Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - January 16, 2012 (Section 2)

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

By Moran Azulay www.ynetnews.com January 16, 2012

The Israeli Forum for Equal Service condemned the cabinet's intentions to once again extend the law and claimed that the law has failed.
"It is sad to see that the prime minister is ignoring a petition signed by 50 major generals and lieutenant colonels which was sent to him with a demand to change the law," was the forum's official response.

By Attila Somfalvi www.ynetnews.com January 16, 2012

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during an Independence faction meeting that "The Tal Law hasn't fulfilled the hopes we had for it 10 years ago. 

In my opinion the right thing to do is to extend it by one year old, and in the mean time find a new solution."

www.jpost.com January 16, 2012

"We should form an organization to reestablish the Tal Law," he said at a meeting of his Independence party.

"The army should decide who it wants, and the rest should go to national service."

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 16, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the government intends to approve the extension of the Tal Law for another five years.
Netanyahu said the decision will be brought for ministerial approval on Sunday.

By Moran Azulay www.ynetnews.com January 16, 2012

"In 2011 there were 2,400 who enlisted in the military and civic service. Out of that 1,282 enlisted into the IDF. That's a 40% rise when compared to last year. From 2008 the numbers triples."

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com January 16, 2012

The Israel Defense Forces' decision to prohibit Orthodox soldiers from boycotting events at which women sing has claimed yet another casualty, as secular-religious tensions continue to mount.

Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, head of the Elon Moreh yeshiva and a prominent religious Zionist figure, has informed pupils of his intention to quit his post in protest against the General Staff's decision.

...In explaining his decision, Levanon added that he wants to be able to speak freely about women singing, without the yeshiva or its pupils "being harmed by such pronouncements."

By Yoav Zitun www.ynetnews.com January 10, 2012

Air Force Rabbi Lieutenant-Colonel Moshe Raved will not continue in his current position but will continue to serve in the corps. 

The decision was reached in a meeting Raved held with Air Force Commander Brigadier General Edo Nehoshtan.

By Gili Cohen www.haaretz.com January 11, 2012

Less than a week after resigning his position in a program integrating Haredi men into the army, the chief rabbi of the air force has been dismissed from his chaplaincy post, the IDF announced yesterday.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 11, 2012

[Shahar Ilan, the vice president of Hiddush] added that he had received numerous calls in the last two weeks from the ultra-Orthodox community asking him why the army is seemingly working to destroy the project.

“Shahar [Haredim in IDF] is the basis on which a new, more moderate haredi community is being built,” Ilan continued, citing the statistic that more than 90 percent of soldiers who served in the program were now employed. “We must not let it fail.”

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 11, 2012

UTJ MK Moshe Gafni said: “Today, because of the decision of the General Staff, and the IDF Chief Rabbi's hesitation, a haredi Jew who comes to me and says ‘I’m going to [the] Shahar [army program for haredi men],’ in the past I would have said ‘great, good luck to you.’ 

Today I say don’t enlist, because their intention is to change you into a different person.”

http://hiddush.org January 11, 2012

Therefore, we demand that you oppose the Tal Law that will come to the Knesset in the next year, and to legally require military or national service to all citizens of Israel. Until you draft all 18-year-old citizens, true Zionism cannot exist here.

This is a simple and zionist promise: If you won’t do it, we will bring change.
To see the Facebook page in Hebrew, click here www.facebook.com/profile.php

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com January 9, 2012

Soldiers and yeshiva students from severa Hesder yeshivas have called on Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz to reconsider his order to forbid religious troops from leaving official IDF ceremonies that include women singing.

The letter, sent to Gantz on Monday after it was first circulated among the students, claimed that "enforcing the attendance of religious soldiers when women are singing is in direct opposition to the Jewish Halacha and is in fact secular coercion, which goes against the principles of liberty, equality and justice in general and the spirit of the IDF particularly."

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion www.haaretz.com January 13, 2012

It is impossible to predict how the ultra-Orthodox community will evolve in this new era of choice. 

Will rabbis try and rival each other with excessively hardline edicts, or will there be competition with those trying to liberalize Haredi ideology, making it more compatible with a modern lifestyle? Most likely we will see both these developments simultaneously.

As the last of the generation of rabbis born in the early 20th century close their eyes, an age of rabbinical hegemony is coming to an end.

By Hila Weisberg, Eran Azran http://english.themarker.com January 13, 2012

Referring to the norm of Haredi men studying Torah instead of working, [Rabbi MK Chaim Amsellem]
said, "Tens of thousands are chained within a study framework that doesn't always suit them. 

The Haredi public is tired of being called parasitic and accused of not serving in the army, but it doesn't know what to do about it. They're trapped. People with financial interests, standing and power tell them, 'Don't open your mouth, you're hanging out your dirty laundry in public.'"

By Michael Lipkin Opinion www.lipkinfamily.com January 15, 2012

As Americans, which most of us are, we have such an ingrained sense of personal liberty that there was, and is, no way we are going to back down let these people walk all over us.

We’ll defend your right to practice your religion however you want, but if you don’t let us do the same then we will be in your face big time.

... "What’s going on here is about much more than the sleeve lengths of 8 year old girls; it’s about politics, control, and limited resources.

By Joshua Mitnick www.csmonitor.com January 11, 2012

"It takes a lot to shock Israelis, because they've seen so much here. They don't have time to think about other things," says Orly Erez Lihovsky, a lawyer for the Israel Religious Action Center. 

"It's at a stage where it can't be ignored anymore."

By Rabbi Naftali Brawer Opinion www.thejc.com January 16, 2012
Dr Naftali Brawer is an ordained ­Orthodox rabbi and the chief executive of Spiritual Capital Foundation.

Charedi leaders must move beyond strongly-worded condemnations of the symptoms and begin targeting the cause. 

They must try to recapture what was best about Charediyut while offloading its uglier current manifestations.

By Catrina Stewart www.independent.co.uk January 10, 2012

Meanwhile, the women within these communities are afraid to speak out, says Hannah Kehat, founder of Kolech, an ultraorthodox women's group. 

"It's social control. If they [the women] go against somebody, the [extremists] exclude them, tell people they are not religious enough, attack them, say bad things about their families," says Ms Kehat, who grew up in Mea Shearim. "It's terror," she adds.

By Rachel Sarafraz www.jpost.com January 10, 2012

Ultra-Orthodox organization Eda Haredit (Badatz) slammed government intervention seeking to prevent gender segregation in the public sphere, in a flyer posted online on Monday.

According to the flyer, the government "recently burdened the world of the god-fearing," and used deception to wage war against barriers seeking to protect modesty and holiness.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 11, 2012

The letter, which appeared on posters in haredi (ultra- Orthodox) Jerusalem neighborhoods on Monday night, was written in the name of Rabbi Tuviah Weiss, the head of the Eda Haredit rabbinical court, and his deputy Rabbi Moshe Shternboch.

By William Kolbrener Opinion www.forward.com January 11, 2012
William Kolbrener, professor of English literature at Bar-Ilan University, is the author of, most recently,“Open Minded Torah, of Irony, Fundamentalism and Love” (Continuum, 2011).”

In a paradoxical and surprising way, ultra-Orthodox Jews — who mostly dismiss Freud’s thought — are more Freudian than Freud himself. As a result of this hyper-consciousness, they create a repressive culture of silence.

I do not want my girls constantly policing themselves, nor do I want to be surrounded by men who, in autocratic and arbitrary fashion, justify their discriminatory attitudes. 

I do want women, including my four daughters, to participate in the public sphere — without fear.

By Rabbi Dov Litman Opinion www.jewishpress.com January 16, 2012

Yes, it is true. I, as a Haredi with right wing political leanings, stood on the same stage with representatives of Yisrael Chofshit, Hitorirut Yerushalayim, and Meretz – three secular and very left wing groups – at the massive rally in Bet Shemesh on the last night of Chanukah.

...I have been stunned at the venom with which people have written about these “left wing” and “anti-religious” groups. Have those critics ever taken the time to actually talk to representatives of these groups? 

Yes, I disagree with these groups about many fundamental ideas but sitting with them during the planning of the demonstration taught me so much.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 12, 2012

Rabbi Dov Lipman, who has been campaigning against ultra-Orthodox extremism in Beit Shemesh, has threatened to sue Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbol for libel following his recent interview in the weekly magazine Ami on January 4.

Lipman, who heads the Committee to Save Beit Shemesh, has taken particular issue with how Abutbol described him as having “fought against every building that went up to house haredim, night and day.” 

Abutbol also said in the interview that he “condemn[s] Dov Lipman and his cohorts who have been a thorn in the side of Bet Shemesh for years.”

By Rabbi Michael Knopf Opinion www.haaretz.com January 11, 2012
Michael Knopf is the Assistant Rabbi of Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, and a recent graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles.

Jews and non-Jews need to know that the Haredi-Fundamentalist community does not represent true Judaism or hold a monopoly on Jewish authenticity.

There are decidedly non-fundamentalist approaches to Judaism that are viable, vibrant, and valid.
The Jewish future can only and must only be won by a Judaism that integrates religious and scientific truths, a Judaism that values both tradition and modernity.

By Anna Wexler www.unpious.com January 18, 2012

This film contains different narrative threads: there are stories about leaving, stories about leaving and coming back, and stories of never leaving at all. 

In some ways, my story is different from those of other Unpious readers: I grew up in the Modern Orthodox community and so the scars of my painful departure from Orthodox Judaism are not visible on the outside. 

But on the inside—where it counts—I believe we suffered the same trauma, of experiencing the whole universe as a rug that has been suddenly been pulled from beneath you.

By William Kolbrener Opinion http://openmindedtorah.com January 13, 2012

‘Please remove me from your list.’
After writing my last piece in the Jewish Daily Forward about women in the ultra-orthodox community, I received a lot of emails like that.

...Finally, to the American rabbi who wrote me, telling me knowingly: ‘you see, you cannot live in the ultra-orthodox world in Israel. I told you so.’   I would have to say, you are right, it is hard to live in Israel.  But – and this was my motivation for writing my Forward article – I have seven children, four of them girls, and I want the world they live in – they are Israeli – to be better for them.

So can we talk?
I hope so; my kids are counting on it.

By Yaakov Lappin and Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 15, 2012

Six men from the ultra- Orthodox community in Jerusalem and a bank clerk were arrested early Sunday morning, on suspicion of embezzling millions of shekels in charitable funds, along with other financial crimes.

The arrests follow an undercover investigation led by Jerusalem Police and the Tax Authority, which lasted for several months, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

According to the police, a team of fund-raisers working out of a Mea She’arim office since 2000 collected funds from donors in Israel and abroad, claiming that the money would be used to help elderly people, widows, orphans and others in need.

The suspects allegedly ran an extensive charity appeal network, and deposited the cash they raised into an account at a branch of Mercantile Bank in Mea She’arim, before transferring it to several accounts that were not declared to charitable regulators.

From there, the money was allegedly funneled to “sections of the [haredi] community,” Rosenfeld said. Some of the cash was used to buy apartments for yeshiva students, police suspect.

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com January 16, 2012

Includes Photo Gallery
Two leading extremist ultra-Orthodox figures were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of tax fraud and money laundering, sparking Haredi riots in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 15, 2012

Nachman, a bystander who claimed to be a nephew of Shapira, said the ultra-Orthodox community just wanted to be left in peace.

“We don’t want to interfere with the seculars and we don’t want them to interfere with us in our neighborhoods,” he said.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com January 15, 2012

Earlier, more than 30 rabbis from the Eda Haredit marched towards the Russian Compound police station where they prayed.

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com January 15, 2012

Eda Haredit leader Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss said that the arrest of the six is as if he himself was arrested.

By Telem Yahav www.ynetnews.com January 14, 2012

The State Prosecutor's Office has filed an indictment this week against two brothers who molested their younger sister, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.

The abuse continued for years after a rabbi advised the parents against involving to the police, saying that such incidents "happen in many families."

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 16, 2012

MK Meir Sheetrit’s law proposes to abolish the Law for Jewish Religious Services of 1971, through which local religious councils were established, close all local religious councils, and create religious services departments within local municipalities to provide the same services which the councils currently do.

By Israel Moskovitz www.ynetnews.com January 13, 2012

When Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger tried to raise the Torah scroll at Kibbutz Ein Harod, he found it particularly difficult – the ceiling was too low.
Metzger recently decided to spend Shabbat in the secular kibbutz.

By Amiram Cohen http://english.themarker.com January 10, 2012

The process of obtaining Kashrut certification cannot serve as an excuse to charge extra, at least not in the case of price-controlled food, said Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Agriculture Minister Orit Noked on Monday.

The order follows innumerable complaints that dairy products bearing the Badatz stamp of approval sell for as much as 20% above the government-set price.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 10, 2012

According to a recent kashrut update from the Chief Rabbinate, Häagen-Dazs is not approved by the State Rabbinical Authority, and stores and outlets with kashrut certification that continue to sell the ice cream could lose their kashrut license.

The OU said in response to the rabbinate notice that it continues to give a kashrut certification to Häagen-Dazs “in line with the ruling of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein for peoplewho are not particular about consuming only supervised milk.”

By Ari Galahar www.ynetnews.com January 13, 2012

Senior Chief Rabbinate officials have sent a letter to local rabbis, claiming that Häagen-Dazs ice cream is not kosher and therefore must not be marketed in Israel.

Following an inquiry by Ynet's local portal Mynet, the Shufersal supermarket chain announced that it would pull the ice cream from its shelves.

By Rabbi Gideon D. Sylvester Opinion www.haaretz.com January 12, 2012
Rabbi Gideon Sylvester directs the Rabbis for Human Rights Beit Midrash at the Hillel House of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and serves as the British United Synagogue's Rabbi in Israel.

In Israel, the Bema'aglei Tzedek organization champions decent working conditions for people many of whom have no voice to protest.

Its "Tav Chevrati" or "Seal of Ethical Kashrut" certifies that our restaurants treat their workers properly and that where possible, venues offer facilities for the disabled.

...Now, Bema'aglei Tzedek is encouraging people to sign an on-line pledge to patronize restaurants that fulfill terms of the Tav.

AP www.washingtonpost.com January 15, 2012

Israel’s democracy has long been a point of pride for its citizens — setting the country apart in a region of autocratic governments. But veteran settler leader Benny Katzover says democracy is getting in the way of what he believes is a higher purpose.

“We didn’t come here to establish a democratic state,” Katzover said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We came here to return the Jewish people to their land.”

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 11, 2012

The High Court of Justice decided on Tuesday to delay ruling on a petition by anti-discrimination group Noar Kahalacha until a clearer picture of alleged discrimination against Sephardi girls in haredi (ultra-Orthodox) schools was available.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who was presiding along with Justices Edna Arbel and Uzi Fogelman, recommended that a further hearing be held on July 1, after the school registration process for the 2012/2013 academic year was complete, to determine whether progress had been made in combating the phenomenon.

She requested that both Noar Kahalacha and the Education Ministry provide updates at the upcoming hearing.

By Tal Niv Opinion www.haaretz.com January 16, 2012

In an enlightening talk with Lady Globes last week, Adina Bar-Shalom, the daughter of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, rebuffed the interviewer's remark that the ultra-Orthodox community has earned the labels of "moochers" and "parasites."

"I don't accept that," Bar-Shalom replied, adding that the same way the state supports scientists, so too should it support Haredim who are learning.

"There are many researchers and only one Shechtman; but even so, all scientists are living at the state's expense and getting their salaries from the state."

...one cannot use the term "living at the expense of the state" to create an insipid analogy, which is manipulative and one-sided and doesn't hold up to any measure of scrutiny.

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com January 10, 2012

Shas MK Nissim Zeev, for example, told reporters, "It's natural that such a monster, who is built on hatred of Judaism and will be a second edition of Tommy Lapid, is going to emerge."

Israel Eichler, of United Torah Judaism, said, "Whoever hasn't seen the incitement campaign of recent months as the opening blast of this party are the only ones who can be surprised. We aren't."

By Sefi Rachlevsky Opinion www.haaretz.com January 10, 2012

In all three of the right's losses since 1977, the same factor played a dominant role: Whenever the threat of religious extremism attains the same prominence as external threats, the right is in trouble.

By Ophir Bar-Zohar www.haaretz.com January 13, 2012

Who is likely to be in Lapid's inner circle? Two names that come up repeatedly are those of Herzliya mayor Yael German and Rabbi Shai Piron, a rabbi at Petah Tikva's hesder yeshiva (combining religious studies with military service).

...Piron, who has worked to foster understanding between observant and secular Jews, is a close friend, with whom Lapid shares an interest in education.

By Raphael Magarik http://blogs.forward.com January 13, 2012

“Unorthodox,” a documentary film by Anna Wexler and Nadja Oertelt, is named both for its subjects — questioning and rebellious Orthodox youth — and for its own production process. 

The film follows three Orthodox teenagers as they become more religious during their “gap years” in Israeli yeshivot, but their stories are filtered through Wexler’s own narrative of leaving Modern Orthodoxy after high school.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com January 13, 2012

For the first time in a decade, soldiers in uniform will be allowed to access the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Due to the sensitive nature of the area, which also holds the Dome of the Rock and al-Aksa Mosque, soldiers had been prohibited from entering the area in uniform.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com January 12, 2012

Construction on the controversial Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem (MOTJ) is expected to begin in the coming weeks, despite a number of setbacks including the resignation of the architects.

According to Museum of Tolerance officials, the museum is awaiting the permit to begin digging the foundation, which they expect to receive within the next few weeks.

By Noam Dvir www.haaretz.com January 11, 2012

The architects of the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem have become the latest planners to quit the project, Haaretz has learned.

...According to the Wiesenthal Center, the new plan was intended to reflect "the current global economic situation," costing only $100 million.

The plan includes exhibition spaces, an education center, a theater, an auditorium, offices, a restaurant and a gift shop.

By Gil Shefler www.jpost.com January 13, 2012

Jewish pilgrims should be allowed to visit the grave of a 19th-century sage in Egypt next week to take part in an annual ceremony, a Jewish group told Cairo on Thursday.

The Conference of European Rabbis said Egypt’s decision to prohibit Jews from visiting the burial site of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in the Nile delta this year violated human rights and sent the world a message of religious intolerance.

AP www.haaretz.com January 11, 2012

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had told Israel that it would not be "appropriate" for Israeli pilgrims to make an annual visit to the tomb of a 19th-century Jewish holy man in the Nile Delta, as activists mobilized to block the pilgrimage route.

By Chaim Levinson www.haaretz.com January 13, 2012

For the first time, Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan has filed charges against Jews who make unauthorized visits to Joseph's Tomb on the outskirts of Nablus. Four young men have been indicted at the Kfar Sava Magistrate's Court.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com January 15, 2012

Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, paid a tribute to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in his weekly sermon Saturday night. "He has fallen and I pray to God to save him from his enemies," the rabbi said.

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