Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - April 16, 2012 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

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

By Kobi Nahshoni www.ynetnews.com April 11, 2012

Representatives of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements in Israel have complained to the tourism minister and the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs against Israel's hotels, which they claim are systematically discriminating against tourist groups from abroad by not allowing them to hold prayer services according to their customs.
Executive Director and CEO of the Masorti Movement Yizhar Hess said: "There is no connection between the rules of kashruth and their enforcement in the kitchen and the activities in other departments of the hotel...”

By Judy Lash Balint, Joint Media News Service www.jewishjournal.com April 10, 2012

A quiet revolution is taking place in the Israeli education system.  

When the next school year begins in September, a third stream of state-approved schools will join the existing secular (mamlachti) and religious (mamlachti dati) school systems that have defined Israeli education since the founding of the state.

According to Rabbi Michael Melchior, founder of Meitarim, the Network for Jewish Democratic Education, Knesset approval in February to implement a comprehensive State Pluralistic Education System will encourage students from both observant and secular backgrounds to study together, with a curriculum based on Jewish values of tolerance, Jewish peoplehood and humanism.

By Nathan Jeffay www.thejc.com April 11, 2012

A new service allows diaspora Jews who want to marry in Israel to organise their marriage licence online.

Thousands of Jews fly to Israel to get married every year, but they have long been daunted by the bureaucracy of applying for a marriage licence from Israel's rabbinate.

Over the years many have given up and circumvented the Israeli rabbinate, bringing their own rabbi from abroad and registering the marriage back home. 

But given that Israel law states that marriages can only be performed by the national rabbinate, this has been seen as legally problematic.

JPost.com Editorial www.jpost.com April 10, 2012

Bringing together religious and secular Israelis in a military framework entails compromise on both sides.

Secular soldiers need to understand that enforcing kosher rules enables their religious fellows to serve with them.

But religious soldiers and their rabbis also have an obligation. They should do their best to find leniencies in Halacha where possible so that secular soldiers are not forced to endure unnecessary burdens.

Whether the issue is gender segregation, threats to refuse military orders to evacuate a settlement, or adherence to Shabbat, religious soldiers and their rabbis should embrace moderation, not religious extremism.

By Jeremy Saltan www.jewishpress.com April 16, 2012

The human resources division of the IDF reported last week that they were forced not to draft 100 ultra-orthodox men that would have enlisted due to cutbacks in per-soldier finances from the treasury.

Asked why the Treasury cut down on the financing, the officer said: “The cost of a haredi soldier is very high, we have to pay him for family costs, special training (without women), special food, Torah lessons – all these things cost money. 

We get 5400NIS  per month per soldier from the treasury, and they needed to cut down to make the budget for 2011.”

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 16, 2012

Several prominent national-religious rabbis have expressed support for Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, the officer who was filmed striking a pro-Palestinian activist in the face with his M-16 rifle.

Former IDF chief rabbi Avihai Rontzki has also weighed in on the incident, and slammed what he labeled “an instinctive and impulsive” reaction against an officer who has “given his life everyday for the sake of the Jewish nation.”

By Meir Wikler Opinion www.haaretz.com April 15, 2012
Dr. Meir Wikler is a Brooklyn based psychotherapist, author and lecturer.

When Yad Vashem in Jerusalem opened its new wing, known as The Holocaust History Museum, in 2005, it was much ballyhooed as a state of the art, multi-million dollar Holocaust museum to top all others.

While praise for the new museum wing has poured forth from dignitaries and laymen, the unified opposition of so-called ultra-orthodox, or Haredi Jewry, has stuck out like a sore thumb. Why have Haredim been so upset?

By Iris Rosenberg www.haaretz.com April 15, 2012
Iris Rosenberg is the Spokesperson at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

Meir Wikler’s latest article on what he perceives as bias against Haredim at Yad Vashem is replete with misinformation.

To claim, as his headline does, that “Yad Vashem honors only Holocaust’s secular victims” is outrageous and can only be a result of an unfounded bias.

By Avi Rath Opinion www.ynetnews.com April 11, 2012

How simplistic and shallow it is to define “religious” and “secular” based on superficial, irrelevant criteria. 

We got so used to the stereotype whereby anyone who has a beard and sidelocks is automatically religious, not to mention a rabbi, while the guy with the ponytail or earring is automatically classified as a secular.

…The time has come to mature and leave this childish approach behind.

By Jeremy Sharon www.jpost.com April 16, 2012

The Jerusalem District Court postponed Monday morning the evidentiary stage in the trial of Rabbi Motti Elon for alleged indecent acts, in order to allow the defense team time to review the new material and to present its response to the state attorney’s office.

Jerusalem District prosecutors requested last week to add four new witnesses to the case to testify about the rabbi’s custom of hugging his students, as well as the testimony of a social worker who says she saw one such event.

By Rabbi Haviva Ner-David http://zeek.forward.com April 16, 2012
Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David is a rabbi, teacher, and writer living on Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee in Israel.

In Israel, mikvaot (ritual baths) are generally run by the Israeli Rabbinate, which does not recognize non-Orthodox conversions and therefore does not even allow such conversions to take place in their state mikvaot.

… I had a dream of turning the Hannaton mikveh into a pluralist mikveh where anyone (man or woman, gay or straight, single or married, Orthodox or religiously liberal, Jew or non-Jew) who wants to immerse could do so, and where the terms and conditions of the immersion would be up to the one who is immersing.

By Dr. William Kolbrener Opinion www.thedailybeast.com April 11, 2012
William Kolbrener, a professor of English Literature at Bar Ilan University, writes widely on Jewish life and culture; his Open Minded Torah: Of Irony, Fundamentalism and Love is published by Continuum (2011).

The zionism I advocate, however, the zionism with a small "z," has modest aspirations, not messianic pretensions.  My strong, even passionate, allegiance to a weak zionism, a liberal zionism, even an American-style zionism, aspires to cultivate a neutral public sphere, paralleling that of the American context.   

But like its counterpart, the Israeli public sphere, though putatively "neutral," would continue to be shaped by the history, culture and traditions—even the symbols, and especially the calendar—of the majority Jewish culture.  

This is a zionism confident in an inclusive and diverse public sphere, one which will cultivate a growing separation between religion and State as a place for exchange, not coercion.

By Leonard Fein Opinion http://forward.com April 8, 2012

Holding Israeli citizenship in itself is hardly a sufficient condition for being a “complete Jew.” Even Yehoshua recognizes that. 

He does, however, argue that we in America do not fulfill even the necessary condition for Jewish completeness, which is geographic. We here are in an existentially wrong place.

By Yehuda Kurtzer Opinion www.tabletmag.com April 6, 2012

But if Yehoshua’s argument hinges on the second approach—that living in Israel enables certain possibilities for Judaism that are not possible without sovereignty—then he may actually be right. But he is only half right.

Believers Documentary - Official Trailer 1 - Judaism from Aaron Porteous on Vimeo.

By Tamar Rotem www.haaretz.com April 12, 2012

Aliza Lavie has traced their history and customs and collected every detail she could in order to shed light on the role of women in Jewish ritual and in the community. 

The result is a new book, "Minhag Nashim: Masa Nashi shel Minhagim, Tekesim, Tefilot Ve'siporim ("Women's Customs: A Journey of Jewish Customs, Rituals, Prayers and Stories" (Yedioth Books, Hebrew).

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

Religion and State in Israel - April 16, 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 Ilan Lior www.haaretz.com April 12, 2012

A female audience member who was invited to participate in a circus performance in Modi'in on Sunday was removed from the stage after a religiously observant viewer complained.

Rafi Vitis, an acrobat and host of "The Shambuki Show," at the city's Anabe Park, consented to the request of an ultra-Orthodox woman who found the participation of women offensive. 

He invited a male volunteer to replace the teenage girl, but was forced to suspend the show for a few minutes because other members of the hundreds-strong audience objected to the switch.

By Ilana Curiel www.ynetnews.com April 11, 2012

The fourth day of the holiday drew large numbers of travelers out of their homes, but those who chose to visit the Beersheba zoo found closed gates. 

The zoo was open for the haredi public only, visitors argued, without any prior notice. 

A small sign on the zoo's gate confirmed the allegations, while the zoo's management insists that entrance to the zoo was not limited.

By Emilie Grunzweig www.haaretz.com April 11, 2012

The chairman of the Second Television and Radio Authority Tuesday rejected criticism of a vote by the authority's council to reduce the number of hours that women are on the air on ultra-Orthodox radio station Kol Barama.

According to the decision made two weeks ago, every week the station will have women on the air for four hours, rather than the six hours of a previous agreement.

[The authority's chairman, Ilan Avishar] added that "the gaps are not that great. To raise such a hue and a cry over four hours instead of six, when those four hours are significant in terms of women's presence, seems petty to me."

www.jpost.com April 9, 2012

During a subsequent investigation, the youths identified the two haredi men who allegedly paid them NIS 25 per hour to publicly call for segregation. Police arrested the two additional suspects.

By Elana Sztokman http://blogs.forward.com April 10, 2012

Yet none of this has anything to do with “modesty,” or even about Jewish law. 

Forbidding women’s use of cellphones or girls’ use of Facebook is not about religiousness or Torah. 

These are rules made by men who believe that women’s silence and invisibility will make their lives somehow easier or better.

By Oz Rosenberg www.haaretz.com April 11, 2012

Lawyers representing the CEO of the website, “Behadrei Haredim,” accused the police of starting an investigation and filing charges as a result of the website’s attacks against Jerusalem district police commander, Nisso Shaham, and his predecessor, Aryeh Amit.

The lawyers claim that recent police actions are in response to pictures posted of Shaham wearing an SS uniform.

By Tali Farkash www.ynetnews.com April 12, 2012

As it turns out, this platform was nothing but a cheap British tabloid in its haredi version. A platform contingent on "pay and you'll be protected – don't pay and you can bid farewell to your public life as you know it."

...So Hadrei Haredim, as it seems, was unable to free itself from the tribal behavior patterns of the haredi sector after all. Unfortunately for those who were extorted, they belonged to the opposite camp, and therefore were regarded as fair game. The "protection money" and "exemptions" made it all criminal.

By Mordechai I. Twersky www.haaretz.com April 12, 2012

A court on Wednesday extended the remand of a senior executive at a Jerusalem-based charity who was arrested this week on suspicion of stealing tens of millions of shekels from international donors.

The official, who is linked to the Hazon Yeshaya Humanitarian Network, did not attend the hearing at the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court. 

He remains under observation at a central Israeli hospital after he reportedly complained of "chest pains" during Sunday's arrest, according to court documents.

By Joanna Paraszczuk www.jpost.com April 12, 2012

On Sunday, police announced that they suspected the charity of cheating donors out of the funds after making them believe the money would be used for purchasing food for the needy, when in fact the money was used to purchase food that was sold to buyers in the haredi community.

By Avi Bentov www.ynetnews.com April 13, 2012

With some 10,000 couples marrying every year the world of haredi matchmaking has become a major industry.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) there are 135,000 households that see themselves as part of the haredi sector, and with an average of six members in each haredi family, roughly one million people belong to the haredi sector in society.

This means that nearly every haredi family has a family member undergoing the matchmaking process at any given time.

By Florit Shoihet www.idf.il April 4, 2012

During the week of Passover, not only soldiers honor the Jewish holiday by eating kosher for Passover foods, but also IDF animals stationed at the various units. 

The food, composed mostly of corn and starches, does not contain wheat in accordance with all Military Rabbinate criteria for kosher for Passover foods. 

Its nutritional value is specifically accommodated to the animals' needs and does not in any way affect their health or activity.

By Nathan Jeffay http://forward.com April 12, 2012

Mimouna has become a major event on the Israeli calendar. At one time drawing only a few hundred participants, today a central celebration in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park draws about 100,000 people, usually including the president and prime minister.

Across the country, Moroccans and Israelis of all ethnic backgrounds flock to smaller public and private celebrations. 

A special law even requires bosses to grant employees unpaid leave on the day of Mimouna if they want to carry on celebrations from the previous evening.

By Guy Lieberman www.ynetnews.com April 17, 2012

"Final Resting Place," a joint venture by the Health Ministry and the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, which aims to entomb 8,288 organs and tissue samples removed from deceased during autopsies, was officially launched on Sunday.

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, who heads ZAKA (Disaster Victim Identification) also voiced his objection to the project, saying that Judaism mandates that each and every part of a deceased's remains, no matter how minute, be buried.

However, Rabbi Yaakov Rosa, who works with the Forensic Institute, said several rabbis have endorsed the project.

By Itamar Marilus www.ynetnews.com April 15, 2012

Barak Tamir, a religious IDF officer, recently discovered that he might soon need to look for a 'kosher' stamp on his clothes and not just his food. 

Tamir, who purchased a T-Shirt from Israeli fashion brand Castro, found out after the fact that his shirt included a reprint of The Lord's Prayer, a well known Christian prayer.

By Moti Bassok www.haaretz.com April 16, 2012

One of the Abuhatzeira family rabbis owes the government NIS 9.5 million in taxes, according to the Israel Tax Authority.

The authority claims that Rabbi Yekutiel Abuhatzeira, a descendent of a distinguished rabbinic dynasty and a son of the Baba Sali, did not pay taxes on religious services he provided between 2003 and 2009.

By Gad Lior www.ynetnews.com April 16, 2012

According to the IRS, the rabbi owes NIS 10 million in back taxes. Authorities uncovered the debt as part of an ongoing investigation into several prominent rabbis and spiritual leader, for alleged tax evasion.

www.jpost.com April 16, 2012

The Chief Rabbinate decided Monday that celebrations for Jerusalem Day, scheduled to take place next month, will be postponed one day, from Saturday night to Sunday.

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