Monday, September 5, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - September 5, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

September 5, 2011 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Haredim disrupt State religious girls' school activities

By Kobi Nahshoni September 5, 2011

Photo posted with permission of Yissachar Ruas
Photo may not be re-distributed without the express consent of Yissachar Ruas

The battle over the state-religious girls' school in Beit Shemesh is far from over: Although the school year began as planned last Thursday, under tight police security, on Sunday afternoon a group of ultra-Orthodox protestors returned to the "Orot Banot" educational institution and tried to prevent students from leaving the building.

Beit Shemesh Haredim threaten sit-in at girls school

By Oz Rosenberg September 5, 2011

Shabbas Protest by Haredim

Photo not related to article

The ongoing dispute between the national-religious and ultra-Orthodox communities in Beit Shemesh over the state religious girls' school Orot was renewed Sunday, when around 70 Haredim from a nearby neighborhood converged at the gate of the institution at about 1 P.M.

"We'll fight for another 20 years," said Moshe Friedman, one of the leaders of the extremist Haredi group that broke into the school Sunday. "Until they get rid of the girls. We'll do something different every day, until they say they've had enough."

VIDEO: Religious tensions simmer at Beit Shemesh school

By Benjamin Spier September 1, 2011

There is a growing tension between the haredi and national religious residents of Beit Shemesh and the newest battle ground for the dispute is a girls’ elementary school. The Orot school for girls will open the doors of its new building for the beginning of the school year on Thursday.

Click here for VIDEO

Beit Shemesh: Residents march in favor of embattled school

By Ben Hartman September 1, 2011

Jordy Alter, a New Jersey native, was protesting because “this affects the community. It affects us if the school is forced to move far away.”

When asked about recent statements by the mayor’s office that implied that the national-religious community was being inflexible on the matter, Alter said, “I don’t know what the spokespeople mean by not being flexible; this building-plan has been in effect for years.

These plans for the school were in effect before the haredi buildings next door were built. This is our neighborhood, we aren’t being inflexible.”

Education Ministry: Beit Shemesh school to open as planned

By Staff and Ben Hartman August 31, 2011


Photo not related to article

A number of residents of the city, both national religious and secular say the controversy is part of an ongoing effort by the haredi mayor and extremist members of the city’s haredi community to make the city more and more haredi, at the expense of the rest of its residents.

School Daze August 31, 2011


Our city can’t give in to the bullying that is destroying the quality of life of all residents, and should adopt the same zero-tolerance policy our schools have been encouraged to implement.


Beit Shemesh

...Our struggle reflects a mood throughout the country. The working population grows weary of supporting an ever growing non-working population while getting very little or nothing in return. This is especially true for religious Zionist working people who are equally committed to Torah study as their haredi counterparts, but struggle to make extra time in their tight schedules to do so.

The respectable haredi population realizes this and shows encouraging signs of change.

But for a small handful of extremists to be allowed to put a parasitic chokehold on those who make their community possible is obscene.


Beit Shemesh

State says Haredim won't close school in Beit Shemesh

By Oz Rosenberg August 31, 2011

National religious parents of girls due to begin their studies on Thursday at the Orot school in Beit Shemesh, who are trying to stave off a takeover of the school by members of the town's ultra-Orthodox community, received a letter of support Tuesday from Prime Minister's Office Director General Eyal Gabai.

Haredi community thwarts school for Beit Shemesh girls

By Oz Rosenberg August 30, 2011

"The mayor is in fact saying: 'The mighty rule. I am not willing to make a decision even though there is a legal ruling that says the structure is yours,'" said Esti Moskowitz, who chairs the parents committee at the school.

"The threats the mayor received come from a small group in Beit Shemesh and all the institutions are afraid of it, a group of radicals who are currently controling the city.

Cops deny warning Beit Shemesh mayor of potential violence from Haredi extremists

By Ben Hartman August 30, 2011

Beit Shemesh police never warned the city’s mayor, Moshe Abutbul, about potential violence if a local national religious girls school opens in the city this Thursday nor did it pass on any intelligence about such alleged threats, a Jerusalem District Police spokesman said Tuesday.

Beit Shemesh: Haredim invade girls' school

By Kobi Nahshoni August 30, 2011

M., one of the haredi residents, said that almost all factions were united on this issue – including the moderate ones and the mayor.

"This will be a very difficult war, and the haredim will do everything in their power to prevent the school year from opening there – even if forced to barricade themselves inside the building.

"This isn't a struggle over a building or property, which was stolen from us, but over the identity of this city," he said, claiming that the municipality's condition for allotting the area was that only boys would study in the institution.

Parents clash with ultra-Orthodox who shut down Beit Shemesh girls' school

By Oz Rosenberg August 29, 2011

“Right now there is anarchy,” Esti Moskowitz, the head of the parents’ association, said Monday.

“What the mayor is actually saying is ‘the strong are in charge, I am not ready to take the decision, even though the legal decision is to say that the building is yours.’

School battle looms in Beit Shemesh

By Ben Hartman August 30, 2011

Yossi Green, a father of three who lives in the second building down from the school, said he opposes its opening.

“I am very against there being a school. I pay mortgage every month, and this facility is on our property, so who does it belong to? The ones who live here. I can’t walk in the streets here with my children because there are women in the street who are religious, but not in haredi dress.

This is not the education that I am teaching my children.”

Mizrahi girls start year without places in Haredi seminaries

By Talila Nesher September 1, 2011

Mizrahi teenage girls in Jerusalem will start the school year today without a place in a classroom after the Education Ministry failed to resolve a dispute with Haredi girl's high schools which refused to enroll them because of their background.

The Education Ministry's director general, Dr. Shimshon Shoshani, held this week a hearing involving principals of four Jerusalem educational institutions which have refused to enroll this school year girl pupils of Mizrahi descent.

These ultra-Orthodox seminars (Orthodox secondary schools) refused to admit the girls even though their enrollment had been directed by the Jerusalem municipality.

Pluralistic school in Misgav town vetoed at 11th hour

By Eli Ashkenazi August 31, 2011

One day before the school year opens, some 50 children still have no school to attend, due to a last-minute decision to nix a special program focusing on pluralistic Judaism.

The program, an initiative by a group of parents from the Misgav town of Eshhar, was slated to be run at a school in neighboring Moreshet.

But both the Education Ministry and the Misgav Regional Council opposed the idea, and on Monday, the parents were informed that the program had been denied approval and that they would have to send their children to other schools.

The back-to-school

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion September 2, 2011

The most powerful democratic argument they have on their side is that as long as a sufficient number of parents choose Haredi education for their children, the state has no right to interfere.

The opposing argument is that parents do not have the right to deprive their children of the skills necessary to succeed in the modern world, and that it is society's duty to provide those skills. Indeed, Israel is legally bound to do so as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I used to believe this. But in recent years, my certainty has been eroded.

In praise of Torah studies

By Menachem Gsheid Opinion August 31, 2011

The efforts to impose studies that this community does not wish to engage in will not work; moreover, on the practical level there is almost no connection between general education studies and the ability to join the workforce.

...However, studies in essence constitute a means for sharpening one’s mind and ability to integrate into the workforce – regardless of whether these are Torah studies or studies in any other field (with the addition of complementary studies required for the job.)

Women in Bnei Brak are "Illegal" September 1, 2011 (Google translation)

Harry Potter poster in Bnei Brak


A call to rehabilitate Haredi education

By Rabbi MK Haim Amsalem Opinion August 31, 2011

The writer is an MK, and the founder and chairman of the Am Shalem political movement.

I have extensive plans to establish a system of government-funded schools to provide haredi boys with the opportunity to reconnect to authentic Jewish study of Torah and general studies, enabling them to sustain their families with dignity.

I bless all our students with a successful and fruitful school year, but will not cease to work toward rehabilitating the haredi system as an MK and through the Am Shalem movement.

It is time for the haredim who claim to fight for authentic Judaism to truly live by that lofty ideal.

Secular residents worry about Haifa neighborhood turning into 'another Bnei Brak'

By Revital Hoval September 1, 2011

The struggle between secular and ultra-Orthodox residents of Haifa's mostly secular Neveh Sha'anan neighborhood began the day of the Passover seder this year.

...Residents call their opposition "a struggle for the preservation of Neveh Sha'anan's green and pluralistic character," not one between the secular and Haredi communities. They're particularly angry at the municipality.

Who removed IDF prayer from siddur?

By Ari Galahar August 30, 2011

A yeshiva student is suspected of destroying siddurim (Jewish prayer books) which included a prayer for the State of Israel and IDF soldiers.

...In the past few weeks, the site's managers noticed that many siddurim including the prayer for the State had been destroyed.

Footage obtained from the security cameras revealed that the person responsible was a yeshiva students affiliated with the extreme Neturei Karta faction, who placed stickers calling for the "end of the Zionist state" over the prayer.

Modi'in residents try to keep away ultra-Orthodox with fee to public park

By Gili Cohen August 31, 2011


Modi'in residents want the municipality to institute an entrance fee to the city's Park Anabe, which they think may stem the flow of ultra-Orthodox from surrounding towns to the popular park.

The park, near the center of the city, features grassy areas, a lake with paddleboating, a large playground and is open to all, with no parking or entrance fees.

Since opening last year it has becoming a popular idyll for city residents and outsiders, including ultra-Orthodox residents of nearby Modi'in Ilit.

Reporters change insular Jewish world

AP September 1, 2011

In the insular world of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, the fact that the news is being reported is itself important news.

A decade ago, brawling between two ultra-Orthodox factions over real estate in Jerusalem would almost certainly not have been reported in the community's media.

Neither would a bitter debate over ethnic segregation in a girls' school, or an incident in which a member of a Hasidic sect in New York attacked and badly burned a community dissident.

'Haredi sector suffers from obesity'

By Ari Galahar September 1, 2011

The Health Ministry has determined that there are more overweight people in the ultra-Orthodox sector than in the secular one.

New hit on Haredi street: Wig leasing

By Ari Galahar September 2, 2011

An Israeli wig chain has realized that the war on haredi women's pockets passes through their head. That chain recently launched a new campaign for the sector's women: Wig leasing.

It sounds simple enough. But a closer look will reveal the drama behind the scenes.

Ramot is both secular and haredi, and for the past 20 years or so there has been an ongoing struggle over the character of the neighborhood, and there are no indications that a resolution is nigh.

Ultra-Orthodox population figures within the Jerusalem area

Relocating within the Jerusalem area

By Yair Assaf-Shapira September 4, 2011

Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit basically only draw Ultra-Orthodox population, mostly young families.

Young adults between the ages of 15 and 29 made up the bulk of incomers to Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit, between 47% and 54%; children under the age of 15 accounted for 34%-40%, adults between the ages 30-64 accounted for 11%-12% and seniors over the age of 65 accounted for only 1%.

Beit Shemesh, another major destination for ex-Jerusalemites, draws a more mixed population that includes Ultra-Orthodox groups as well as others.

Poland trips boost Israeli students’ opinions of the IDF, study finds

By Talila Nesher September 5, 2011

The percentage of respondents studying at state religious schools who said that the trip aided in understanding the universal implication of the Holocaust was lower than their counterparts in non-religious state schools, at 64 percent and 72 percent, respectively.

The gap between the two groups was even larger regarding their support for the idea of "seeing every person as a citizen of the world, without regard to national identification," after returning from Poland, at 42 percent and 72 percent, respectively.

Yigal Amir allowed Torah study partner

By Joanna Paraszczuk August 31, 2011

The Central District Court ruled on Tuesday to permit Yigal Amir to attend twiceweekly religious study sessions with a fellow prisoner during the next month.

A final decision over Amir’s solitary confinement will be made next month, and the judge also ruled the Prisons Service will monitor Amir’s study sessions and report to the court whether anything unusual takes place.

See also: Yigal Amir to have a study partner in prison

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to US envoy Shapiro: Shas supports peace September 5, 2011

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef met with US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro on Sunday, telling him that Shas is a party that supports and is obligated to peace, Israel Radio reported.

Jews, the Temple Mount, and 'Missing' Police Protocol

By Maayana Miskin August 26, 2011

For years, activists have claimed that police are discriminating against Jews on the Temple Mount, the holiest site on earth according to Jewish tradition. Now, one police commander is arguing that police protocols regarding the Temple Mount are not discriminatory, but rather, do not exist at all.

VIDEO: Knesset Christian Allies Caucus rallies support for Israel in Hong Kong

By Chris Mitchell September 1, 2011

A meeting between Israelis and Chinese Christians may not seem unusual. But this growing relationship with Christians around the world has led some Israeli officials to the Far East and to Hong Kong - one of the crossroads of the world and a major gateway into China.

Josh Reinstein directs the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.

"One of the reasons we're here in Hong Kong and then later in Beijing is because there are a 100 million Christians here who love Israel," Reinstein told CBN News.

Life of slain rabbi's nephew threatened in Netanya August 31, 2011

A known criminal has threatened to kill Rabbi Moshe Turgeman, whose uncle, Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, was murdered last month in Beersheba.

Agriculture Ministry: Don't Overcharge for Mehadrin Dairy Products

By David Lev August 30, 2011

In its letter, the Ministry reminded dairies and markets of the law, saying that “products with a mehadrin supervision are not to be considered 'special' for the purpose of charging higher prices,” as their ingredients and production are more or less the same as those of “regular” kosher products.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman: No More Autopsies August 30, 2011

A ceremony was held in Assaf HaRofeh Hospital on Tuesday (August 30th) to dedicate the new MRI, not just a regular unit, but one that will eliminate the need for autopsies in Israel according to Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.

Rabbi Nixes Annual Uman Trip

By Maayana Miskin September 2, 2011

Israeli rabbi has come out against the increasingly popular custom of married men traveling to the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav in Uman, Ukraine for the Rosh Hashanahholiday without their families.

There is no justification for leaving one's family to take the trip, Rabbi Ratzon Aroussi told Arutz Sheva.

Haifa University postpones conference with ‘Torat Hamelech’ author

By Jonah Mandel September 1, 2011

The University of Haifa announced on Wednesday its decision to postpone a conference booked for next week on the bookTorat Hamelech (“The King’s Torah”) and featuring one of its authors, following pressure from numerous organizations on the school’s president, Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze’ev.

Yemeni immigrant fined for Torah scroll

By Itamar Eichner August 31, 2011

A Yemeni Jew arrived in Israel recently with a Torah scroll rescued from the enemy country. While Yemen's authorities let him leave with the scroll, as did Egypt when he passed through, the Israeli authorities were the only ones to cause problems.

Rabbi cleared of sexual harassment at Nahariya hospital

By Jack Khoury [print only] August 30, 2011

The Civil Service Disciplinary Court in Haifa yesterday acquitted former Western Galilee Hospital rabbi, Rabbi Shimon Gorelik, of charges of sexual harassment.

Gorelik, whose disciplinary hearing took two years, was accused of sexually harassing a woman who was at the Nahariya hospital assisting her brother and his child.

The Internet Tribes of Israel

By David Shamah August 30, 2011

Top Hassidic and Eastern European (“Litvishe”) rabbis long ago banned the Internet altogether, except for work purposes, obviating the need for haredi websites altogether.

A notable exception is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who has several websites where he publicizes his decisions on matters great and small (, among others).

But even so, there are at least half a dozen Haredi sites geared towards people who are theoretically “covered” by the Internet ban, where they report on news from within their communities, and comment on general new stories.

'My source is the heart'

By Eli Eliahu September 1, 2011

"My family belongs to the religious Zionist community," Nir said. "My father is a rabbi, and I studied in institutions run by the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, where the main emphasis and most of the work focus on religious subjects, especially Talmud study.

...Yet despite the opposition that Nir noted, and perhaps even precisely because of this opposition, several prominent poets have emerged from the religious world in recent years.

Shlomo Carlebach - rabbi of love or undercover agent of Orthodox Judaism?

By Shefa Siegel September 4, 2011

Dr. Shefa Siegel is an environmental writer. He teaches environment thought, and has worked as an adviser to the United Nations and other international organizations.

Holy Beggars: A Journey from Haight Street to Jerusalem, by Aryae Coopersmith, One World Lights

Was Shlomo Carlebach a patchouli-scented hipster bard of universal love, or a deviant preacher disguised in beads and sandals on a mission to return Jewish hippies to ultra-Orthodox Judaism?

This question has dogged the memory of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925- 1994) since his death nearly 20 years ago, muddling a profound and beautiful spiritual legacy rooted less in denomination than friendship.

Muslim workers at Israel's Hebrew University forced to work on Ramadan

By Oz Rosenberg September 2, 2011

Muslims throughout the world this week celebrated Id al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, but the Muslims employed as cleaners on the Hebrew University's Mt. Scopus campus in Jerusalem reported to work as usual.

Religion and State in Israel

September 5, 2011 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.