Thursday, March 7, 2013

Religion and State in Israel - March 7, 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 Shmuel Rosner

A vast majority of Israelis have repeatedly expressed their support for integrating Haredis into the military. They also support (if not with similar zest) their integration into the workforce. But it’s not clear whether they've considered the long-term risks.

A yeshiva student who refused to report to the IDF recruitment center, after a senior rabbi called on his followers not to respond to draft notices, says he would be "glad to go to prison."

The young ultra-Orthodox men who obeyed the call of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, leader of the radical Lithuanian Orthodox faction, are defined by the army as defectors and will be handled by the Military Police for failing to show up at the recruitment center after being called up three times.

In light of recent government proposals widely viewed in the hareidi world as a threat to Torah study, hareidi-religious leader Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman issued a call Wednesday to Jewish men to learn Torah for five days straight.

The three MKs of Degel Hatorah, the non-hassidic component of the United Torah Judaism party, met with spiritual leader of the haredi world Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman at the end of last week to discuss with him the details of the Kandel Plan for increasing haredi enlistment.

By Yedidia Z. Stern

It is imperative to ignore the discourse of hatred that defines the ultra-Orthodox as ignorant parasites, and it is equally imperative to ignore the discourse of hatred that defines the secular as religion haters and enemies of Judaism. 

Now is the time for responsible politics that sees drafting the Haredim while at the same time taking into account the values that they hold most dear as two vital sides of the same national coin.

Contrary to most voters’ desire for immediate action, Yesh Atid’s platform offers Haredim a five-year grace period before any draft takes effect.

“In five years’ time there will be so many changes that the Haredim will be able somehow to bring the old situation back,” warmed Idan Miller, chair of Common Ground, which lobbies for universal service. 

Uri Regev, president and CEO of the Hiddush organization for religious pluralism, bemoans the half-decade wait time, which he says is “conveniently scheduled to ‘kick in’ only after the next elections.”

MK Piron: "We are in disagreement because the relationship between religion and state should be different. We are in disagreement because we want everyone to study the core subjects."

By Hillel Halkin

Now that they are nearing 20% and growing fast, Israel must either integrate them or collapse under their weight. Drafting them is the first and biggest step toward doing this.
Many, perhaps most, Haredim realize this, even if few will say so in public. Very few of them may want to serve in the army; but how many non-Haredim, if given the choice, would want to serve, either?

They are not given the choice, and neither should Haredim be. Let Israel’s new government have the courage to enact this principle in law, and other governments can go on to other things. By then, the situation may be ripe for them.

By Ohad Shaked

If you succeed in reaching an agreement on such an important tissue, you will be able to reach agreements with the haredim on other matters as well - and certainly promote your agenda. If you choose not to follow this path, you will be responsible for a civil war, should it break out.

By Jonathan Rosenblum

If the government declares all-out ideological war on the chareidi world and insists on the draft of 18-year-old yeshiva students, then all the trends towards greater chareidi participation in the IDF, and in the private economy as well, will likely be reversed. 

Participation in the IDF will then be viewed as submission to a government decree against the citadels of Torah.
By Rabbi Eliezer Melamed

I recall entering the IDF draft office for a skills assessment exam. The army personnel were shocked to see a Chareidi girl interested in enlisting. One of the men administering the exam told me I was crazy and that I should apply for an exemption before it was too late.

CARTOON: Shas is chasing after Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, who is their last hope for getting into Israel's next coalition. If they don't succeed in wooing her into Netanyahu's coalition, they'll sit together in the opposition.

CARTOON: Will Shas really take part in the demolition of outposts?

Yacimovich has become the Haredi parties’ last hope. Without her, they are doomed to the hell of opposition. But she continues to hold firm. “Our decision is final,” she told her party’s MKs on Monday. We’re preparing with full force to be an effective, fighting opposition.”

By Aviad Kleinberg

The ultra-Orthodox in Israel chose the political arena because they want to enjoy the best of both worlds. Now that there is a possibility that they will be treated like any other player, they yell "Gevalt! A community in Israel is being boycotted!" But this is not true. No one is boycotting the haredi community.

Shas co-leader Aryeh Deri looks set to record his second failure since reentering politics last year: His enthusiastic support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a key element of his strategy throughout the election campaign, now looks like a losing bet on a horse that’s likely to buck him off, together with all the other ultra-Orthodox representatives in the Knesset.

With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently moving toward forming a coalition government that does not include Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish political parties, ultra-Orthodox institutions stand to lose huge sums of state funding.

… Netanyahu may not be eager to face down the politically powerful Haredi parties with whom he has long partnered. He is thought not to trust Yesh Atid or Habayit Yehudi, whose leaders could compete with him for leadership of the country, and may need Shas and United Torah Judaism's support against them in the future.  

But the fact remains, if the Haredi parties end up in the opposition, they will lose major sources of institutional influence.

"This is a way to generate change in Haredi society – quietly and from the bottom," he says. "Our three yeshivas could put out 600 graduates a year, all of them agents of change. They will return to their communities, to the sudden discovery that they're not such bad marriage prospects after all – since they keep a Haredi lifestyle and can also support themselves. This is the way to transmit the message that learning a trade is something good. It's a foot in the door," says Peleg.

But for now, this solution is tolerated only for the drop-outs. Most Haredi youth won't study anywhere but a full-fledged yeshiva. And even this limited program for a small population must stay out of the limelight, with no mention of civics studies or army service. That's the only way the rabbis are willing to go along with it.

By Nati Tucker

Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, chairmen of Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi, respectively, have refused to join the government unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts their stance and pushes through legislating mandating Haredi conscription. 

But they are achieving the opposite of what they intended: The Haredim are becoming more extreme in their positions, more insular and less willing to consider a compromise.

By Shmuel Rosner

The Haredi challenge is complex and dealing with it requires setting preferences and priorities that will dictate recommended approaches. 

In any case, we cannot assume that dealing with the problem requires flexibility (or “submission”) only from the Haredim, and it is important to understand that the non-Haredi community, in overcoming one of the challenges, will likely pay a price that it had not necessarily anticipated in relation to the others.

By Dror Eydar

Excluding them would be a historically irresponsible act. The haredim realize that things are not going to continue as they were. They, too, know the election results. 

The haredi street is ripe for finding a solution. But the representatives of general society must deal with the issue of equality in sharing the national-service burden in real and sincere partnership with the haredim.

By David M. Weinberg

Our new government must help haredim out of the hole they have dug for themselves by ending the all-encompassing government support system for those not even attempting to get a modern education or earn a living. The “world of Torah” will be strengthened, and Israeli society healed.

Over 2,500 Haredi men and women are currently studying law, business, accounting and health professions at Israel’s Ono Academic College Haredi Campus, while thousands more have graduated and are gradually enhancing the community’s capacity for self-sufficiency.
See also:

The Rebbe of Peremyshlyany, Rabbi Meir Rosenboim, appealed to secular leaders to understand why haredim had no place in the army as they were actually defending Israel from a great calamity.

By not studying the Torah and following its precepts, the rabbi said, it was actually the secular Israelis who caused the dangerous security issues and so had a greater duty to serve in the army than the haredim.

Here at Beit Midrash Sci-Tech Kfar Zeitim, Torah studies take place next to vocational classes in computer technology, electrical training, woodworking and even agriculture.

The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, along with the Finance Ministry, is inaugurating career centers for the ultra-Orthodox public in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak to be run by the municipalities under the ministry’s supervision.

The two teachers from the Alumim school in Ramat Hasharon, one of them an Arab, had arrived in Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon to offer their condolences to the school's principal who had lost her mother.

Jewish law lets members of the public inform on suspected tax evaders if the wrongdoers have been warned that they are violating civil and religious law, the Keter Institute for Economics and Torah said Tuesday.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and prominent kabbalist Rabbi David Batzri say it is permitted to desecrate Shabbat as part of attempts to prevent romantic relationships between Jewish women and Arab men.

Dozens of police and Prison Service officers searched the streets of downtown Jerusalem on Wednesday for a man imprisoned for six years for refusing to divorce his wife who escaped from custody by leaping from a bathroom window.

By Renee Ghert-Zand

For instance, Esther is identified only as “the cousin of Mordechai.” All it says on the sign for Rachel Imeynu (Rachel the Matriarch) Street is that she was “wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin.” By way of comparison, King David is described not as the son of someone, but as “one of the great kings of Israel.”

Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, what do you see as the future of religious Zionism and its greatest challenges in the next 10 years?

I don’t know what future religious Zionism will look like, but I would like to see deeper levels of Torah knowledge and commitment, interacting with the needs and potential of the society in Eretz Yisrael and of Jewish communities in the Diaspora as well.

One of the two witnesses set to testify against Rabbi Motti Elon, who is on trial for sexual harassment, refused to take the stand Tuesday, forcing the prosecution to drop half of the charges against him at the final stages of the court case.

If you're a secular Jew and have religious friends, you've probably been invited by them occasionally to "do Shabbat in our house."

Up until now, if you accepted the invitation, you would have had to arrive at their home before the start of Shabbat, but a new halachic ruling aims to change that.

Rabbis from the Orthodox Beit Hillel organization have issued a ruling that it is permissible to invite a non-religious person to your home for a Shabbat meal, even if they will travel by car on the Sabbath itself.

Jerusalem police closed the Temple Mount to visitors on Wednesday morning after an altercation between a group of Jewish visitors and a group of Muslim women.

Jerusalem police removed MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu) from the Temple Mount on Monday morning after the politician demanded entry to the Dome of the Rock, saying he was exercising his rights as a Knesset member.

A particularly exotic group of immigrants is expected to arrive in Israel soon: About 100 Jewish Indians living in a jungle on the banks of the Amazon River in Peru.

Ethiopian students from the religious boarding school Hasidim in the north are segregated in a separate learning stream according to an Army Radio report.

Israel’s Health Ministry has ordered an investigation into whether government employees or health workers prescribed a birth control drug to Ethiopian immigrant women as a way to control the population.

There will also be a representative of the Ethiopian community on the panel, who will be chosen by Yesh Atid MK Penina Tamanu-Shata. The new MK recently met with Litzman and demanded that he “not abet a cover-up of the issue and have it quickly examined by an investigative committee.” The committee will try to determine who was involved in setting a policy, if any, of routinely injecting Ethiopian women with the contraceptive.

Dr Mushira Aboodia, a gynaecologist working at Jerusalem's Hadassah medical centre, said the majority of Ethiopian women she had met received Depo-Provera injections.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman Revach, from the Institute for the Study of Agricultural Torah Commandments in Israel, is outraged by [Rabbi Ovadia] Yosef’s statement that most people in Israel have no tradition of eating locusts and cannot rely on the marks, even if the insect goes by the name of locust. Revach says Yosef cannot rule on the issue without examining the specific creatures that landed in the south this week.

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