Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - April 30, 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 Amir Mizroch Opinion http://amirmizroch.com April 24, 2012
The writer is editor of the English Newsletter Edition of Israel Hayom

We cannot continue to allow the ultra-Orthodox parties to hold their own people hostage to backwardness, poverty, and a life of blind servitude to hundred year old self-styled ‘geniuses’, while also holding the secular middle class hostage to their growing material demands, and bleeding it dry.

...Only in Israel do Haredi men not work. Where I grew up in Johannesburg, haredi men work and learn. In America, they work and learn. All over the world Haredi men work and learn. Just here they don’t.

The secular majority and the Haredi minority must learn to coexist in this country while respecting each other’s ways, in the knowledge that we all have to pitch in and do our part. Nobody is outside the tent.

...More and more Israelis are looking for alternatives to the rabbinates. It is time we opened Judaism up. People should be allowed to practice their faith as they see fit.

The government can and should strengthen Jewish education, Jewish culture, Jewish history, and Jewish traditions, but it should do so in an inclusive way. And by doing this, we can liberate Judaism from its increasingly political overtones.

By David Horovitz www.timesofisrael.com April 26, 2012

Interview with Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman
Q: You’ve also said that the government should fine those schools that don’t teach a core curriculum.
Yes. Schools that don’t teach the basic curriculum required by the Ministry of Education should not be funded by the state. You don’t teach what the state wants? Then you pay. We won’t.And if a parent prevents his child from obtaining an education that would enable him to obtain a profession in the future, this is child abuse. Not teaching the child, not giving him the chance to feed his family in the future, parents that do this should be punished.
Q: It’s the state that has allowed this abuse.
Absolutely. For political reasons, the state made terrible mistakes, one after the other. And the people who demanded this, their power is growing all the time. We have more and more ignorant people, who want their people to be as ignorant as they are.

By Jeff Barak Opinion www.jpost.com April 29, 2012
The writer is a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post.

What the country really needs is a government prepared to deal with the most serious issue facing Israeli society: the economic unsustainability of the haredi way of life and the effect it has on the rest of society given this sector’s ever-increasing population growth.

Dry statistics are one thing, but a chance meeting at a recent social event with a haredi acquaintance drove home for me the sheer absurdity of today’s system.

By David Horovitz Opinion www.timesofisrael.com April 25, 2012

How, for instance, are we going to stably reconcile the conflicting imperatives of a first world democracy with respect for the religion that sustained us in exile?

The Orthodox – increasingly ultra-Orthodox – stranglehold on life-cycle events cannot hold.
And the ad hoc arrangements that have produced, for the first time in Jewish history, an entire demographic sector that has abandoned the religious requirement to join the productive workforce, cannot be sustained.

It is as untenable for the willfully ill-educated, impoverished members of the ultra-Orthodox community as it is for the rest of the society that is resentfully supporting them.

By Rabbi Uri Regev Opinion http://ejewishphilanthropy.com April 27, 2012
The writer is President, CEO, Hiddush 

[H]owever well intentioned the Jewish Agency for Israel and Makom’s goals were in confronting these issues, I fear they did not provide the assembled Jewish leadership with the necessary exposure to the facts to understand the situation, nor did they adequately address expert opinions which call for decisive measures to handle this urgent situation.

The question that the participants in the Jewish Agency forum should be asking themselves is this: are you confident that the school of thought presented to you adequately faced the facts, and has a plan that will halt Israel from this threatening cycle?

Should we not be presented with multiple perspectives and be able to come to our own conclusions?

By Yonatan Ariel Opinion http://ejewishphilanthropy.com May 1, 2012
Yonatan Ariel is the Executive Director of Makom, an initiative of the Jewish Agency, which creates and presents the Global Jewish Forum.

We identified three different circles within the Haredi community in Israel.
·                        The Rejectionists – those who wish to isolate themselves from Israel and the mechanisms of statehood.
·                        The Residents – those who wish to isolate themselves from Israeli society but wish the state and its organs to provide for them.
·                        The Citizens – those who wish to be educated to a high level both in classical Judaica and in secular subjects that can fuel their ability to work, pay taxes, do some kind of national service and to live a Haredi life.

We asked what it would take to move more Haredim to the category of self- perception as Israeli Citizens, rather than as Israeli Residents.

It appears to me, someone with a lot of dealing in both the secular community and the ultra orthodox community, that your position to sharpen the response to the issue of the secular-ultra orthodox divide would be more likely to be counter-productive than productive.

...Please also understand that change in the ultra-orthodox occurs slowly, glacierally. This community places prime value on tradition, and carries an ingrained cautiousness to change.

While secular society is highly innovation oriented, and change is embraced easily and naturally, one must judge another society based on where it is coming from.

Relative to the history of the ultra-orthodox community, there has been sweeping change in this new millennium.

By Joel Braunold Opinion www.haaretz.com April 30, 2012

The bigger question, perhaps, is do the Haredi communities want to join the rest of the Jewish Israeli community?

The Jewish communal structures need to find some way to represent the fasting growing element of the community if they are to keep their representative function in a meaningful way.

With the younger generation absconding along with the Haredi community keeping to themselves, the structures that have existed up till now will find themselves in an increasingly existential challenge.

http://hiddush.org April 25, 2012
Excerpted From: Trial and Error The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann, Harper Bros., New York, 1949, pp 568-9
“Religion should be relegated to the synagogue and the homes of those families that want it; it should occupy a special position in the schools; but it shall not control the ministries of State.”

By Nancy K. Kaufman Opinion www.huffingtonpost.com April 26, 2012
The writer is CEO, National Council of Jewish Women

Israel, however, is caught in an unusual conundrum -- how to ensure the egalitarian principles upon which Israel was founded while acknowledging the lack of separation between religion and state that was (supposedly) guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution but never made explicit in Israeli laws.

As a result, ultra-religious parties, way out of proportion to their numbers in the general population, have gained significant power in the Knesset, due to the desire of some major parties to include them in their governing coalitions in order to retain power.

By Amira Lam www.ynetnews.com April 28, 2012
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huladi: "Herzl did not speak of a Jewish state, but rather, about a state for Jews," he said. "A Jewish state would mean…Jewish law instead of democracy. If we'll have an ultra-Orthodox majority here, Israel will turn into a fundamentalist state like Saudi Arabia."

By Ron Kampeas www.jta.org April 23, 2012

Murray Koppelman saw women pushed onto the back of a bus in Tehran and had a nightmare about Israel’s future.

Koppelman, a well-known philanthropist in New York, is behind a New Israel Fund pledge drive to combat discrimination against women in Israel. He will match every new dollar donated to the New Israel Fund up to $500,000.

By Jonah Lowenfeld www.jewishjournal.com April 25, 2012

Interview with Daniel Sokatch, CEO, The New Israel Fund
[Murray Koppelman] was worried, though, because he saw things that reminded him of developments in Israel that have been unsettling to him in recent years, like the segregation of buses, like the removal of images of women in the public sphere, like the attempted crackdown on human rights or civil rights organizations to do their jobs.

These things disturbed him, and he came home and said, ‘I don’t want to see my beloved Israel go down that path.’ That’s what the campaign is about.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 25, 2012

Residents of Beit Shemesh had to string up Israeli flags down a central thoroughfare in the city for Independence Day, because, they say, the municipality refused to do so.

Although many streets throughout Beit Shemesh have been generously festooned with flags, Herzog Street, which runs directly between the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet and the more modern neighborhood of Givat Sharet, was not included in the patriotic street decorations.

By David Lev www.israelnationalnews.com April 25, 2012

Rabbi Metzger said, learning Torah in memory of the fallen soldiers was far preferable to other ways of commemorating the day, when Memorial Day “has turned into a day of songs,” he said, adding that he hoped many other communities would undertake the practice.

www.ynetnews.com April 30, 2012

On the eve of Independence Day, the Israeli flag seemed to adorn virtually every home and car across the country; but it was hardly mentioned in an article published that day in an ultra-Orthodox children's paper, which featured a thorough review of the flags of the world.

Rabbi Uri Regev, Hiddush:
"This is another proof that the core educational program, which includes civics and history studies, must be imposed on the ultra-Orthodox educational system, in order to make sure that haredi children also learn the real story behind the foundation of the state and its symbols, instead of growing up in a reality that boycotts the state."
See also: Ultra-Orthodox children's paper excludes Israeli flag

By Maayana Miskin www.israelnationalnews.com April 27, 2012

The hareidi-religious community in Israel largely abstains from Independence Day celebrations. However, this year as every year, the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, a large and respected institution, marked the day by raising the Israeli flag.

By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski www.israelnationalnews.com April 26, 2012

Israelis celebrate Independence Day with parties, barbecues, fireworks and live performances. Not all, of course, begin the festivities with prayer in the synagogue.
However, Shlomo Abramson said he believes the prayer is indeed the most important part of the celebration.

By Nir Hasson www.haaretz.com April 28, 2012

A Jerusalem mother of two was sent a threatening letter on Thursday, in yet another case of exclusion of women. In the letter, the woman was told she must leave the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood immediately, for having “crossed the limits of the Torah of Israel.”

She added that she is not a malicious person, and has no desire to stir up anyone. “I do wear pants, but not short ones,” she explained.

http://hiddush.org April 23, 2012

83% of Jewish Israelis believe in making housing subsidies conditional on willingness to work to your ability. That is, to grant subsidies only to those who work, are trying to work, or are unable to work. Only 17% were opposed to these conditions.

By Steve Linde www.jpost.com April 29, 2012

The new ‘Hatikva,’ which features some of the original lyrics and some new lyrics, was released for Independence Day. The singer said her new anthem, which she aims to be more inclusive, has sparked debate.

Rather than singing “A Jewish soul still yearns” in the anthem, Carlebach sings, “An Israeli soul still yearns,” and instead of “An eye still gazes toward Zion,” she sings “An eye still gazes toward our country.”

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

The contest is organized by the IDF chief education officer, the IDF Rabbinate, the Ministries of Defense and Education, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund.

By Eli Ashkenazi www.haaretz.com April 27, 2012

A fifth mikveh has been found in the caves on the Galilee's Cliffs of Arbel, indicating that the people who lived there under Roman rule were most likely kohanim, Jews of the priestly class, said Yinon Shivtiel, one of the researchers who found the ritual bath.

According to Shivtiel, the effort needed to build mikvehs under such difficult circumstances indicates that these cave dwellers were probably kohanim.

"These people saw it as an imperative to build a mikveh in their shelter, in a cave on a steep cliff," he said.

By David Lev www.israelnationalnews.com April 25, 2012

The economic daily Calcalist on Wednesday featured a large ad placed by Jews for Jesus offering readers an app that leads them to the organization's website, where there is a “hard sell” in Hebrew on why Jews should believe in Jesus.

By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com April 29, 2012

In an attempt to expand its operations and further strengthen ties between Christians across the globe and Israel, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is reaching out to new communities on two continents and has recently opened offices in South Korea and Australia.

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