Monday, April 19, 2010

Religion and State in Israel - April 19, 2010 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Independence Day the Haredi way

By Peggy Cidor April 16, 2010

For many Israelis, the day ZAKA (Disaster Victims Identification) founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav was invited to light a torch at a national ceremony on the eve of Independence Day could be considered a landmark event, although not all haredim appreciated his act.

…This is not a theological argument among us anymore. The State of Israel is a fact, the Zionist state is a fact – as far as it can still be called a Zionist state.”

Students to say Kadish for fallen without family April 18, 2010

Students from AMIT Religious-Zionist Education Network will visit cemeteries throughout Israel this Memorial Day in order to say the Kadish prayer for fallen soldiers and terror victims who no longer have living family members.

The students will also offer themselves to bereaved families who would like to complete a quorum of 10 Jews needed in order to perform religious ceremonies.

Prayer to be said on Independence Day April 15, 2010

Local authorities throughout Israel have announced that they will kick off upcoming Independence Day festivities with a prayer for the wellbeing of the State and the return of its captives and MIAs.

The move was initiated by the Tzohar Organization, Knesset Lobby for Local Government Chairman MK Zeev Bielski, and Union of Local Authorities Chairman Shlomo Bohbot, who proposed the prayer to Israel's mayors.

Haredi on Independence Day

By Yechiel Fleishman Opinion April 16, 2010

Being a haredi on Independence Day means that as early as Holocaust Remembrance Day you prepare yourself for being slammed by seculars.

Shma Yisrael

By Robbie Gringras Opinion April 18, 2010

The seeming-natural blend of religion and nationalism is striking.

The deepest prayer of the Jewish People (or is that the Jewish Religion?) is combined with the nation's flag, which itself cannot be fully divorced from Judaism.

After all, the flag was designed to echo the tallith prayer shawl worn in synagogues - precisely the way that Hadad wears the flag in her performance.

Rabbis: Boycott Independence Day festivities

By Nitzan Yanco April 14, 2010

Rabbis in the central city of Rosh Ha'ayin plan to turn Israel’s Independent Day into a demonstration of prayers "in protest of immorality and in order to give the people a religious rather than a secular folklore."

The decision was made after the municipality turned down the rabbis' demand to cancel the city's Independence Day celebrations.

The rabbis also warned the public against the "immorality hurting the sacredness of the people of Israel."

Eda Haredit won't protest on Memorial Day

By Kobi Nahshoni April 17, 2010

A top leader in the extremist haredi group, Rabbi Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss notified bereaved parents from the Yad Lebanim memorial society on Thursday that he did not intend on holding protests against the relocation of graves found at the Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center planned for Monday because he respects Memorial Day, which falls on the same day.

Neturei Karta protest in Jerusalem April 18, 2010

Some 150 members of the Neturei Karta faction are protesting in the Shabbat Square in Jerusalem. They are carrying signs with anti-Israel messages. One protestor set fire to the Israeli flag and was arrested.

Zionists must join forces

By Professor Yedidia Z. Stern Opinion April 18, 2010

Professor Yedidia Z. Stern is Vice President of IDI and former dean of the Law School at Bar Ilan University.

The Zionist public in Israel must join forces, in order to create a state that is not content with being a regular country, yet aspires to be part of the family of nations; a state that is not willing to give up its unique identity, but also wants to make room for the “Other” in its midst; a state that wants to be both Jewish and democratic.

Meeting Herzl again, for the first time

By Haviv Rettig Gur Opinion April 14, 2010

What would Herzl say about modern Israel’s political culture, about the parties, institutions and politicians that aim to lead the Jewish State?

What would he make of the Chief Rabbinate, the official exclusion of non-Orthodox religious streams and the religious monopoly on marriage, divorce and burial?

…Herzl imagined a country that knew how to combine particularism and universalism, that rebuilt the Third Temple but also internationalized Jerusalem, that was steeped in Jewish religiosity but also established the world’s largest foreign aid organization.

If the Jewish world read Herzl seriously, would it tolerate the enormous gap between his vision and the Israeli reality?

Herzl Diary Day 2: Learning to ask the ‘Jewish Question’

By Haviv Rettig Gur Opinion April 18, 2010

Is Herzl’s Zionism, then, also a clarion call for a Jewish cultural renaissance? Is such a cultural rebirth necessarily a religious one?

Herzl didn’t shy away from the difficult question of the relationship between the Jewish state and the Jewish religion.

Two translations of Der Judenstaat were approved by him, the English one titled The Jewish State (where the state itself is Jewish), and the Hebrew titled Medinat Heyehudim, “The State of the Jews,” suggesting that it is the inhabitants who are Jewish.

What did he intend? What do we, in today’s fractured Israel, actually want?

Israelis can learn a thing or two from Diaspora Jews

By Alex Sinclair Opinion April 15, 2010

Diaspora Jews should be less tolerant of the usual Israeli brush-offs. Whether it's about the steps Israel needs to take in the peace process, or the laws it needs to pass to defend religious pluralism, or the battles it needs to fight against racism, Diaspora Jews must learn to challenge the excuse "what we see from here, you don't see from there."

As a Jew, no place but Israel is home

By Elie Klein Opinion April 16, 2010

What I discovered was that, for a Jew, living in Israel means allowing yourself to feel comfortable in your own skin.

By its definition, Israeli nationalism, or "Zionism," means identifying with (and, if necessary, defending) the Land of Israel as the historical birthplace and spiritual, religious, and cultural soul of the Jewish people as well as the sovereign, Jewish national homeland.

But it also means creating an environment in which Jews can simply (and unapologetically) live their lives - just like everyone else.

Liturgical Responses to Yom ha-Atzmaut

By Michael Pitkowsky Opinion April 15, 2010

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews have been witnesses to the formative period of a liturgical response to this momentous event.

This process is continuing to this very day, and may continue for years to come. The many different liturgical responses that have been composed are reflective of different religious, cultural, and national sensibilities.

A guided tour of Birthright

Book review: Tours that Bind by Shaul Kelner

By Abigail Klein April 16, 2010

Among Kelner’s thought-provoking revelations is that Taglit-Birthright is consciously focused not on persuading tourists to make aliya, but on “ensur[ing] the continued existence of vibrant, Israel-oriented Jewish communities abroad.”

“Israel’s decision to devote state funds to such a project,” he writes, “reflects a changing understanding of its own interests based on an evolving Zionism that is adapting to an era of transnationalism and globalization.”

Yeshiva students hoodwink State for millions

By Jonathan Lis April 16, 2010

The National Insurance Institute is paying tens of millions of shekels to ultra-Orthodox youngsters on the basis of false declarations, an Education Ministry examination shows.

Some 30 percent of ultra-Orthodox men checked over the past five years lied about their economic situation or about the institutions they allegedly studied in and were not eligible for the money, according to figures submitted yesterday to a Knesset team supervising implementation of the Tal Law.

An economic bombshell Editorial April 14, 2010

About one-third of Israeli households nominally subsist under the poverty line, while almost 20 percent of men between the ages of 35-54 don’t work.

The malaise, though, isn’t equally endemic in all social sectors. Its gravest concentrations are among Arabs and haredim. Unemployment figures for Arab men had soared from 15% in 1979 to 27% in 2008. Among haredi men it spiraled from 21% 30 years ago to a whopping 65%.

Making these numbers more alarming yet are school-enrollment trends. Should these continue, by 2040 78% of Israel’s youngsters would be educated in haredi or Arab schools, the very ones that notoriously ill-prepare their graduates for the modern workforce.

Unemployment: Israel's other existential threat

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion April 18, 2010

Another major reason for poverty is the phenomenon of large families, most prevalent among the Haredi and Arab communities. In 1960, children from these two communities made up a total of only 15 percent of all elementary students. That figure stands at no less than 50 percent today, and in 30 years will reach 78 percent (!).

And that will be the breaking point: The body of working Israelis will be so small, it will no longer be able to carry these parasites on its back

Percent of non-working Haredi men tripled in space of 30 years

By Haim Bior April 14, 2010

The percentage of ultra-Orthodox men not working has more than tripled over the past 30 years. In 2008, 65% of Haredi men did not work, compared to only 21% in 1979, reveals the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel in its annual report.

Professor Dan Ben-David, the Taub Center's executive director, said the state's increased allowances and funding for groups including the ultra-Orthodox have enabled them to choose workforce nonparticipation as a lifestyle.

The number of elementary school pupils in the Arab education system has risen 33% in the same period, and in ultra-Orthodox schools the increase was 51%. As of 2008, because of these demographic changes, 48% of all elementary school children were either Arab or Haredi.

Hafganos [Demonstrations]? Cinema City Wants to Build NIS 200 Million Mega Movie Theater in Yerushalayim

By Yechiel Spira April 12, 2010

The Cinema City Company plans to construct a mega movie theater complex that includes 19 theaters in the National Precinct area, a move that rabbonim fear will have a significant negative impact on the capital, especially regarding chilul shabbos.

Chareidi city councilmen are concerned, aware of the dangers that lurk behind such a project, especially in proximity to chareidi neighborhoods.

They believe such an entity would bring hundreds of cars on shabbos, stating now is the time to act before it is too late, citing the need to act on behalf of kedushas shabbos and Yerushalayim.

Zisalek Ice Cream Store Makes Concessions to Fend Off Protestors

By Yair Alpert April 14, 2010

Halperin agreed to meet with those protesting the store - allegedly for tznius and hashkafa reasons - and agreed to the following to appease them:

1. The store won’t sell on Erev Shabbos after 1 p.m. ice cream that can be eaten immediately, such as ice cream cones, and will only sell at that point packaged ice cream that can be bought for families for Shabbos.
2. The store will not open on
Motzoei Shabbos.
3. The store will close at 10:30 p.m. each night.

The neighborhood vaad wanted to have the store hire men to sell to men and women to sell to women, but that request was rejected.

Haredim greet Lupolianski: You're the next PM

By Ronen Medzini April 18, 2010

Former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski on Sunday returned to his home in the capital's Sanhedria neighborhood, where he will remain under house arrest for the next 10 days.

Lupolianski, who is suspected of receiving a bribe in the Holyland affair, was greeted by dozens of ultra-Orthodox. They carried the former mayor on their shoulders and chanted, "Uri, there is no one like you in the world" and "Who is it? It's the next prime minister."

Where Did Holyland Go in the Chareidi Media?

By Yechiel Spira April 15, 2010

What do Thursday editions of Hamodia, Yated, and HaMevaser have in common you ask – the fact that the Holyland investigation which is front page news nationwide is conspicuously missing.

The reports are very calculated at best, with the three dailies not speaking of the arrest of former Mayor R’ Uri Lupoliansky and Yated makes no mention of the former senior Degel HaTorah official.

Rioting Outside the Grodona Yeshiva of Ashdod April 14, 2010

Rioting erupted this afternoon outside the Grodno Yeshiva of Ashdod as a result of a legal dispute between the Grodno and Ponovezh yeshivas regarding the ownership of land currently occupied by the Grodno yeshiva.

A Hearty Party: Bar mitzva of grandson of Belzer Rebbe

By Greer Fay Cashman April 16, 2010

Tal Catran founded the Non-Religious Friends of the Belzer Hassidim two years ago in a bid to bridge some of the differences between the secular and haredi communities, to eradicate stigmas on both sides, to enhance the knowledge of the secular community about what goes on in the haredi world and to enable haredim to find employment in the general job market.

The organization also helps those haredim who want to serve in the IDF.

Har Bracha gives up on hesder status

By Jonah Mandel April 12, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman December 15, 2009

Har Bracha Yeshiva, which was removed from the roster of hesder yeshivas last December, recommended to its students on Sunday that they continue their studies and military service as part of Elon Moreh Yeshiva, thus enabling them to remain part of the arrangement under which men serve 16 months in the army and spend close to four years studying in yeshiva.

The Battle of IDF Soldier Achiya Ovadia April 18, 2010

Most of us have already forgotten the name Achiya Ovadia, the soldier who was once affiliated with the Har Bracha Hesder Yeshiva who along with a friend held up a poster opposing the removal of Jews from Chomesh during a Shimshon Battalion swearing-in ceremony at the Kosel.

Now, close to three months since the incident, Ovadia is carrying on his own private battle against the IDF.

He has since been jailed for his actions, removed from Har Bracha’s program [which has since been ousted from the hesder network] and he has been removed from the hesder framework, told he must serve the remainder of his military service as a mainstream soldier, out of the Torah framework.

Army Seder Leads to a Storm

By Yechiel Spira April 13, 2010

Military correspondent Carmela Menashe gave the following report, aired on Israel Radio Reshet Bet during the program hosted on Tuesday morning by Yaron Dekel.

According to the report, female soldiers taking part in the main Yomtov seder in the ‘Kirya’ (Defense Ministry) were prohibited from reading aloud from the haggada by a ‘chareidi rabbi’ leading the seder. IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier-General Avichai Ronsky has appointed an officer of the rank of lieutenant colonel to head the investigation into the allegations.

Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi: the Bible is the IDF's Guide

By Gil Ronen April 14, 2010

"The IDF sees the Bible as a guide in the deep and practical sense of the word,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday in a meeting with participants in the International Bible Quiz for Youth.

“It is no accident that the IDF swears in its soldiers with a weapon in one hand and the Bible in the other – a custom that reflects the uniqueness of the IDF and the deep bond of the Jewish people to the Book of Books,” he added.

Netanyahu inspired by son, reading more Bible

By Kobi Nahshoni April 15, 2010

"Jerusalem is the city of the Bible, and the Bible is the book of life. It is the story of the people of Israel’s life,"
said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday at a meeting held in his office for the contestants in the International Bible Contest.

Netanyahu's son, Avner, is a contestant in this year's contest after he won the contest on the state school level, making it to the finals.

Widely condemned cattle-killing method is used by kosher meat firm's supplier

By Nathaniel Popper April 15, 2010

Yona Metzger, one of Israel's two chief rabbis who oversee kosher certification in the Jewish state, two years ago promised an effort to stop use of shackle-and-hoist slaughtering.

"It can only be implemented by decisions of the owners of the ritual slaughterhouses," Raful wrote in an e-mail. "I believe that the administrators will slowly change their practices from how it currently exists to the new methods."

But Joe Regenstein, a food science professor at Cornell University and kosher-meat expert, blamed Metzger for not forcing change upon the Israeli companies that control most of the kosher meat production in South America.

"Nothing has happened," Regenstein said. "Unfortunately, we're tainted by it."

Rabbi Wolpo rescued from Arab Village

Click here for Photo Gallery

By Yechiel Cohen April 13, 2010

Rabbi Shalom Ber Wolpo, chairman of the ‘Eretz Yisroel Shelanu’ movement, got stranded last night (Monday) in the heart of the Arab village of Ahwara, in Shechem, just as the IDF were securing the hundreds of worshipers who came to pray at Kever Yosef in Shechem.

Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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 19, 2010 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Old-Fashioned Discrimination, New-Style Battle

By Dr. Yifat Bitton April 6, 2010

The writer is Associate Professor of Law at Sha’arei Mishpatim Law College in Israel. Dr. Biton is co-founder of Tmura, The Israeli Anti-Discrimination Legal Center, which offers pro-bono legal assistance to victims of discrimination.

Yael is one of 180 Sephardic pupils attending the separate school for Sephardim in the city of Emanuel in Israel.

Her story sheds light on the shocking facts regarding segregation in education within Jewish communities in Israel.

I write this article to call attention to this segregation and to propose innovative ways to combat it, from my unique perspective as a public-interest attorney representing disenfranchised communities and as a legal scholar criticizing discriminatory mechanisms through the law.

Religious Girls' School Fails To Integrate Ashkenazic and Sephardic Students

By Elana Sztokman Opinion April 12, 2010

“In the Emanuel case,” writes Ben Yefet, “Tmura and Achoti have, for the first time, been given permission by Sephardic rabbinical authorities to take this very disturbing issue to a secular court due to its severe circumstances.”

But the battle is hardly won, according to Ben Yefet: “The main problem in combating anti-Mizrahi discrimination in the education system is that this discrimination is largely hidden, and there is little or no public awareness of this issue.”

Teaching a lesson

By Edna Ullmann-Margalit Opinion April 14, 2010

The writer is a lecturer on law and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In light of the circuitous manner in which the ultra-Orthodox school systems have obtained funds from state coffers, the state comptroller should get into the picture.

He should make sure that taxes paid by law-abiding, working citizens who meet civic norms of respect and equality not be given to the leaders of an education system engaged in discrimination and humiliation - until this distortion is rectified.

Gedolim Shlita Decry High Court Involvement in Chareidi Chinuch

By Yechiel Spira April 12, 2010

Gedolei Yisrael Shlita are expressing their strong disapproval over the High Court of Justice’s interference in matters pertaining to chareidi education, specifically referring to the case of the Beis Yaakov in Emanuel and the dress code adopted by chareidi mosdos.

Emanuel: The Other Side of the Story

By Yaakov Menken April 13, 2010

The girls who attend the Beis Yacov Chasidi in Emanuel have their roots in the following countries: Iraq, Persia, Morocco, Kurdistan, Yemen, India, Egypt, The Old Yishuv here in Israel, Tunisia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Germany.

What makes this school different is its standards, in particular standards concerning tznius (length and tightness of dress), no makeup, no MP3s, exposure to media, etc. The parents who objected to the current standards of the city Beis Yakov either bussed their girls to Bnei Brak or tried to start another school.

…The formation of the Beis Yacov Chasidi was an effort by members of the original Chassidic population here to re-create the kind of Beis Yacov that they had a decade ago.

It was a stricter school – in terms of dress, exposure to media, even to some aspects of Haredi culture that they feel is not for them as in Haredi “rock music”, choice of careers, etc – and certainly NOT of an “Ashkenazic” school.

Spring Cleaning

By Rabbi Dovid Landesman Opinion April 12, 2010

Rabbi Dovid Landesman, a veteran mechanech, resides in Ramat Beit Shemesh and looks at the world outside his windows with increasing trepidation.

I find it extremely disconcerting that no one is denying that the story itself is true – which is a scandal in and of itself!

Please, spare me the specious arguments that the Ashkenazi parents are simply reluctant to have their children be confused by different pronunciations of Hebrew, varied nuschaot hatefillah or unfamiliar minhagim and halachot.

There is very real prejudice in the chareidi world and I have not heard about anyone trying to root it out.

Agudas Yisrael Rabbonim Convene in USA to Discuss Chinuch Atzmai

By Yechiel Spira April 13, 2010

Regarding allegations of discrimination in the school, [Deputy Minister of Education] Porush explained that the facts in the case are simple, and anyone willing to accept the rules and regulations of the school may attend — stating it is as simple as that.

He rejected any allegations of discrimination as alleged by the court.

NIS 5,000 Daily Chinuch Atzmai Fine Begins Today

By Yechiel Spira April 18, 2010

The NIS 5,000 daily fine imposed on Chinuch Atzmai by the High Court of Justice in the Emanuel Beis Yaakov segregation case begins today, Sunday, April 18, 2010.

New Israel Fund Linked to Emanuel Beis Yaakov Dispute?

By Yechiel Spira April 15, 2010

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Bar-Lev, the rav of Emanuel, spoke with the weekly BaKehilla newspaper regarding the ongoing conflict surrounding the city’s Beis Yaakov and alleged discrimination, and the recent Supreme Court ruling levying a NIS 5,000 daily fine on Chinuch Atzmai.


"The Emanuel case has gone out of proportion. The matter has been publicized around the world, even in China and Japan. This seems to indicate someone has an interest in the matter – which addresses two things despised by the New Israel Fund, “settlers and chareidim”.

Each one is sufficient to compel them to invest their money. There are many signs pointing in this direction, that the non-profit and others who hate religion are using money and influence to wage the battle”.

PM: Construction to continue at original Barzilai ER site

By Barak Ravid, Dan Even and Yair Ettinger April 14, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman March 26, 2010

(PM Netanyahu returns to Israel from trip to U.S.)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the Health Ministry to prepare for the construction of a bomb-proof emergency ward at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon on the originally planned site.

Netanyahu's move yesterday reverses a controversial decision by the cabinet that would have relocated the project because of objections by ultra-Orthodox parties in the governing coalition.

Ashkelon hospital ER will not be relocated, Netanyahu rules April 12, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that the new emergency room at Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center would not be relocated due to the finding of an ancient burial ground in the designated location, Channel 2 news reported.

PM: Barzilai Hospital's ER location stands

By Roni Sofer April 12, 2010

The Deputy Health Minister's Office released the following statement:

"The deputy minister's opinion is well known – he is against relocating the graves. The deputy minister will call a United Torah Judaism faction meeting within the next few days in order to decide on future moves."

Eda Haredit calls on public to protest Barzilai decision

By Jonah Mandel April 13, 2010

Members of the Eda Haredit Badatz (Court of Justice) convened on Tuesday evening for an emergency meeting in Jerusalem following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Monday reversal of the cabinet decision to relocate the planned construction of a fortified emergency department at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center due to the presence of ancient bones at the original site.

PM U-turns, approves Barzilai ER at original site

By Herb Keinon April 13, 2010

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on Monday leveled criticism at the haredi factors objecting the premier’s plan, during a joint visit with Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar to the Merhavya cemetery, where some 40 graves were desecrated last Thursday.

“It is a shame that the organizations involved in safeguarding the dignity of the dead, and threatening with demonstrations in the face of plans to build an emergency room designated to save lives, didn’t come here to protest the disgrace of the dead,” Metzger said.

Are They Jewish Bones? Battle for Separation of Synagogue & State in Israel

By Shalom Goldman

Shalom Goldman is Professor of Hebrew and Middle Eastern Studies at Emory University. His new book is Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land (UNC Press, January, 2010).

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman March 23, 2009

But the Barzilai affair again painted Haredim as anti-modern and reactionary. Those Haredi groups that have Web sites (and there are quite a few) are now calling on their rabbis to go against Litzman’s demands.

Last week’s Jerusalem Post quotes the Web site Kikar Hashabat as saying that Litzman “aggressively and disgracefully exploited his power in a way that turned the entire nation against us.”

The Unwelcome Mat

By Rabbi Allan Nadler April 16, 2010

Allan Nadler, an Orthodox-ordained rabbi and historian of eastern European Judaism, is a professor of Jewish studies and director of the program in Jewish studies at Drew University.

Only when the chief rabbis are stripped of their carte-blanche license recklessly to disenfranchise their Diaspora colleagues by introducing unheard-of stringencies and inventing new Jewish laws—rulings that overturn more than two generations of precedents set by Israel’s Chief Rabbinical courts—can sanity be restored to Israel’s posture toward potential converts, one that demands a decent embrace of all who yearn to join her people.

Conversion Controversy in Israel: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

By Jay Shofet Opinion April 15, 2010

Jay Shofet is the Coordinator of the Religious Pluralism Project in Shatil, and serves as Shatil’s Director of Resource Development Consultation. He is also a member of the Executive of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism.

A bill under consideration in Israel’s parliament […] would require city rabbis to utilize special rabbinical court “conversion judges”, not only obviating any ostensible liberalization, but actually enshrining into law the Chief Rabbinate’s exclusive and total control over conversion, which until now has been de facto but without explicit legal authority.

This would negate the hard-won successes by the Reform and Conservative movements, whose conversions performed abroad are currently recognized in Israel, and also bypass a Supreme Court decision instructing the Ministry of Interior to also recognize such conversions when performed in Israel.

Inglorious mamzerim

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion April 13, 2010

Rivkah Lubitch works at the Center for Women’s Justice.

So long as the rabbinic court keeps a black list of mamzerim and it’s the only institution officially allowed to marry Jews in the State of Israel – we all partners in the crime of hurting persons who have committed no crime.

Don’t say that you didn’t know. Stop sticking your head in the ground.

The State of Israel and the halacha have collaborated to harm innocent people. We need to work together to solve the problem and get rid of the black list for good.

Why Israeli gays opt for US surrogate births

By Evan Pondel April 18, 2010

Depending on religious beliefs, the rules are so cumbersome that surrogacy falls out of favor for many couples.

For example, some religious leaders say that the birth mother must be single and Jewish to ensure the baby is Jewish. Same goes for the egg donor. The pendulum swings the other way, as some religious leaders say it is not necessary to have a Jewish birth mother.

Female Segregation for Religious Justifications: The Unfortunate Israeli Case

By Yossi Nehushtan

College of Management, Law School Droit et Religions, Vol. 4, pp. 441-459, 2009-2010

This paper discusses two cases of segregation between men and women in Israel. In both cases, the segregation was based on religious justifications and in both cases the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) either enforced the segregation (the ‘Women of the Wall’ case) or expressed a principled willingness to do so in the future, subject to certain formal conditions (the ‘segregation in buses’ case).

Do you want Mehadrin bus lines? Then, give Shabbat buses

[Google translator]

[original Hebrew article]

רוצים קווי מהדרין? תנו תחבורה בשבת

By Shahar Hazelkorn Opinion April 15, 2010

Unmarried teacher becomes pregnant – and is fired from religious school

[Google Translator]

[original Hebrew article] April 13, 2010

"The teacher was not fired because of her pregnancy, since it is a mitzvah to encourage birth in an institution - but for her choice to be single and pregnant."

Praying Landed Her in Trouble

By Jan Jaben-Eilon April 14, 2010

Women of the Wall

Womenetics: Why were you arrested early this year (at the Western Wall) and what is happening with the case?

Anat Hoffman: I wasn’t arrested; I was detained. I was interrogated and warned. There’s an investigation under way to see if they can charge me.
This has made it difficult for me to go abroad; the Jerusalem police have to OK it each time.
The investigation is on whether I’ve broken the Regulation on Holy Places that says one can’t perform a religious act that upsets others at the Western Wall. There could be a 10,000 shekel ($3,300) fine or prison. What I did (to be detained) was wear a talit (prayer shawl), pray out loud, and carry a Torah.

Words from the Wall for Rosh Chodesh Iyar

By Liz Piper-Goldberg April 16, 2010

In a new development [Chief of Police of the Kotel, Raphael] Malichi did permit the thirty women in tallitot to wear them, but instructed them to conceal the tzitzit, or the fringes of the tallit.

Further, Malichi explained that the women were permitted to wear tallitot as long as they "were not black and white...if they were colorful and looked like scarves" then the women were permitted to wear them.

Man at the Wall

By Lim Wui Liang March 31, 2010

This audio slideshow profiles a religious man who has been praying at the Wall for 20 years.

Born-again seculars

By Gili Izikovich April 13, 2010

"Question Marks" which will air later this year on Channel Two (Reshet), deals with the world of those who leave the ultra-Orthodox life.

The show revolves around the secret apartment for those who are in the process of leaving or have left the ultra-Orthodox way of life, run by the fictitious Simanei She'ela organization (which is reminiscent of real organizations such as Hillel - the right to choose).

Land Grab at the Mikvah

By David Morris Opinion April 18, 2010

This past week, the control of the mikvah has entered the public arena again, with articles about this in all the local weekend newspapers.

Apparently, some Chareidi rabbis have now changed their minds about the building split, and are demanding the whole building for themselves on Nahal Dolev – and control of another Moetza mikva on Nahal Lachish.

Conspiracies of Silence: Violence against Women in Israel and the Palestinian Authorities

By Robyn Gordon April 13, 2010

I recently sat down with Estanne Abraham Fawer, Chairperson and Founder of Miklat, an Israeli non-profit organization committed to providing secure housing, legal aid, and counseling for battered religious women and their children in Israel, to discuss the current situation.

Fawer recounted the story of one Haredi woman in Miklat’s shelters: a sixty-five-year-old woman had entered the shelter after her mother had recently passed away. She was the victim of forty three years of abuse at the hands of her husband.

Because she did not want to shame her mother, she waited four decades until her mother died before leaving her husband and home and seeking refuge with Miklat.

The Religious Kibbutz April 15, 2010

Alongside the centennial of the kibbutz movement, another, humbler jubilee is being marked: the 80th anniversary of Ha-kibbutz Ha-dati, the religious-kibbutz movement.

A unique blend of nationalism, socialism, and religion, it has generated a legacy whose significance reaches well beyond its sixteen member communes.

Israel to play Euro 2012 games on Shabbat

By Simon Griver April 15, 2010

Israel will play some Euro 2012 qualifiers at Ramat Gan on Friday nights, angering the country's religious community, the JC can reveal.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said: "This violates the status quo. The national team belongs to the nation."

Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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