Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Religion and State in Israel - January 21, 2008 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

January 21, 2008 (Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Education Ministry drops Arabic studies from core curriculum to woo ultra-Orthodox schools

By Or Kashti, Haaretz January 18, 2008

"It was clear that this is the price we have to pay so that maybe they will agree to accept a program that includes mathematics and English," he said, adding that "we made painful compromises with regard to other subjects, too."

"The desire to be liked by the Haredim didn't work out," another official said, "while we got stuck with a partial core curriculum that returns like a boomerang to hurt state schools."

Haaretz cartoon January 18, 2008 By Eran Wolkowski

liba, liba” (*core curriculum) – as in “riba” (jam)

School Matters / Desperate times and desperate statements

By Or Kashti, Haaretz January 16, 2008

Last week, Tamir published a new list of regulations schools need to meet to gain "semi-official institution" status.

The list was published ahead of the implementation of the Nahari Law, which obliges local authorities to finance semi-official educational institutions.

State religious schools get more devout in bid to compete

"We don't want that to happen to thousands of kids from traditional families. We are afraid that if this haredization trend does not stop there will be no normal religious Zionist education available. You will have to choose between secular or near-haredi."

The state religious school system, once a paradigm of diversity that incorporated students from moderately traditional to strictly observant, all in a coed environment, has begun to accommodate a much more religiously committed population.

Kesim slam rabbinate over marriage difficulties

"We want Amar to issue an order that every single rabbi employed by the Chief Rabbinate must recognize Ethiopians as Jews and every religious council must supply the same services to Ethiopians that are offered to every other Israeli," said Azariya.

For 12 years, dozens of kesim have been employed by the state to provide spiritual guidance to their communities. These kesim are not recognized as rabbis by the Chief Rabbinate.

Chief rabbi: Bring all of Falash Mura to Israel

By Neta Sela, YNetnews.com January 16, 2008

"I call for these Jews to be released and brought here, every Jew who wants to come here should be brought, after inspection of course, but regardless of whether he is from Romania or Ethiopia. We must bring these Jews to the State of Israel," said Amar.

Chabad's critic from within

By Tom Segev, Haaretz January 18, 2008

Yehoshua Mondshein is much greater than what any new historian has ever stirred up in the Zionist establishment.

Mondshein is exposing the commonly accepted fictions of the ultra-Orthodox world, including the stories of wonders and miracles disseminated by Chabad Hasidim.

It's a major scandal, because Mondshein himself is a Chabad Hasid.

It's the budget, stupid

By Nehemia Shtrasler, January 15, 2008

I advocated [the approach that] held that when you increase child allowances (from the fourth or fifth child onward), that encourages Haredim to have larger families.

When you cut the allowances sharply, as was done in 2003, the result will be smaller families.

I also predicted that the change would take time: It would happen only once the public was convinced that the cuts would not be rescinded under pressure from the Haredi parties. Therefore, it would take a few years until evidence emerged of a change in behavior.

Give birth and cry

By Tamar Rotem, Haaretz January 20, 2008

The trend of lower birthrates, which is still at an early stage, is part of the drive toward normality becoming evident in ultra-Orthodox society in recent years.

The cutback in child allowances is another factor, in the sense that the ultra-Orthodox are today more aware of their economic situation and reject poverty as a value.

But this is certainly not the whole story.

Bratslavs want more flights to Ukraine

By Zohar Blumenkranz, Haaretz January 17, 2008

With the growing demand of Bratslav Hasids wishing to visit the grave over the course of the rest of the year, the demand for more charter flights has grown.

Israeli authorities have been seeking to increase the number of flights, and to allow the introduction of new charter companies in 2008.

Ex-IDF chaplain: Body parts may be left on battlefield

IDF soldiers' body parts may have been left behind in Lebanon and other theaters of battle despite heroic efforts, including a calculated risk of other soldiers' lives, to bring them to burial, former OC Chaplaincy Corp Brig.-Gen. Yisrael Weiss said.

"In some cases we verified the death of soldiers without having in our possession the soldier's entire body," said Weiss.

Gay marriage is ‘coming closer’ in Israel

By Nathan Jeffay, TheJC.com January 18, 2008

Although the scheme might appear a gimmick, “this is a real revolution, an alternative to religious marriage.

This is the first step to show that society here in Israel accepts the new family, which is not using the existing institutions for recognising partnerships. It will be the first step towards civil marriage.”

Right-wing rabbis: Soldiers must not evacuate settlements

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz January 21, 2008

A group of right-wing rabbis ruled yesterday that soldiers are religiously obligated to refuse Israel Defense Forces orders to evacuate settlements.

"Every person, including soldiers, is prohibited from cooperating with orders that contravene the Torah," ruled the Rabbis for Eretz Yisrael. "Evacuating the Land of Israel is prohibited."

Religious passengers slam racy commercials, threaten railway boycott

By Kobi Nahshoni, YNetnews.com January 19, 2008

Promos of an Israeli version of reality powerhouse Survivor depicting the scantily-clad participants have outraged ultra-Orthodox, religious and even some secular train passengers.

"We will have to call for a mass boycott of the trains by the religious public. I was shocked at the impertinence of the content, without being given the choice of whether you wish to see it or not. This is cheap coercion and it does against Jewish principles."

Rabbi Shabazi's bones to be buried in Israel?

By Itamar Eichner, YNetnews.com January 12, 2008

Yedioth Ahronoth has uncovered that massive efforts have been made as of late to bring Shabazi’s bones back to Israel, as part of the country’s upcoming 60th anniversary celebration. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, Jewish organizations, as well as US officials with ties to Yemen are all collaborating in order to retrieve the Rabbi’s bones.

The Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar has furthermore issued a religious ruling allowing for the retrieval of Shabazi’s bones for reburial in Israel.

Rabbinic courts are actually better off under Justice Ministry' , JPost.com January 16, 2008

There has been a marked improvement in state funding for rabbinic courts since the dismantling of the Religious Affairs Ministry four years ago, the courts' administrative head, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan said.

The possibility that the rabbinic courts might be returned to the Religious Affairs Ministry became real again this week after the Knesset voted to reinstitute the ministry under the leadership of MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas).

Rabbi Stanley Davids: 'The Zionist Dream Is Unfulfilled'

JTonline.us January 11, 2008

Among the 3,000 rabbis paid by the Israeli government, not one of them is a Reform rabbi, and certainly not one of our women Reform rabbis.

There are constant issues of funding, but even more than that, why can't Reform rabbis perform weddings for Reform Jews who want Reform rabbis?

What gives the state a right through its - again - archaic and inappropriate official rabbinate to say, "No, you may not use this rabbi; you can only use that rabbi"?

What gives the rabbinate the right to say, "If you don't convert our way, we won't recognize your conversion"?

And better, and this is something relatively new, what gives the so-called leading Orthodox rabbis attached to the political structure a right to say, "If you convert to Judaism, even under our standards, but then are seen as not living a fully halachic life, we reserve the right to retroactively reverse your conversion"? That is outrageous.

An anniversary celebration that was launched last Friday was the 50th anniversary of the Harel Reform Congregation in Jerusalem, the pioneer congregation of the Reform movement in Israel.

According to Werner Loval, one of the founders of Harel, the jubilee celebrations will continue throughout the year ahead.

J'lem approves controversial Mughrabi project

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz January 16, 2008

Jerusalem's district planning and construction committee has approved a controversial plan to restore the Mughrabi bridge leading to one of the entrances to the Temple Mount, construction that caused an outcry among Muslims and generated protest from the Jordanian and Turkish governments in June.

The plan, approved two weeks ago, also includes expansion of the women's section of the Western Wall plaza.