Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - January 9, 2012 (Section 2)

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

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion www.haaretz.com January 6, 2012

The Haredi leadership is even more narrow-minded and, out of concern for its own weakening hold on an increasingly independent-minded constituency, is emphasizing obscure chumrot under the bogus banners of modesty and purity as never before in Jewish history.

By Jay Michaelson Opinion www.forward.com January 6, 2012

How many wake-up calls do we need?
… We do not have to sit by passively while the Jewish people devolves. There is much we can do to welcome Haredi Jews into the Jewish family, precisely by actively opposing Haredi values and culture.

By Prof. Shaul Magid Opinion www.religiondispatches.org January 5, 2012

The same Modern Orthodox now protesting for religious freedom and tolerance did very little when the increasingly ultra-Orthodox Israeli Rabbinate and political establishment marginalized non-Orthodox Judaisms, including Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist.

...The modern religious community claims the haredi readings are antiquated. That may be true. But they fail to see the ways in which the Judaism they defend is structurally, albeit not always practically, identical to the Judaism they criticize.

...The Modern Orthodox protesters’ cause in Beit Shemesh is legitimate. Their critique should not, however, be limited to the egregious acts of the haredim, but to the injustices embedded in the very religious system they live by and defend.

By Amnon Levy Opinion www.ynetnews.com January 3, 2012

We need a new social covenant. The old status-quo may have secured political calm, yet caused a flare-up in secular-haredi relations. 

Both sides must be brave and go for a new covenant premised on a simple principle: Life in the country will be secular in every way. The haredim will let go of their need to care for our secular souls. This means buses on Shabbat, civil marriage and everything associated with a modern state.

On the other hand, the secular majority would allow the haredim to have full cultural autonomy within their neighborhoods.

By Gil Troy Opinion www.jpost.com January 3, 2012

Using the power of the purse, and exploiting the hierarchical nature of ultra-Orthodox society, Netanyahu should call a summit of leading Haredi rabbis. 

He should threaten their precious Yeshiva subsidies and other government goodies if they don’t start policing their hooligan extremists. 

He should also demand a new social contract between Haredim and the Jewish state, detailing responsibilities not just rights, and imposing some core courses in basic skills into their educational curriculum.  If Netanyahu plays this right, even if this coalition falls, he could settle in for a long spell as prime minister.

By Rabbi Natan Slifkin Opinion www.jpost.com January 3, 2012

The events in Beit Shemesh had little, if anything, to do with the oppression of women. The haredi extremists did not object to Banot Orot because it was a girl’s school; they objected to it because it was national-religious.

… The more general problem is that at many levels in haredi society, there is inappropriate behavior towards nonharedim, which is felt particularly strongly in the mixed city of Beit Shemesh.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 9, 2012

The Beit Shemesh branch of Partnership 2gether, run by a joint steering committee of representatives from communities in South Africa, the greater Washington, DC, area, the Mateh Yehuda region in Israel and Beit Shemesh itself, has issued a public call in the Beit Shemesh press for ideas for intercommunal projects to promote dialogue and “social entrepreneurship.”
Gideon Vennor, director of the Beit Shemesh Partnership 2gether:“We’ve been the flashpoint of inter-societal conflicts of late, but it’s a wider issue than just Beit Shemesh. 
The importance of secular and haredi communities living together in harmony is going to come up around the country and we want to make Beit Shemesh a model for how to address these problems.”

By Rabbi Shaul Robinson Opinion http://voicesoflss.wordpress.com January 1, 2012

I understand. But I don’t agree.
Because I don’t believe that the Orthodox world can say “these people are nothing to do with us”.
It’s not credible any longer.

...Let the greatest Rabbis in the Jewish world go to Bet Shemesh. Let each walk a little second grader to school. Let their rebbetzins hold a girl’s hand and say, “Come my dear, don’t be afraid, I will walk you to school.” 

Let them, our Gedolim, our Torah giants, look in the face of the Chasidim yelling “Nazi” at little girls and Jewish policemen and tell them to be silent.

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion www.haaretz.com January 6, 2012

Jerusalem's public transport system is a perfect metaphor for the situation in which Israeli society finds itself at the beginning of 2012. The city's three communities are trying to keep their distance from each other.

As Haaretz's religious affairs correspondent wrote last week, the real segregation on the "mehadrin" bus-lines are not between men and women. Instead they are between the Haredi passengers who use them and the secular/masorati/dati Jerusalemites who are discouraged from doing so.

By Allyn Fisher-Ilan http://af.reuters.com January 4, 2012
[Minister of Religious Affairs Shas MK Yaakov Margi]: "Every morning I go to look at the window and check whether I see some pro-Khomeini protest at my doorstep," he said referring to the religious leader who led the 1979 Iranian revolution. 
"All I see are green fields, a good atmosphere and good neighbours."

By Avirama Golan Opinion www.haaretz.com January 4, 2012

Many leading ultra-Orthodox figures say the reason is not only the anti-Haredi political parties that are on the way, but what is spawning them - the fact that party activists have gone too far in their arrogant extremism and brutal abuse of the public purse.

By Aner Shalev Opinion www.haaretz.com January 4, 2012

Interior Minister Eli Yishai recently declared with surprising honesty that a Haredi-only city will have no income, and since it won't collect local taxes it can't survive. Yes, it's nice to feel needed every now and then.

By Laurie Kossowsky www.jpost.com January 2, 2012
The writer is an Orthodox resident of Beit Shemesh and the moderator of Digital Eve Israel, Israel's largest women's professional network.

On a different occasion, my son asked why the haredi residents of a particular building hated his friend’s family – the national-religious family of 10 was continually harassed and threatened, their home was broken into and they were eventually forced to leave the area.

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com January 5, 2012

Rabbis in extremist Haredi circles, fearing a loss of control over their followers, are angered by the change.

The resignation from Shahar of Ravad, who as IAF chief rabbi ostensibly represents officialdom, adds to a series of extreme separatist declarations, most notably the one last week by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv against Haredi participation in the military and higher (nonreligious) education.

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion www.haaretz.com January 3, 2012

As we speak, Beit Shemesh is planning a new neighborhood with 25,000 apartments, but the government is marketing those apartments at Haredim at cost price. 

In other words, despite the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee, the Haredim are the ones who will get land at half price, in addition to large discounts on taxes. All this comes on the backs of the religious and secular taxpayers.

By Yehuda Ben Meir Opinion www.haaretz.com January 3, 2012

These groups are outside the Israeli consensus and constitute a minority in the population, but to describe them as a "small minority" is wrong and misleading. 

We are dealing with large minorities, who in view of the state's incompetence and unwillingness to enforce its authority on all its citizens, are growing apace.

By Joshua Hersh www.huffingtonpost.com January 9, 2012
"The Haredim love to say that they're a minority," said Shahar Ilan, a former religion correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz. 
"But they have been part of our political majority for 35 years -- and a brutal part. This is how they have to be understood."

By Jacob Kirsch Opinion www.ynetnews.com January 3, 2012

The proper reaction is not to get on a segregated bus in a bikini and sit at the front. That is incitement, and it is stooping to their low level. 

The ultimate solution to this problem is to stop the funds. This is the only problem we can solve by not throwing money at it. In fact, it is one of the few problems that we can solve and make money from.

By Jeremy Sharon and Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com January 3, 2012

In a conversation with the Post last week, MK Yisrael Eichler, chairman of the United Torah Judaism faction in the Knesset, rejected claims that the ultra-Orthodox world was becoming more extreme.
“There is no radicalization in the haredi sector,” he said. “What’s happening is that there is radicalization in the secular world against our community, and it’s simply got worse in recent years.”
Eichler also denied that there was widespread coercion of women to sit at the back of buses, saying that haredi men and women voluntarily segregated themselves.

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com January 4, 2012

An 11-year-old ultra-Orthodox boy was assaulted at a Jerusalem bus stop on Tuesday. This is apparently the second hate crime in three days by non-religious Jews targeting Haredi children.

By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Opinion www.huffingtonpost.com January 3, 2012

Religious extremism festers when decent lay people are cowed into submission by fanatics whom they falsely believe to be more religious than them. But there is nothing holy about Rabbis refusing to teach 2500 young Jews who are pining for Jewish knowledge. 

More importantly, it is an abomination to faith for men to treat women abusively. A black coat will never redeem a dark heart and a long beard is poor compensation for a shriveled soul.

By Rabbi Shalom Hammer Opinion www.jpost.com January 6, 2012
The writer teaches at Yeshiva Hesder Kiryat Gat and serves as a lecturer under the Harel Division for the Rabbanut of the IDF. He is also an author and lecturer on Israel, religious Zionism and Jewish education.

So long as a majority of the haredi world does not recognize the right of our government and judiciary system to exist, they will continue to breach what are considered the rudiments of citizenship in ­ what they consider a non-existent entity.

By Mordechai Gilat and Uzi Dayan www.israelhayom.com December 30, 2011
Interview with MK Rabbi Chaim Amsallem

They fear Amsallem because he sees himself as the real Shas; they denigrate him because he speaks directly and exposes the truth behind the lies; they're wary of him because he clearly points to ultra-Orthodox hoodlums from Beit Shemesh and Mea Shearim as the ones police must target now. 

"The strong arm of the law must weed out these radical ultra-Orthodox," he says.

By Meron Rapaport Opinion www.haaretz.com January 5, 2012

How is it that people who consider it so important to have a Jewish state do not like it when Judaism shows its face?

...They, the ultra-Orthodox, really want this state to be Jewish, with side curls and shtreimels. The last thing the knights of "the Jewish character" of the state want is for it to really have a Jewish character. That is the last thing they need.

By Renee Ghert-Zand http://blogs.forward.com January 5, 2012

Two prominent Haredi women are boldly, and publicly, speaking out against ultra-Orthodox extremists, who advocate extreme gender segregation, and who, in recent days, have rioted against police in Beit Shemesh and protested in Jerusalem the “exclusion of Haredim” by donning yellow stars and concentration camp uniforms.

By Elana Sztokman Opinion http://blogs.forward.com January 2, 2012

This idea of women’s arrogance, like women’s provocation, is a way of hammering in the image of the correct female: She does not think for herself, she does not speak out of turn, and most importantly, she does not try to encroach upon men’s lives by acting in ways that are acceptable for men. 

Like the man in the Channel Two video who justified spitting on the woman hailing a taxi said: A woman’s role in in the home, period, “raising the next generation of Jews.” That’s it. All else, according to this way of thinking, is “provocative”.

www.irac.org November 2011

In recent years, we have observed with alarm the marked escalation in the quantity and virulence of racist statements made in the name of Judaism by rabbis and public leaders. 

These statements spread hatred against the Arab citizens of Israel, migrant workers and refugees solely because they are goyim (gentiles), and call for the exclusion of Arab citizens due to their national origins.

By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com January 8, 2012

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office on Sunday filed sexual harassment charges with the city's Magistrate's Court against Ze'ev Frank, a 29-year-old ultra-Orthodox man.
Frank is accused of calling a woman a "slut" and spitting on her in the Mea Shearim neighborhood.

www.jpost.com January 8, 2012

When three police officers who were already in the area proceeded to arrest Frank, a group of haredim attacked the officers, throwing rocks and iron poles at their vehicle.

By Eli Senyor www.ynetnews.com January 4, 2012

Two ultra-Orthodox men from Beit Shemesh were arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of distributing flyers depicting Jerusalem police chief Niso Shaham as Adolf Hitler.

By Lia Tarachansky http://therealnews.com January 3, 2012
Rabbi Uri Regev, Hiddush: “When you ask, are you satisfied with the way the government is handling matters of religion and state, 80 percent say we're dissatisfied. 
When we go to the nitty-gritty, do you support introducing civil marriages, do you support public transportation on Shabbat, do you support equality to the non-Orthodox streams, you find consistently about two-thirds of the Israeli Jewish public responding in the affirmative."

By Yair Altman www.ynetnews.com January 6, 2012

Two haredi men were detained in Beit Shemesh Thursday evening on suspicion of hurling stones at non-segregated buses and hurting a police officer.
The ultra-Orthodox men were protesting the detention of their friends in recent days.

By Amy Teibel AP www.salon.com January 6, 2012

Daniel Shechtman, the Nobel laureate, proposed that state funding be withheld from schools that don’t offer a strong curriculum of basics.
“You can pray for God’s providence, but it won’t put bread on the table,” he said.

By Eli Ashkenazi www.haaretz.com January 8, 2012

Rabbi Yaakov Deutsch, a prominent rabbi from the city of Afula in northern Israel, was indicted on Sunday for committing sexual offenses against four minors, two boys and two girls.

By Ahiya Raved www.ynetnews.com January 8, 2012

According to the indictment, he had consensual intercourse, sodomized and committed indecent acts on a 15-year-old girl. Deutsch denied the allegations against him, claiming they are false.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com January 8, 2012

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian Orthodox public, has been hospitalized at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center after experiencing shortness of breath.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com January 8, 2012

Police arrested on Sunday three additional suspects in Jerusalem who are allegedly part of a large group of men suspected of pedophilia in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachlaot, in what police are calling the largest pedophilia case in the capital's recent history.

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com January 9, 2012

Police have questioned almost 70 children and believe that nearly 50 of them were victimized by the group. The matter involved one of the most serious cases of pedophilia the police had every encountered, police sources said.

By Amiram Barket www.globes.co.il January 3, 2012

Deputy Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen of Shas is continuing to push the kosher electricity law, even though it has been ruled as religious legislation that harms secular-religious relations.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com January 3, 2012

The nine-year saga of electing chief rabbis for Jerusalem took another turn this week, allowing the process to begin anew.

On Sunday, the committee for the election of the chief rabbis came to an agreement as to which synagogues would be represented on the selection board that will eventually choose the next chief rabbis.
 “The integration of Jerusalem synagogues in the selection of the chief rabbis is a milestone in the lengthy process that I have led to ensure that there will be a national-religious chief rabbi. I see in this decision a significant achievement for the pluralistic population of the city,” city councilor Rachel Azaria (Yerushalmim) said on Monday.

By Alex Joffe Opinion www.jewishideasdaily.com January 3, 2012

This is an old pattern; the Mughrabi Bridge agitation is merely the latest iteration.  

...Holy sites have become not simply religious or national symbols but a species of property outside of state control.  

The need to possess and control them becomes a cosmic zero-sum game that pits all against all; principled concessions are met with hysterical accusations.  If this is the pursuit of holiness, perhaps temporary fixes are best after all, while we await more sensible lovers of Jerusalem.

By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com January 4, 2012

[Prof. Shlomo Naeh of the Hebrew University's Talmud department] also believes the object is related to Temple worship and purity, but reads the inscription differently, as "Dakar a Leyehoyariv."

Dakar in Aramaic means ram and a stands for aleph, the first day of the week, when the priestly order of Yehoyariv was on duty in the Temple.

By David A. Schwartz http://articles.sun-sentinel.com December 13, 2012

During an interview with the Jewish Journal, Shalom, who was the visiting weekend scholar at Boca Raton Synagogue, said he is trying to find ways for second generation Ethiopians to keep their tradition and to integrate into the Jewish world. "It's not easy," he said, explaining that Ethiopian Jewish tradition is grounded in the Bible.

There is no Talmud in the Ethiopian community and no oral tradition, Shalom said. So he is writing a code of Jewish law for the Ethiopian community.

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com January 9, 2012

A quiet drama is taking place among Haredi Holocaust survivors. The Haredi sector, which is often under attack, and even more so recently, includes, like every sector, survivors who talk and those who remain silent, each with his or her own story.

But the group of Haredi women who run Misgav Lakashish, headed by Tamar Shif, understood that Haredi survivors are unique. 

Some of them feel that they have limited legitimacy for telling the story, and the majority are unaware of their rights, after many years during which government authorities barely worked with Haredi survivors.

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