in order to learn Torah.

In December 2009, Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced the yeshiva would no longer be part of the arrangement, or hesder, under which men combine 16 months in the army with close to four years studying in yeshiva.

Court orders mother to save child

By Yoram Yarkoni July 11, 2011

A court ruled that a 13-year-old girl suffering from cancer must have her hand amputated – otherwise she will die. The ruling came after the girl's mother refused to authorize the operation, claiming the only treatment her daughter requires is fasting and prayer.

By Faith Alone: The Story of Rabbi Yehuda Amital

By Prof. Jonathan L. Friedmann Opinion July 11, 2011

It is, of course, impossible in a short review to recount more than a few vignettes from a biography of a man as singular and multifaceted as Yehuda Amital.

Reichner’s book is a significant contribution to research on Amital, and speaks to larger issues of religion and politics in Israel, and the diversity of Orthodox Jewish thought—a reality frequently blurred over by outsiders and insiders alike.

Peres gives Deri green light for return to public life

By Greer Fay Cashman July 14, 2011

Regardless of attempts by some Knesset members to introduce legislation which will permanently bar former Shas leader Aryeh Deri from returning to public life and running for the Knesset in the next elections, President Shimon Peres believes that Deri, a convicted felon, has paid his debt to society and should therefore be allowed to serve the public in the Knesset once more.

Incarcerated former minister asked to help Katzav acclimate to prison life

By Yaniv Kubovich July 18, 2011

Katsav, who was convicted in December 2010 and sentenced in March 2011, would also be incarcerated at Ma’asiyahu and is expected to be placed in the wing for Orthodox prisoners.

Prison officials consider Benizri to be widely admired by the Orthodox prisoners with whom he studies Torah every day, and they believe therefore that he could help see to it that Katsav’s first few weeks pass relatively smoothly.

Religion and State in Israel

July 18, 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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