Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - April 9, 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 Gerard Heumann Opinion www.haaretz.com April 6, 2012
Gerard Heumann is an architect and town planner in Jerusalem. He served as head of the Ramat Beit Shemesh master plan team for David Reznik, Baruch Reznik: Architects & Town Planners.

Two decades ago, no one foresaw that the Jerusalem and Bnei Brak ultra-Orthodox population overflow would reach Beit Shemesh: Today though, Haredim make up a large part of the expanded city's inhabitants.

...The only reasonable option, then, is to bring the Haredi leadership, through legal and democratic political means, to finally understand that if they wish to govern and have responsibility for planning, managing and maintaining a modern city, they must act fairly. 

There is no third option. Beit Shemesh is the ultimate test case.

By Rabbi David Ellenson Opinion www.lilith.org January 26, 2012

Three decades later, when the State of Israel was actually created, the issue over extending suffrage to women and their eligibility for public office arose once again.
It seems the issue remained a controversial one for many within the ultra-Orthodox community.  Sensitive to this struggle, Rabbi Meir Ben Zion Hai Uziel, then the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, refused to be silent and published a legal opinion, “Concerning the Participation of Women in Elections for Public Institutions,” on the matter.  

Rabbi Uziel boldly insisted that women had a “basic human right” both to vote and be elected to public office.  He stated that women, no less than men, were created in the Divine Image, and observed that women were the intellectual equals of men.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 5, 2012

Shaha Ilan, Hiddush, believes that the recent increase of haredim in the workforce will tail off unless yeshiva allowances are cut.

“If we want to see the majority of haredi men at work we need to make it so it won’t be profitable to stay in yeshiva and not go to work,” he says.

According to Ilan, a haredi man studying in kollel can receive between NIS 4,000 and NIS 5,000 a month from government stipends and benefits as well contributions from his kollel. 

For someone without any higher education, earning more than this sum through employment is tough, so there is little economic incentive to go out to work, especially when bearing in mind extra costs like child care that may result if both parents are working.

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion www.haaretz.com April 10, 2012

Both the Haredim and the Arabs (and especially the Bedouin) suffer from low levels of education, which makes it impossible for them to join the workforce and earn a decent living. And, since these populations have high birth rates, the gaps and the poverty will merely grow and the burden on the productive middle class will simply get heavier.

This is because Netanyahu has always submitted to the Haredim. In the coalition agreement with the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, he agreed to raise child allowances and sanctioned a situation in which core subjects do not have to be studied in Shas' schools. And anyone who does not study mathematics and English cannot find lucrative work even if they want to.

Only recently, Netanyahu consented to infuriating discrimination, agreeing that subsidized housing will be distributed according to the length of a couple's marriage - in other words, going mainly to the ultra-Orthodox, who generally marry very young - and this is clear encouragement for them not to work or serve in the army.

By Ayelet Wieder Cohen (Translation: Yochi Eisner) www.kolech.com April 5, 2012

What happened to us? How did we get to a situation where fathers cannot watch their twelve year old daughters? What drives this radicalization?

Religious Zionism's view of itself has been distorted due to its need to resemble the ultra-Orthodox society, its inferiority complex in the face of ultra-Orthodox society and its need to cope with a permissive world; this distortion cannot be tolerated.

By Hillary Zaken www.timesofisrael.com April 9, 2012

Police arrested two non-religious Jewish teens near the Dung Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Monday morning, after they reportedly called for gender segregation on buses departing the Western Wall. The youths were apprehended sporting bullhorns.

The police, who took the two young men, 16 and 17, into custody for questioning, suspect they were hired by ultra-Orthodox Jews. Israel Radio reported that the teens were paid 25 shekels an hour for the job.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer http://blogs.forward.com April 9, 2012

Living in Israel pulls one towards the extremes. I’ve been challenged by the troubling developments in Israel regarding the exclusion of women — events that I’ve written about in The Sisterhood: the trend toward gender segregation on buses and public spaces in Haredi neighborhoods, the controversy over women’s singing, and the harassment of schoolgirls in Beit Shemesh, the obsession with excessive modesty rules.

The more these extreme circles subjugate women, the greater the temptation to join many of my secular Israeli friends in seeing all religion as the feminist’s enemy.

By Moti Bassok and Sami Peretz www.haaretz.com April 5, 2012

The State of Israel is doing "not badly" compared with other countries, and, "if you deduct the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox from inequality indexes, we're in great shape," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told TheMarker on Wednesday in a special interview for the Passover holiday.

By Uri Misgav Opinion www.haaretz.com April 5, 2012

Clearly Shas did not invent a thing. Theirs is merely a cynical ethnic variation on the ultra-Orthodox, Ashkenazi theme of educating people toward ignorance and idleness, which was introduced in the 1980s by Rabbi Eliezer Shach and his court. Here there is no rift: All of them will lead in a few decades to the sinking of the Zionist enterprise...

By Yair Ettinger www.haaretz.com April 6, 2012

This is not a reality show. It's a true story that's been going on for years. No one denies it, neither the psychiatrists nor their patients: Psychiatric drugs are being given to ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students, men, seminary girls and married women at the request of rabbis, yeshiva "supervisors" and marriage counselors.

The furor that erupted recently after a psychiatrist prescribed pills to participants on the TV reality show "Big Brother" - apparently to help the production and not the patients - convinced some Haredi patients to come forward with prescriptions and documents attesting to a far broader practice.

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com April 10, 2012

The girls in one class in a prestigious girls' seminary in Bnei Brak are worried about a "wedding drought." While dozens of girls from other classes are already successfully matched, none of the girls in the class has gotten engaged since the beginning of the year.

By Ophir Bar-Zohar www.haaretz.com April 10, 2012

A ministerial committee seeks to cancel preschool subsidies for working parents, a move that critics fear indirectly favors ultra-Orthodox families.

The panel's proposal last week contradicts the Trajtenberg Committee's recommendations to bolster the middle class.

Currently, the status of an ultra-Orthodox man enrolled in a yeshiva is similar to that of a student or an employee, but to meet the criteria per household his wife has to prove she works at least 28 hours per week.

www.jpost.com April 4, 2012

Some 83 percent of Jewish citizens believe that affordable housing benefits should be conditioned on one's salary, a poll published on Tuesday by trans-denominational religious NGO Hiddush revealed.

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

President Shimon Peres met Sunday morning with Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. During the meeting, Yosef called on the president to push for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's release following his recent hospitalization and deterioration in his health.

By Nathan Jeffay http://forward.com April 3, 2012

When an Arab Supreme Court justice stood silent instead of singing the national anthem at a public ceremony in late February, it sparked a furor on Israel’s nationalist right. 

Some lawmakers said that the judge, Salim Joubran, should be dismissed, and Yisrael Beiteinu’s David Rotem went so far as to claim that he “spat in the face of the State of Israel.”

By Oren Kessler, Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon www.jpost.com April 4, 2012

The half-brother of King Abdullah II of Jordan paid a personal visit to Jerusalem’s al- Aksa Mosque on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry sources and Islamic religious authorities in Jerusalem said.

By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com April 4, 2012
[Georgia’s] president gave him an assignment of historic dimensions - to repossess for Georgia the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem, after it was lost over 300 years ago to the Greek Orthodox Church.

By Judith Sudilovsky, Catholic News Service /www.catholicnews.com April 3, 2012

As Easter approaches, it can be a daunting task to find a quiet moment of contemplation at any of Jerusalem's holy sites, but it is especially so at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

By Shmuel Rosner Opinion http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com March 28, 2012

Some remain skeptical and say there’s a price to be paid for associating with evangelicals.

...That’s a good question, and CUFI’s doggedness in the face of constant suspicion may the best answer to it. If Hagee loves us this much, maybe we should find a way to love him back.

By Roi Kais www.ynetnews.com April 8, 2012

Air Sinai has launched a new route on Friday to shuttle Coptic Christians between Egypt and Israel, allowing pilgrims to visit their most holy sites for the first time in decades, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

The development comes in the wake of the death of Patriarch Shenouda III, the head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, who for decades prohibited Copts from traveling to Jerusalem and other sites due to the "Israeli occupation."

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