Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - March 26, 2012 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

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

By Elana Sztokman http://blogs.forward.com March 21, 2012

“Women in her community are being completely neglected – they are at the mercy of the sikrikim,” Kehat told The Sisterhood, referring to one of Israel’s the most extreme ultra-Orthodox sects.
Kehat, the founder of the Orthodox women’s group Kolech points out that the issue of Haredi women’s choice remains dubious.

“Kolech receives all the complaints of Haredi women who cannot complain in public,” she said that women who speak out risk being ostracized from their communities.

“To talk about the community choosing means the men are choosing,” Kehat said, who said she was saddened that Livnat adopted this language.

By Mordechai I. Twersky www.haaretz.com March 23, 2012

El Al passengers are noting a recent phenomenon involving clusters of ultra-Orthodox men approaching female passengers prior to take-off and requesting to switch seats, according to El Al customers and tour operators.

While the phenomenon of lone Haredi men approaching female passengers is not new, and has in fact gone on for years, large groups of Haredim - upwards of 15-20 people in some instances - are reportedly attempting to secure blocs of seats for themselves.

"There's a passive participation or outright acquiescence from El Al," alleges Mark Feldman, who heads the Jerusalem-based Ziontours. "Rather than defending the rights of the passengers, they are enabling this behavior to continue."

By Mordechai I. Twersky www.haaretz.com March 23, 2012

A prominent Israeli sociologist who has studied the ultra-Orthodox community for nearly 40 years says incidents of Haredi men attempting to switch their airline seats with women is part of a larger trend transforming the Haredi community. It is a trend, he says, that also mirrors the growing dependency of struggling commercial entities on the patronage of large constituencies.

He notes a Haredi community that has grown exponentially and vastly increased its political power, to the point of being confident enough to wield its influence on companies like El Al - and, more recently, Israel's Egged bus lines - with demands of gender segregation, according to Friedman.

I don't know who will give ground first," says Friedman, "but at some point El Al will have to choose whether or not to concede to the Haredim."

By Peggy Cidor www.jpost.com March 22, 2012

Jerusalem city councillor Rachel Azaria says that the process began some 20 years ago, as a reaction to the changes in secular society.

Back then, she explains, there were not such provocative advertisements (in terms of women’s appearance), nor were there the kinds of TV programs we have today, and as such, “there was no urgent need to differentiate [between parts of] religious society as we see today, both in haredi and in [modern Orthodox] society.”

Hannah Kehat, founder of the religious feminist organization Kolech, is more than a little concerned about the fixation on modesty, calling it “the other side of pornography.”

The situation has become so serious that recently, the face of Ruth Fogel, who was murdered in a brutal terror attack in Itamar, was blurred in a religious leaflet released by Jewish studies institute Machon Meir, for reasons of modesty.

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com March 21, 2012

Jerusalem police have arrested three ultra-Orthodox men for allegedly defrauding the Education Ministry of millions of shekels through a fictitious Torah study center.

Following the arrests on Sunday a fourth man, from Jerusalem, was arrested yesterday in connection with the nonexistent center. Jerusalem police expect further arrests in the case.

"That's NIS 300 a month multiplied by two years and dozens of 'students,'" a police officer told Haaretz yesterday. "Do the math yourself."

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com March 20, 2012

The suspects submitted lists of names and ID numbers of the students that were “enrolled” in their kollels to the Education Ministry.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com March 23, 2012

Five men are suspected of fraud and impersonation after attempting to take a rabbinic qualification exam instead of their classmates on Wednesday.

They admitted they were paid thousands of shekels by Yeshiva students to take the exam in their place, since they were not properly prepared. Following the complaint, the police suspects a larger network of fraudulent Yeshiva students is behind the scenes.

www.jpost.com March 25, 2012

The High Court of Justice on Sunday issued an order requiring the state to explain why the schools in the haredi education system have not started
standardized testing.

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com March 21, 2012

Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias of Shas want inexpensive apartments to go to young ultra-Orthodox couples. 

The two Shas ministers are unwilling to introduce full exercise of working potential as a criterion for subsidized housing because most young ultra-Orthodox couples are not employed and are not looking for work; this is particularly true for the men. They live on state allocations at the public's expense.

...The ball is now back in Netanyahu's court. Let's hope he doesn't keep on giving all the resources to the ultra-Orthodox and instead offers subsidized housing to the middle class, which is straining under the burden of taxes and reserve duty and is looking for a little social justice.

By Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com March 21, 2012

The Knesset has deferred debate on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's flagship housing reform due to a dispute over some of the provisions between two of his coalition partners, Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu.

By Rabbi Micah Peltz Opinion www.haaretz.com March 25, 2012

Let me be clear. I don’t mean to say that observing the laws of Passover, or the details of halakha in general, is wrong. On the contrary, taking halakha seriously is important.

But, if we truly take halakha seriously, then we must apply it to our world – to our context. Too often, in matters of halakha, we lose the forest from the trees. When paranoia dominates practice, and we are so absorbed with the minutia of the law we forget why we are following it in the first place.

Ma’ariv’s weekend edition has a long expose in Hebrew on Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Eidah Charedis’ former chief operations officer /street captain who left his anti-Zionist roots after witnessing the aftermath of a terror attack, and ZAKA, the disaster response organization he founded in response.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com March 21, 2012

Speaking on Sunday, Ashdod's Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi, Yosef Sheinin ruled that when a siren is sounded during the reciting of the Shemoneh Esrei prayer (a prayer recited quietly while standing) the person reciting the prayer must not stop praying in order to rush to a fortified space or shelter.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com March 22, 2012

In a lesson held at the Machon Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Eliyahu claimed that the brutal shooting of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday was a clear indication that the world hates Jews because God chose them for his patronage.

By Nathan Jeffay http://forward.com March 25, 2012

The young Christians working in the Psagot Winery’s vineyards near Ramallah in mid-March were members of HaYovel. Last year, this Tennessee-based evangelical ministry started a large-scale operation to bring volunteers to tend and harvest settler grapes. They attach epic importance to their work.

“When you see prophecy taking place, you have the option to do nothing or become a vessel to it,” said volunteer pruner Blake Smith, a 20-year-old farmer from Virginia.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 27, 2012

The Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday that summer time will once again end before Yom Kippur, on September 23, despite Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s decision last year to extend daylight savings time into October.

Since 2005, DST has ended before Yom Kippur so that the fast finishes earlier in the day. DST will therefore end again this year on September 23, three days before the fast.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com March 26, 2012

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of Har Bracha Yeshiva and a prominent Religious Zionism leader, said Iran does not pose an existential threat to Israel and a military offense against it was unnecessary.

According to him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are known to be "men of ego," and he fears this is their main motivation to act against Tehran.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com March 26, 2012

The High Court of Justice dismissed a petition to stop the Ir David Foundation from operating the City of David Archeological Park outside Jerusalem’s Old City Walls, concluding a three-year legal saga.

www.haaretz.com March 23, 2012

A Psalms-quoting geologist with a Texas twang says his first-ever visit to Israel is complementing a four-decades-old odyssey that began with an historic find on the grounds of what was once ancient Ethiopia.

James Aronson, a 69-year-old geology professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, is perhaps best known for calculating the age of the 3.2-million-year-old skeletal fossil nicknamed Lucy.

By Shoshana London Sappir www.hadassahmagazine.org February 2012

In the beginning, it seemed like a good idea. When Hebrew speakers read the Bible in the original Hebrew, they can find it difficult to comprehend without the help of commentaries; many give up on the ancient texts. Enter Tanakh RAM, a translation of the Bible into Modern Hebrew.

Yet, this new edition has been called scandalous, pernicious and fraudulent by critics; the Ministry of Education has threatened to ban its use in schools; pundits warn of the demise of Modern Hebrew culture; a university held a seminar about the pros and cons of the new publication; and the Op-Ed pages and Internet are atwitter.

By Barbara Sofer www.hadassahmagazine.org February 2012

Celebrating Sigd in an elaborate way at Hadassah Neurim is part of a strategy by village staff to instill Ethiopian students with pride in their ethnic roots.

Back in Ethiopia, teens didn’t have adolescence as we know it,” said Manu Har Sinai, who conceived the post-Sigd celebration. He is in charge of residential education at the village and the yearly Sigd activities.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 21, 2012

To celebrate the festival, The Bahai World Center in Israel held its traditional New Year’s reception on Tuesday night in Jerusalem, with hundreds of dignitaries, diplomats, MKs and assorted government officials in attendance.

Another reception will be held on Friday in Acre, the final resting place of the Bahai founder Mirza Husayn-Ali, or Baha’ullah as he became known.

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