Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - May 28, 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 Tomer Zarchin www.haaretz.com May 29, 2012

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced on Monday that he is closing the investigation of two revered West Bank rabbis who wrote a religious text, Torat Hamelech (The King's Torah ), which argues there are times when Jews are allowed to kill gentiles who pose no physical threat of violence.

The authors are rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, while the text was endorsed by leading Chabad Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg and Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior.

"Evidence issues enjoin the closing of this case," wrote Weinstein. "Negative responses to this book can be made at the public level."

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com May 28, 2012

Director of the Reform Movement in Israel Rabbi Gilad Kariv said that closure of the case sends a message that “racial incitement is permitted in Israel and bears no price.”

“This is the most racist book written in Hebrew in recent years,” Kariv continued. “This is a dangerous message that will lead not just to more words of incitement, but also to actions.”

By Aviad Glickman www.ynetnews.com May 28, 2012

The attorney general also stated that it was "obvious that the decision to close (the case) was not in any way an expression of acceptance for the serious statements presented in the book. The opposite is true, the statements are, according to the attorney general, deserving of condemnation and denunciation."
See also:

By Anat Hoffman Opinion http://blogs.rj.org May 14, 2012

For some reason, when ideas are put down in a book they are given more authority. Seeing something crazy in writing makes it literature, and if it is written in Hebrew it is holy. The book I am talking about today is neither literature nor holy. It is simply evil.

www.ynetnews.com May 21, 2012

Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, one of the leaders of the Lithuanian branch of haredi Judaism:
"There are eight billion people in the world. And what are they? Murderers, thieves, brainless people… But who is the essence of this world? Has God created the world for these murderers? For these evil-doers? "

JTA www.haaretz.com May 24, 2012

Belgium’s health minister said she was “profoundly troubled” by the behavior of her Israeli counterpart, Yaakov Litzman, after the haredi Orthodox minister refused to shake her hand at a conference.

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion www.jpost.com May 24, 2012

The failure of haredi yeshiva students to do army service is most responsible for the perception of haredi detachment and indifference.

But even here, the inference is wrong. Haredim do not claim that they have no responsibilities to their fellow Jews in Israel (though they are far more likely to frame those duties as owed to the Jewish people than to the State of Israel). Rather, they believe that their Torah learning is a vital component not only of national security but of national prosperity.

Given Israel’s remarkable achievements in both the military and economic spheres, those claims cannot be rejected out-of-hand.

… [W]ithout a belief in Sinai, it is hard to fashion a coherent account of the Jewish historical mission or even to articulate why the continued existence of the Jewish people, and by extension the State of Israel, matters.

By Roni Shuv Opinion www.haaretz.com May 28, 2012

After watching the first part of Amnon Levy's highly-rated documentary series on the ultra-Orthodox ("The Haredim," recently broadcast on Channel 10) my instinctive response was, Where is my passport and how does one get a green card?

… I am not what I saw on the screen. It is not me, not my family, not my friends and not one of the Haredim I know. The portrait presented was strange, miserable, at times primitive, and at other times distorted.

...Who is a Haredi? A person just like you, with an individual personality and different customs. It's as simple as that and as true as that.

By Samuel Sokol www.5tjt.com May 24, 2012

Speaking at a pre-Jerusalem Day celebration, a holiday shunned by much of the chareidi community, Amsalem told supporters of the English-language branch of his recently established Am Shalem [“whole nation”] political movement that solutions must be found for the issue of integration of chareidim into the national life of the State of Israel while maintaining sensitivity to their legitimate religious concerns.

Amsalem has proven popular—even, he says, among secular Israelis—due to his advocacy of increased participation of chareidim in the workforce while appealing to religious Jews by pushing for more Jewish education in secular schools.

By Roni Linder-Ganz www.haaretz.com May 20, 2012

The committee's recommendations are a political bombshell, especially in light of the fact that the Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, is ultra-orthodox of the Gur sect and the United Torah Judaism religious party.

Despite, this people who work close to Litzman said he will not oppose the recommendations and will leave the ministry's administration to deal with the recommendations.

By Samuel Sokol www.5tjt.com May 24, 2012

5TJT: How do you intend to reach out the chareidi community? How do you respond to the chareidim who say that they cannot follow you because you disagreed with Rav Ovadia Yosef?

C.A.: I don’t deal with them. In the chareidi world it is normal that people pasul each other all the time. We are not against anyone; we respect everybody.

By the chareidi, someone who doesn’t go on their exact path is considered off the derech. The chassidim are against the Lithuanians, and the Lithuanians are against the chassidim. I’m not against anyone.

Whoever wants to join us should join. I don’t exclude anyone. We don’t want to continue that path.

By Telem Yahav www.ynetnews.com May 24, 2012

A single mother has petitioned the High Court of Justice this week to allow her to complete the artificial insemination process she had started using a sperm donor – despite the fact the donor has decided to withdraw his contributions for newfound religious reasons.

By Danna Harman www.haaretz.com May 27, 2012

It is 2 A.M. at the central bus station in south Tel Aviv, a place experiencing rising tensions between the locals and the thousands of African migrants and migrant workers who have made this neighborhood their home.

“In the Torah you are commanded to love God, your neighbor – and the love the stranger who lives among you,” says Eran Baruch, head of the BINA Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture, which operates Israel’s first secular Yeshiva, located directly across from the bus station.

By Judy Lash Balint Opinion http://blogs.timesofisrael.com May 28, 2012

One of the things Jews in the Israel of 2012 do is to observe the centuries-old Kabbalistic custom of Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a night dedicated to Torah study, as well as showing up en masse at the Kotel. Anyone taking part in this Shavuot experience has not only changed him/herself but contributed to the definition of modern Israeli identity.

By Mordechai I. Twersky www.haaretz.com May 26, 2012

From partnered groups and lectures to the traditional sunrise walk to the Western Wall, English speakers in Israel will have a host of options to choose from this weekend as they embark upon the annual battle to make it to sunrise as part of the Shavuot festival's all-night study marathon.

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

The Tzohar rabbinical association is planning an extravaganza of intellectualism, spiritualism and Torah study for the traditional all-night learning sessions of Shavuot, which falls out on Saturday night and Sunday.

By Rabbi Jeff Cymet Opinion www.haaretz.com May 20, 2012

As a Masorti rabbi who has dedicated his career to providing access to the traditions of our culture to Israelis, I know that, despite the great cultural richness of Israel today, much that is essential to the future of our Jewish civilization is as much at risk of being lost here in Israel as elsewhere, especially due to government policies in Israel that inhibit access in Israel to much that is essential and valuable within the Jewish religious tradition.

As special as the quality of life is here in Israel, there is still much that we can and must do to go about improving it.

By Rachel Levmore Opinion www.jpost.com May 21, 2012
The writer has a PhD from Bar-Ilan University in Talmud and Jewish Oral Law, is a rabbinical court advocate and coordinator of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis and the Jewish Agency.

Bar-Ilan University has decided to confer an honorary doctorate upon Malka Puterkovsky in a special ceremony to be held on May 22. With no formal rabbinic training, the Israeli Ms. Puterkovsky has developed into a traditional Orthodox rabbinic leader. That is, traditional in all ways but one – she is a woman.

By Andrew Esensten www.haaretz.com May 25, 2012

For two days each May, the dusty desert town of Dimona receives an infusion of color and excitement, courtesy of the African Hebrew Israelite community, which celebrates its "exodus" from the United States with musical and dance performances, a parade through the city and a watermelon feast.

The Hebrew Israelites, often referred to as Black Hebrews, represent the largest community of African-American expatriates in the world (at approximately 2,500).

They began leaving the United States, which they refer to as Babylon, in 1967 during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

By Pascale Fournier, Pascal McDougall and Merissa Lichtsztral

The article will attempt to test out this claim and to comprehend Israeli women’s condition by analyzing the operation of the Sanctions Law, a religious legislation intended to address the plight of the agunah.

Through field work and interviews with Israeli Jewish women, this article will attempt to assess the concrete impacts of religious and secular family law on women.

By Itay Blumenthal www.ynetnews.com May 28, 2012

A woman who presented the rabbinical court with extremely suggestive correspondence between her husband and other women on Facebook convinced judges that his actions constitute infidelity.

AP www.washingtonpost.com May 23, 2012

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old seal that bears the inscription “Bethlehem,” the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday, in what experts believe to be the oldest artifact with the name of Jesus’ traditional birthplace.

On May 16-17, 2012, the Israel Democracy Institute hosted an international conference on the Role of Religion in Human Rights Discourse as part of the activities of its Human Rights and Judaism project, which is directed by Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, and Prof. Hanoch Dagan.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion, Religion as a Source of Human Rights, Religion and Human Rights on the Ground, and Religion and Gender.

July 30-August 2, 2012 Yale University

By Ruth Eglash www.jpost.com May 23, 2012

The chief rabbi of Israel’s Ethiopian community, Yosef Hadane, welcomed on Tuesday the first-ever professional translation of the five books of the Torah, or Chumash, into Amharic.

By Judith Sudilovsky http://cnsblog.wordpress.com May 25, 2012

Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews, was warmly welcomed by a largely Jewish audience to an intimate gathering focusing on Jewish-Catholic relations.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com May 28, 2012

A row has broken out in the Arab community over a bill proposed in Knesset by MK Ghaleb Majadle (Labor) to shorten the term limit of the president of the Shari’a court system.

The current term limit is 10 years, which Majadle, the Knesset deputy speaker, seeks to reduce to seven.

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