Thursday, March 21, 2013

Religion and State in Israel - March 21, 2013 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

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

By Nadav Perry

The ultra-Orthodox parties are therefore facing a difficult detox outside the coalition, without the instant connection to government establishments and the ability to exert pressure on government agencies in order to advance their interests.

...But the problem is far deeper than control of the budget spigot. The ultra-Orthodox politicians, led by their rabbis and supported by a large public, refuse to understand that the rules have changed, that they can no longer keep playing the game under the same guidelines established in recent decades. It’s simply not possible.

UTJ MK Uri Maklev was quoted by best-selling haredi daily newspaper Yated Ne’eman as describing the new government as one based on “an axis of hatred and persecution.”

“This axis is itself based on a campaign of systematic and foundational hostility and harassment to the Torah world, the haredi education system, the holy things of Israel and everything beloved of Judaism,” he said. “Its partners established a covenant betraying God and His Torah.”

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, haredi journalist Yisroel Cohen said that the feeling in the ultra-Orthodox world was one of concern and fear that their situation is changing.

“It’s clear that the rules of the game have changed, the haredi parties are on the outside, they’re not in government, they don’t have their hands on the taps anymore, they don’t have the influence or power, so this makes it harder to act,” Cohen explained.

UJT MK Gafni, in his furious address, declared that, “We believe that we (the Jewish people) exist only because of the merit of Torah, since we stood at Mount Sinai. Without the Torah, we wouldn’t be here in Israel.” 

He slammed the coalition agreements for outrageously discriminating against the ultra-Orthodox, and said the plans for drafting the ultra-Orthodox have not been thought through properly and are unworkable.

By Rachel Azaria

As the new government takes the oath of office, leaving the ultra-Orthodox parties far from the nexus of decision making, we have a real chance. 

Now is the time for the government to speak directly to the ultra-Orthodox public – circumventing their leaders. This is the only way to give the ultra-Orthodox community a future.

By Shmarya Rosenberg

Who can blame the haredim for thinking this magic bubble would never burst?
And the truth is, it still hasn’t. 

It won’t until thousands of haredi yeshiva students are drafted, refuse to report, and are jailed; or until haredi yeshivas that in defiance of the law do not teach the country’s core curriculum are, as the law requires, defunded. 

And while either could happen as soon as next week, it could also take years before either becomes reality.

By Joel Braunold

Importantly, the global Diaspora has a vital role in helping integrate the ultra-Orthodox. Both the American and European Jewish communities have large ultra-Orthodox communities that work and are generally sustainable. 

There is a unique opportunity to learn the lessons of the global Jewish Diaspora and apply it to Israel. The solutions exist and there are many willing to help out on this problem.

By Uzi Benziman

Outgoing Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (UTJ ) told the ultra-Orthodox Yated Ne'eman newspaper that settlers receive double budgets and double entitlements. 

He announced that he would publicize the double funding of army-affiliated hesder yeshivas and the billions transferred to settlements.

In the snake pit of Israeli politics, it could be payback time for Bibi for abandoning his ultra-Orthodox supporters in order to stay in power as prime minister, and this could have international repercussions far beyond the local problems of the yeshivot. 

The rabbi has warned that Netanyahu will soon “be sorry” for deceiving him and the other representatives of the ultras by “shamefully” leaving them out of power.

By Meirav Arlosoroff

In practice, this is a well-oiled mechanism of exploiting the assistance provided by the state – which is funded, of course, by Israeli taxpayers – so that the Haredim can continue not working and not paying taxes. 

This mechanism allows the Haredim to maintain their unique lifestyle: While they have almost no income and are indeed very poor, at the same time they have very few expenses because their poverty enables them to receive state assistance.

The Haredim can go on like this for years. Their poverty does not disturb them as long as they and their families can survive. 

The one that cannot go on like this for years is the State of Israel, whose taxpayers are going to collapse under the burden of the allowances and benefits provided to all those who do not work. 

The taxpayers’ solidarity with the state will also erode as they see how their work is being exploited to fund the non-working lifestyle of others.

By Akiva Eldar

UTJ Knesset Member Eichler wrote: “It is forbidden to enter any melting pot that causes Jews to abandon their religion. [Exposing them] to the drafting of girls, violations of the Sabbath, and the lewd environment that one finds among the goyim [Gentiles] is anti-religious coercion, and not some security prerequisite. Therefore, this is not a security debate but a spiritual war of survival.”

We know that Refaeli had a publicized relationship with a gentile actor," said Eyal Cohen, a law student at the Ono Academic College's haredi campus. "And in this way, she certainly doesn't represent the Israeli public."

By Jonathan Rosenblum

[MK Ruth] Calderon's embrace of Talmud study and Naftali Bennett's description of Torah as the source of the national identity that has preserved the Jewish people throughout the millennia, in his maiden speech, are expressions of an awareness of Appelfeld's "black hole" and the desire to fill it.

Members of the extreme Neturei Karta sect were planning a "welcoming ceremony" Wednesday for the US president upon his arrival in Jerusalem, urging him to "save us from the evils of Zionism."

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid, the newly appointed Finance Minister, plans to skip this year’s pre-Passover sale of the government of Israel’s chametz (leavened bread products), Yisrael Hayom reports.

He will be replaced by Education Minister Shai Piron, who is number two on the Yesh Atid list.

For the first time, the Badatz Beit Yosef kosher certification belonging to Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has lent its highly esteemed stamp to a range of cigarette brands from the Israeli Dubek tobacco products manufacturer, certifying that they are free from leaven, or hametz, which is forbidden over Passover.

The pumping of water from Lake Kinneret will be suspended at the end of next week because of concerns that it could contain leavening, which Jewish law prohibits the consumption of during the Passover holiday.

“Cutting off most of the state from the Kinneret water supply is a continuation of the process of unbridled extremism that has been forced on us by Haredi politicians," said Rabbi Uri Regev, the director of the religious-freedom organization Hiddush.

In an era in which "almost everything" has a kosher for Passoverversion, the Chief Rabbinate has been struggling to come up with guidelines that will prevent less-knowledgeable shoppers from making a mistake and buying a non-kosher for Passoverproduct on the holiday.

Yaakov Yitzhak Rata, who was convicted of rape and sentenced to 16 years at the Maasiyahu Prison's religious wing, was released from jail last week only to become a rebbe – a position he inherited from his father, who died during his imprisonment.

By Nehemia Shtrasler

[N]ow, after the establishment of a new government, there is a chance things could change. With the Haredim out and Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett in, we could become more rational. 

Without the craziness of the Haredim we might be able to correct daylight saving time and implement a long list of important reforms that were impossible under the previous government.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni stated Tuesday she would act to prevent the passage of a controversial bill that would make the state's democratic character secondary to its Jewish character.

The coalition agreement signed Friday between Habayit Hayehudi and Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu calls for a controversial bill for a Basic Law that would make the state's democratic character subservient to its Jewish character.

This insane law, which was only removed from the agenda in the past because of Tzipi Livni’s steadfastness, has now been resurrected due to the strange alliance between Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.

As moving as it’s been to hear Ben-Shetreet’s angelic voice on the few “Voice” videos that have not been blocked to viewers outside Israel for copyright reasons, the most touching clip I’ve seen has been of her visiting a synagogue with her mentor, Aviv Geffen. 

In it, she has a heartfelt discussion with the secular rocker about religion and spirituality, explaining how her belief in God helps her know what she is meant to be doing here on earth.

Near the end of Ruth Calderon‘s now famous speech to the Knesset on February 12th, 2013, the new Knesset member added a prayer for her role in the government, written by Dr. aim Hames of Ben-Gurion University.

In this contemporary rabbinic responsum, Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau, head of the activities of IDI’s Human Rights and Judaism project in the field, surveys the halakhic literature on the question of whether guide dogs are permitted to enter synagogues and concludes that there is room to allow their admission to the prayer section of the Western Wall.

After several months of legal wrangling against superpowers Marvel and DC Comics over selling unlicensed Spider-Man and Batman kippot, Avi Binyamin, owner of the well-known Jerusalem yarmulke store Kippa Man, said Tuesday that he had settled both lawsuits.

Zissels and Shulman’s claims have also been disputed by Sharansky and Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, a chief rabbi of Ukraine and president of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, an organization that, along with Zissels’s Vaad, is an affiliate of European Jewish Congress.

“We believe it to be both wrong and irresponsible to politicize the upcoming meeting by relating it to issues of Ukrainian political discourse,” Bleich said.

As to The Agency, long-time observers tell eJP they had no choice but to proceed with the meeting barring either the Israeli or Ukrainian government pulling the plug. 

Three years ago The Agency was forced to cancel their Board meeting scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia. A second cancellation in an FSU country would have been a significant embarrassment to both the organization and Sharansky.

Thirteen young Jewish men from Morocco began their studies at the Machon Lev academic institution for men in the Jerusalem College of Technology this year.

These youngsters are part of a fast-growing phenomenon of Moroccan Jewish families sending their children to study in Israel, particularly at the Jerusalem institute.

Among the Knesset committees which Yesh Atid MKs will chair is the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs. 

The party's MK Yoel Razbozov will be the chairman of that committee - and on Sunday, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid assigned MK Dov Lipman, an immigrant from the US, to be a member of that committee as well.

The State initiated the aliyah of Ethiopian Jews, and hence it must compensate families whose loved one's perished along the way, claim representatives of the Ethiopian community who filed a like minded High Court petition Thursday.

With a student body of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Druze and Buddhists, the Tabeetha School, now commemorating its 150th anniversary, is like no other in the country.

The Association of Temple Organizations, refused permission to perform its annual Passover sacrifice reenactment by the Jerusalem Veterinary Services, has submitted a legal petition to the Jerusalem District Court requesting that it instruct the Veterinary Services to issue the permit.

The association says it has slaughtered a lamb each year since 2008 as an educational exercise to demonstrate what took place in Temple times.

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