Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - March 5, 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 Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com March 2, 2012

The exclusion of women from advertisements on buses and in public places is “a violation of the fundamental rights of women,” according to an opinion the state submitted to the High Court of Justice on Wednesday.

The opinion was filed in response to the Yerushalmim movement petition to the court over the Egged advertising company’s refusal to place ads featuring female models on buses in Jerusalem for fear of vandalism from ultra-Orthodox extremists.

By Emilie Grunzweig www.haaretz.com February 29, 2012

Allowing women to go on air has caused the Kol Barama radio station's ratings to plummet, the manager of the ultra-Orthodox station charged during a stormy meeting in the Knesset yesterday.

The Committee on the Status of Women was discussing cases in which women have been excluded from the public square due to Haredi pressure. During the debate, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and several Knesset members accused Kol Barama of refusing to let women on the air.

By Omri Efraim www.ynetnews.com March 3, 2012

MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) was removed from a Knesset Women's Committee meeting this week, after he called members of the Reform Movement "anti-Semites."

Tuesday saw Reform Movement representatives present the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women with a report about women's exclusion in Israel, at which point Eichler lashed out at them for being "anti-Semites who hate Israel," adding that the "Reform Jews are worse than our enemies."

http://hiddush.org February 29, 2012

Hiddush successfully petitioned representatives of El-Al Airlines, calling their attention to ultra-Orthodox airline passengers who were trying to establish gender segregation on this flight from Brussels to Israel and asking them to refuse such behavior aboard their flights. 

In response, El-Al made it clear that they are working to eradicate the phenomenon.

http://www.jewishexponent.com February 22, 2012

Gail Norry said she also brought up concerns about recent news reports on ultra-religious communities in Israel attempting to segregate buses and harass women.

"Women here are paying attention and we wanted to see them take swift action to change course," Norry said. "We want to see their citizens treated in as democratic fashion as possible."

By Corinne Sauer Opinion www.jpost.com March 5, 2012
The writer is the director of the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies.

So the way to solve this latest social crisis is simply to transform public transportation into a private commodity.

If buses were run by private companies, seeking to maximize profits, the market and not the government would dictate if buses should run on Shabbat, and whether women should sit in the back.

www.jpost.com March 4, 2012

Hundreds of activists gathered in Beit Shemesh Sunday in protest of a plan to authorize 1,800 apartments for haredi Jews, Army Radio reported.

The protesters gathered in front of the Council for Building and Planning as discussions on the new plans took place.

By Shulamit Binah Opinion www.forward.com March 5, 2012
Shulamit Binah is a Ph.D. candidate at Haifa University, researching diplomatic history.

That was the nature of the state-and-religion discourse in the long forgotten days of prestatehood. Who would foresee that, 65 years later, Israel would have no constitution; that the ultra-Orthodox establishment would hold such a disproportionate influence over the vast majority of Israeli Jews; that only a fraction of Haredim would share the burden of defense, and that the majority of this community (65% according to the Taub Institute) would choose to opt out of the workforce to live off state-sponsored handouts?

By Jonathan Lis, Yair Ettinger and Jack Khoury www.haaretz.com March 5, 2012

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved legislation that would raise the minimum age for marriage in Israel under most circumstances from 17 to 18, with some Knesset sources expressing doubts about the capacity of the police to enforce a change in the law, in part because of the exceptions that will be allowed.

Draft legislation relating to this issue had been stalled since 2004, primarily due to opposition from the ultra-Orthodox community.

By Jonathan Lis www.haaretz.com March 4, 2012

The proposals' sponsors say the aim is to prevent the forced marriage of girls, particularly in the Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities, before they have graduated from high school and gained the maturity to make critical life decisions.

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com March 4, 2012

The meeting was the result of conciliatory efforts between the Belzer Rebbe and the Satmar Rebbe - the latest episode in a soap opera that has riveted hundreds of thousands of Haredim around the world since last January.

...Not long after that visit, at the end of 1981, the Belzer Rebbe used the occasion of his regular sermon in Jerusalem to explicate the views of his uncle, Rabbi Aharon, on issues of religion and state: in favor of taking part in Knesset elections, an act he considered a "sacred obligation"; in favor of taking budgets from the state; in favor of reinforcing the Belz camp; and against "joining up with the wicked."

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 1, 2012

A group of 150 female haredi high school students got a taste of the business world this week.
They participated in a workshop on Tuesday in which they presented potential business ideas to a panel of advisers from the First International Bank of Israel who provided professional feedback and guidance for the proposed initiatives.

By Yaron Doron www.ynetnews.com February 29, 2012

A 70-year-old ultra-Orthodox woman found herself the target of a brutal religious hate crime on Monday night, when four thugs broke into her home and beat her up before leaving her handcuffed and bleeding.

"They were sent by the Modesty Patrol," the woman, S., told Yedioth Ahronoth. "They told me, 'You are destroying the neighborhood with you missionary teachings."

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com February 29, 2012

Police suspect that a group of ultra-Orthodox men brutally attacked a 70-year-old woman in her home in Jerusalem's Nahlaot neighborhood on Monday, apparently believing her to be a Christian missionary.

The victim spoke to Haaretz from Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem, last night. She said that her attackers accused her of hosting secular, non-Jewish women in her home.

http://www.jewishfederations.org/ February 29, 2012

In addition, JFNA’s recent Board of Trustees meeting in Florida focused on how some of these civil society challenges are impacting relations with the North American Jewish community.
JFNA lay leaders and professionals were also involved in a session on “Haredim and the Jewish Collective,” hosted by the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Makom at its February Board of Governors meeting in Israel.

Those outside the haredi community tend to have a single unflattering image of the ultra-Orthodox population that does not necessarily represent reality. 

The community is often portrayed as work-shy, “economic parasites,” who leave the protection of the State to others and sneer at anything but an ultra-Orthodox way of life. In reality, the community is anything but homogenous, and most labels and stereotyping tend to be false.

By John S. Ruskay Opinion www.ujafedny.org March 2, 2012

I was in Israel to attend the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings. JAFI has recently introduced a five-hour global forum at each board meeting. It provides an opportunity to step back and examine major issues facing the Jewish world.

The global forum this week was titled “The Haredim and the Jewish Collective.” Many of us have followed the skirmishes in Beit Shemesh. 

There is also recognition that the Haredi community in Israel, now approaching 1 million, is growing in number and need. But this is not solely a Haredi issue.

There is real concern that more and more of the ethnic and religious groups in Israel are pursuing a narrower path, no longer identifying as part of the global Jewish collective.

Are examples of the “uncivil” society that took place in Beit Shemesh and elsewhere indicative of divides too great to overcome? What does this mean for all who value a robust Jewish democratic state?

By Eli Mandelbaum www.ynetnews.com March 3, 2012

A unique support group intended to assist recently divorced Haredi women has begun operating in Jerusalem. The support group is designed to help women deal with the negative stigma that follows a divorce in the Haredi community.

"The community is very helpful when it comes to death, but it's important to understand that separation is a particular form of death," said Gila, a participant in "Em Habanim" (the Center for families without a father).

By Tali Farkash www.ynetnews.com March 2, 2012

Until recently, divorce in the ultra-orthodox sector was deemed provocation, a spit in the face of a conservative society. 

A divorcee was regarded as a local myth, a neighborhood attraction in a community of couples. Today, separated couples are becoming more common, even trivial, and no longer situated at the heart of every scandal or gossip.

By Jack Khoury www.haaretz.com March 4, 2012

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has asked the Israel Lands Administration to cancel a recent tender for a housing development in Acre because it is being marketed exclusively to religious families and is discriminatory.

By Dina Avramson Opinion www.ynetnews.com March 2, 2012
Full article published in Makor Rishon's Motsash magazine

Indeed, there are rules that must be adhered to for the sake of the state's character, and I agree with that. 

Yet is the land truly full of greater love for God when the minority enforces its view on the majority and forces it to honor laws that do not pertain to it? 

Is the name of God indeed being sanctified every time the religious scream out "you don't respect us"?

By Tomer Zarchin and Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com March 1, 2012

Former chief Sephardi Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron may be indicated for his part in the "rabbis' file" scandal, in which hundreds of security forces officers were ordained as rabbis in order to qualify for a pay raise, the State Prosecutor's Office announced on Thursday.
See also: 

By Kobi Nachshoni www.ynetnews.com March 5, 2012

Dozens of Israel Postal Company employees in Ramat Gan refused to distribute thousands of copies of the New Testament to city residents. They claimed such distribution is forbidden according to the halacha laws, and might even be illegal.

Both religious and secular postal workers were asked to hand out mail and advertisements on Monday, along with thousands of holy Christian booklets translated into Hebrew. The workers informed their supervisors that they refuse to distribute such materials.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 2, 2012

Four senior national-religious rabbis have joined an initiative promoting “high-density” burial as a means to alleviate the increasingly problematic lack of burial land in the country.
The campaign, initiated last week by the Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah national-religious organization, was endorsed by Rabbis Benny Lau, Yuval Cherlow, David Bigman and Yehuda Shaviv.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 6, 2012

The ITIM religious rights advocacy group in a new report criticized the Religious Services Ministry for failing to compel burial societies to allow parents of a stillborn infant to participate in its burial.

Burial societies in Israel generally prevent families from attending or participating in the burial of a stillborn child or one who dies within 30 days of birth, and also refuse to tell families where the infants are buried in most cases.

VIDEO: ZAKA, Tzohar Bring Jews Together on Purim

Haaretz Editorial www.haaretz.com March 4, 2012

It is former minister Shlomo Benizri's right to believe that his pain was greater than Gilad Shalit's. 

Whether his remarks upon his release from prison last week express deep frustration or seek to be inflammatory, there's no point in discussing comparisons that emerge from a person's soul. People have the right to express their feelings, no matter how provocative.

See also: 

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com March 6, 2012

The Orthodox Union is holding 200 “karaoke-style” readings of Megilat Esther during Purim for the hard of hearing, deaf and elderly in synagogues across the US, UK, Israel and Australia.

The unique readings will be conducted with the help of PowerPoint presentations beamed onto giant projector screens, enabling participants to follow along visually as they see the words being read highlighted in front of their eyes.

By Melanie Lidman www.jpost.com February 29, 2012

Police caught two Arab teenagers in the midst of destroying graves on the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon.

By Gil Shefler www.jpost.com March 4, 2012

The museum, which is affiliated with Chabad, commissioned a team of artisans to recreate a model of the ancient wall in the heart of Brooklyn to teach children about Judaism.

When the exhibition officially opens on April 1, visitors will be invited to follow the tradition at the Western Wall and place notes with their prayers and wishes in the replica’s cracks and crevices.

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