Monday, November 21, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - November 21, 2011 (Section 2)

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

By Yair Ettinger November 17, 2011

"[The IDF] is bringing close the day in which rabbis will have to say to soldiers 'you have to leave those events even if there's a firing squad outside, and you'll be shot to death," Rabbi Levanon said.

By Yoav Zitun November 20, 2011

The IDF chief addressed the rabbi's statements, saying: 
"In the IDF one servers a national service. Everyone together, religious and secular, women and men. Those who contribute are important, not those who don't."

By Kobi Nahshoni November 18, 2011

Chief Military Rabbi Rafi Peretz, on the other hand, stressed his strong objection to soldiers refusing orders when he appeared before the committee.

Nonetheless, the IDF rabbi opposes the committee's expected decisions, as he believes that clear rules should be set for exempting soldiers from ceremonies which include the singing of women and that commanders' discretion on the matter must be limited as much as possible.

By Jeremy Sharon November 20, 2011

Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, head of Yeshivat Maalei Gilboa and rabbi of Kibbutz Lavi, called Levanon’s comments “unfortunate” and said that the entire episode of women singing in the army was like a “conversation of the deaf.”
“On the one hand soldiers should not insist on leaving such events, but on the other they really shouldn’t be forced to stay, Gilad told The Jerusalem Post.

By Amos Harel November 18, 2011

When it comes to relations between religious and secular soldiers, it seems that indeed, this is no longer the army we used to know. As if we blinked and the army changed.

Prof. Yedidia Stern, a religious man who is a lawyer and also vice president of the Israel Democracy Institute, told Haaretz that, "what is needed is a multi-faceted policy of setting limits while allowing commanders to be flexible.

The army needs to set red lines that cannot be transgressed. Religion is imperialist by nature. It has tremendous energy, but it retreats when facing a resolute policy.

On the other hand, the carrot needs to be used along with the stick: After setting limits, the army should go the extra mile on behalf of religious soldiers, and allow prudent officers the freedom to deal with specific issues."

By Amos Harel November 15, 2011
"All kinds of groups, with Haaretz at the forefront, are conducting what is almost an incitement [campaign against] the military rabbinate's influence," said the former IDF chief rabbi, Brig. Gen. (res.) Avichai Ronsky, in a radio interview.
"It creates unnecessary uproar. Religious soldiers and women get along well in the army."

By Amos Harel Opinion November 14, 2011

The promotion of religious soldiers in combat units to the rank of officer or other intermediate levels has created a gradual cultural shift in the army.

The change has caused clashes for two reasons: the national religious community’s general tendency to hold dear to traditional values, as well as growing activity among the military’s rabbinate.

By David Lev November 17, 2011

Most IDF kitchens – on bases, in the field, and at institutions – will receive “mehadrin” kashrut certification in the coming years, the IDF Chief Rabbinate decided this week.

By David Lev November 17, 2011

The IDF expects a sharp increase in the number of religious girls who opt for full army service in the coming year.

During the draft period between April 2010 and April 2011, some 1,200 18-year-old young women who classified themselves as observant entered the ranks of the IDF.

Army officials expect that number to grow by about 25% this year, with some 1,500 girls signing up for service by the time the current draft period ends in April 2012.

By Yoav Zitun November 17, 2011

Of the women who do not enlist, 35% cited religious grounds, though the IDF believes that seven percent received false exemptions.

Yet the IDF also commended the growing number of haredim who serve in the IDF. In the current year 1,200 haredi men enlisted in the National Service program (Sherut Leumi) in addition to the 450 haredim who enlisted in the special haredi infantry regiment and 650 haredim who enlisted in various designated service programs.

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion November 18, 2011

Someone just woke up and discovered that women have been banished from advertising billboards throughout Jerusalem. Good morning!

...Israel’s political class has long ago sold Jerusalem off to the ultra-Orthodox. The deal was legal and democratic and if Israelis don’t wake up, it won’t stop in the capital.

By Jacob Kamaras/JointMedia News Service November 15, 2011

The Joint Distribution Committee’s Eisler said JDC staff works to help IDF soldiers “in all echelons” develop cultural sensitivity for Haredim. When Shahar was initially designed for men who couldn’t find their place in yeshiva system, Eisler said recruiting “was like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Now, however, Eisler is surprised to see a large number of Haredi men from “mainstream families”—not just yeshiva dropouts—taking advantage of Shahar.

By Shlomo Maital November 21, 2011

A quiet revolution is occurring among Israel’s Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) population, which numbers between 444,000 and 795,000, depending on which of four different surveys you believe and on how you define “Haredi.”

More of them are serving in the army or in civic national service (in place of army duty), studying, learning skills and finding jobs.

The numbers are not yet massive but the trend is pronounced and significant. The change is a result of both some enlightened policy measures and new recognition among Haredim that they must do more to support themselves and rely less on public funds. When as many as one Israeli Jew in every eight is Haredi, integrating them into the economy is vital.

However, despite the revolutionary change, the gaps are growing and much more remains to be done.

By Haim Bior November 16, 2011

The study found welcome changes in the last two years studied, 2007 to 2009. In the Israeli Arab community, women began to work more, while in the ultra-Orthodox community, there has been an increase among men working.

During that time, Israel went through two recessions. Toledano and Gottlieb found that during each recession, employment among nonobservant Jews aged 36 to 50 fell - and did not recover.

While employment among nonreligious Jews fell, employment in the Arab community increased by 6% from 2001 to 2009, say the researchers. Among Haredim, the increase was 2.3%.

By Roy Goldenberg November 13, 2011

It will also house entrepreneurs from Israel's Arab and haredi (ultra-orthodox) communities, which currently have little exposure in the country's high-tech industry.

By Barry Davis November 13, 2011

Any artist will tell you, it is always a thrill when he or she discovers a whole new world, but in the case of Gil Cohen-Magen that new, multi-faceted world was right on his doorstep all the time.

Cohen-Magen was a hard-nosed photographer with the Reuters news agency for some time before approaching his latest project, a wonderfully illuminating book entitled Hassidic Courts.

The richly appointed tome is the result of Cohen-Magen and his wife Efrat’s own efforts and was produced and published, and is being distributed, independently.

Hassidic Courts is available at independent bookstores such as Meir Ludwig, Lichtenstein & Son and Yarden in Jerusalem, and Tolaat Sefarim and Sippur Pashut in Tel Aviv. 
For more information:

By Tanya Sapty November 17, 2011

“We’re not making religious music, our ideals are just embedded into it.” Explained M’Ori after the three set show. “Torah is just the structure for expressing yourself and being the best you.”

Reuters November 21, 2011
"They (the Sikrikim) had a real ball with us," said Guy Ammar, one of Zisalek's owners, describing vandalism similar to attacks against other shops in the area.
"But we were not deterred. Residents here told us not to give up and business is going well now."

By Judith Sudilovsky November 16, 2011

At the end of October, the High Court of Justice heard a petition submitted by Ir Amim, challenging the contract between El Ad, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Minister of the Environment and the Municipality of Jerusalem for the privatization of the City of David National Park.

The terms of this contract were kept secret, Ir Amim maintains, and called for the transfer of its administration to the political organization. This, Ir Amim claims, is illegal, although the law does allow the National Parks Authority to use sub-contractors for the operation of sites.

By David M. Weinberg Opinion November 17, 2011
The writer is director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

The greatest crime of all – an antiquities crime of historic proportions – has been committed over recent years by the Palestinian Wakf on the Temple Mount.

In 1999, the Wakf dug out hundreds of truckloads of dirt from caverns known as Solomon’s Stables beneath the upper plaza (more than 1,600 square meters in area and 15 meters deep) without any archeological supervision or documentation.

By David J. Michaels Opinion November 19, 2011
The writer is director of intercommunal affairs for B’nai B’rith.

The following letter has been sent to over a dozen of the most senior church leaders in Jerusalem, with copies to officials at major Christian bodies abroad.

...I feel obliged to express my revulsion over new reported incidents of spitting at Christian clergy in certain areas of the Holy City. I feel especially obliged to do so as an Orthodox Jew.

By Rabbi Barry Leff Opinion November 18, 2011

It is utterly appalling that many teenage ultra-Orthodox Jews choose to express their disdain for Christianity by spitting at priests.

First, I am appalled that they disdain Christianity, a "sister religion" to Judaism, whose adherents hold our Torah to be Holy Scripture and who worship the same God we do.  

Secondly, I'm appalled that they would choose to express their disdain by being disrespectful to Christian clergy, spitting at them as they pass them in the streets.

The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, together with the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel and the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, will be hosting an annual lecture in memory of Daniel Rossing, Founder and General Director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, on Thursday, 27 Heshvan 5772, 24 November 2011, 5:30pm –  7:30pm
Teddy Kollek Auditorium, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 20 Radak Street, Jerusalem
Panel 2: Jerusalem - City of “the Between”: Christian Perspective 
Chair: Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish, Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel and Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations
Participants:  Archbishop Aristarchos Peristaris, Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Father Dr. David Neuhaus, Vicariate for the Hebrew-Speaking Catholics, the Latin Patriarchate

By Yair Ettinger November 18, 2011

Rabbi Chananya Blumert has devoted himself to the Ethiopian community for 20 years. He speaks Amharic, has an Ethiopian wife and commands the respect of the Ethiopian kesim (priests).

However, some question whether a white Ashkenazi is really the best person to honor the traditions of the Beta Israel, and whether his appointment as their rabbi in Bat Yam is symbolic of attempts to homogenize Judaism.

By Elana Sztokman Opinion November 15, 2011

The book, “The Men’s Section”, is  about the identities of Orthodox Jewish men, based on interviews I conducted with 54 men who belong to “partnership synagogues” or “ortho-egal” synagogues, in Israel, North America and Australia.

These are synagogues, like Shira Chadasha in Jerusalem, that try to maximize women’s participation in the prayer service within bounds of halakha. Women can read Torah, lead certain parts of the service, give speeches, and sit on committees, but they do not count in a quorum (minyan), nor do they lead any part of the service that requires a quorum. 

But of course, I wasn’t interested in the women. I was interested in the men. November 20, 2011

As Israel marked the 16th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's murder this month, one of Religious Zionism's most influential educators chose to strongly criticize the late prime minister.

In a conversation with his students at the Pre-Military Yeshiva Academy in Eli, Rabbi Eli Sadan said that Rabin "has no heritage as a leader and as a prime minister. He was the biggest political and leadership failure in the history of the State of Israel."

By Rabbi Gideon D. Sylvester Opinion November 20, 2011

I am an Orthodox Rabbi and a proud Zionist, but I believe that if Religious Zionism is to have a compelling message for the next generation, it cannot restrict its activities to concern for the Land of Israel. If it shows no concern for "the other", it will become morally bankrupt.

By Toby Tabachnick November 18, 2011

Ma’aleh is the only film school in the world devoted to exploring the intersection of Judaism and modern life, and the unusual films created by its students — mostly Orthodox Jews — are screened regularly at film festivals worldwide, consistently winning top awards.

“The school was started 22 years ago by a group of people who saw there must be a film school for Orthodox people,” said Neta Ariel, its director.

By Mira Sucharov Opinion November 21, 2011

Holding a belief in God, taking the notion of covenant seriously, and being committed to the enhancement and furthering of the Jewish people need not imply any particular policy stance vis-à-vis Israel’s hold on the territories, its occupation policies or its view of religion and state.

By Naama Cohen-Friedman November 17, 2011

The Petah Tikva District Court on Thursday rejected an appeal filed by Yigal Amir, murderer of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Amir petitioned the court to allow him to pray together with more than one prisoner.

By Eli Ashkenazi November 21, 2011

The High Court of Justice rejected last week a request submitted by a yeshiva that operates at the grave of Shimon Bar Yochai at Mount Meron, asking for an injunction against the state's intention to purchase and use parts of the site for public purposes.

The yeshiva's opposition stems from concerns that the state intends to operate the holy site, in lieu of the array of organizations that operate there today.

By Rabbi Arik Ascherman Opinion November 16, 2011
The writer is director for external relations and special projects for Rabbis for Human Rights.

In RHR’s educational programs we attempt to bring together people holding a wide variety of opinions. We make our positions clear, but make a point of also teaching Jewish sources challenging those positions.

We have no direct telephone line to God or to Absolute Truth. The Jewish people and humanity are best served by a genuine and open attempt to understand God’s will.

By Kamoun Ben-Shimon November 16, 2011

A report to the municipal fire authorities published the last week of October, as part of the department’s regular reporting on public sites, has determined that a temporary bridge, commonly referred to as the Mugrabi Bridge, is in imminent danger of collapse.

By Matti Friedman AP November 17, 2011

A Jewish group in Jerusalem is using 21st-century technology to map every tombstone in the ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives, a sprawling, politically sensitive necropolis of 150,000 graves stretching back three millennia.

The goal is to photograph every grave, map it digitally, record every name, and make the information available online.

By Nir Hasson November 18, 2011

Whoever is familiar with the Old City of Jerusalem knows that the invisible walls surrounding each quarter are as high as those that surround the Old City. Many inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter or Muslim Quarter have never set foot in the neighboring quarter.

An academic and public discussion marking the publication of:
By Prof. Yitzhak Reiter
Published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies
Wednesday, 4 Kislev, 30 November 2011, 5pm – 7pm
Agenda: Chair: Meir Kraus, Director General, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies Prof. Yitzhak Reiter, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies & Ashkelon Academic College Prof. Yehoshua Porath, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Rassem Khamaisi, University of Haifa Dr. Shmuel Berkovitch, attorney and legal expert on Jerusalem and holy sitesProf. Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

By Aliza Kline Opinion November 14, 2011
Aliza Kline is Founding Executive Director, Mayyim Hayyim

For the past several years on every visit to Jerusalem I have had back-to-back meetings with Reform, Conservative, modern-Orthodox and plain curious Israelis wanting to talk through their visions for an alternative to the State-run mikvaot that dot the city.

Even though the conversations have been rich and stimulating, they don’t seem to have resulted in anything concrete.
This year though, it seems like the topic is inescapable – and maybe just meant to be.

By Yanir Yagna November 15, 2011

On Monday, hundreds of people came to the home of Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto in Ashdod to offer support after a firecracker was thrown at his home Sunday, scaring the rabbi and his family.

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