Monday, April 4, 2011

Religion and State in Israel - April 4, 2011 (Section 1)

Religion and State in Israel

April 4, 2011 (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.

Shas Religious Affairs Minister Margi slammed for seeking bill against non-Orthodox streams

By Jonah Mandel March 28, 2011

“We were saddened to read reports suggesting that some MKs and at least one minister have called for outlawing the non-Orthodox streams in Israel and transforming the Israeli rabbinate through Knesset legislation into the “supreme” authority for the Jewish people everywhere,” spokesman for the [Jewish Agency] Haviv Gur said on Sunday.

Sa’ar, Livni object to notion that Judaism has no streams

By Jonah Mandel March 30, 2011

“There is no one Jewish stream, and there shouldn’t be one Jewish way of life that monopolizes Judaism,” [Education Minister Gideon] Sa’ar told the Rabbinical Assembly, the umbrella organization for the Conservative movement representing 1,600 Conservative rabbis serving some 1.5 million Jews worldwide.

“When I heard these voices saying that there is a need to take some of the movements or streams outside the law, this is not acceptable to me or the State of Israel,” as such a notion goes against the very values of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, [Tzipi Livni] said.

Kadima's Tzipi Livni: "a Jewish state is not a Halachic state"

By Lahav Harkov March 28, 2011

"For me," Livni explained, "a Jewish state is not a Halachic state, but also not just one of a Jewish majority.

For me, a Jewish state is the homeland of a Jewish people. It is a Jewish society formed from national perspectives together with our history, culture and tradition."

'Israel faces threat of becoming a religious state'

By Ben Hartman April 3, 2011

Israel is on its way to becoming a religious state – a reality that would pose a threat to its survival, according to a report released by the University of Haifa on Sunday.

The report, entitled “Israel 2010-2030, on the Path to a Religious State,” examines the demographic factors set to change Israel in the coming years, through a comparison of the religious, haredi, secular and Arab birthrates in the country.

Jewish nationalism is top priority for Israeli youth

By Ruth Eglash April 3, 2011

Jewish nationalism – and not democracy – emerged as the most important objective for Israel’s youth in 2010, according to research featured in a new book by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, published last week.

Fighting for Religious Freedom

By Jonah Newman Opinion March 28, 2011

“The State of Israel recognizes the Archbishop of Cyprus as someone who can perform marriages, but not Rabbi Allen,” Anat Hoffman said, referring to my rabbi, the head of my hometown synagogue, Beth Jacob, which is affiliated with the Conservative movement.

“In Israel, the government has decided that there’s only one way to practice Judaism,” Hoffman says.

IDF Chief Chaplain to have seat on Chief Rabbinic Council

By Rebecca Anna Stoil March 29, 2011

The IDF’s Chief Chaplain will now serve as an active member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, MKs ruled Tuesday by approving into law a bill sponsored by a coalition of religious and secular MKs.

In a vote of 10-1, the Knesset easily approved the law, which had met obstacles in earlier committee hearings after MKs discovered that technically, the IDF’s top religious officer did not have to undergo any kind of official ordination.

What are we celebrating? The Rabbinate?

By Rabbi Reuven Hammer Opinion March 28, 2011

The writer is former president of the International Rabbinical Assembly and the representative of the Masorti/Conservative Movement on the Neeman Commission.

Last Tuesday, the Knesset celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Chief Rabbinate, as if the institution was a positive factor in Israeli life. Considering its accomplishments, one wonders why.

...The celebration of the Chief Rabbinate is a celebration of a backward march, one in which Israel becomes more like a religious autocracy than a modern, democratic state.

Group petitions court to halt vote on Jerusalem Chief Rabbi

By Jonah Mandel March 30, 2011

A liberal religious Zionist organization is asking the High Court of Justice to put a freeze on the process of electing a chief rabbi for Jerusalem until the regulations governing the process are altered to better represent the public and prevent political deals.

Ne’emanei Torah Ve’avoda on Monday filed a petition asking the court to basically reduce the weight of the religious services minister in the process.

Faina Kirschenbaum: Lieberman’s organizer re conversion issue

By Rebecca Anna Stoil April 2, 2011

The 55-year-old resident of Nili, in Binyamin, has spent most of her almost 25- year political career working in the background of the system.

For almost 10 years now, she has worked closely with chairman Avigdor Lieberman, building Israel Beiteinu from a tiny niche party to a movement that some believe could threaten the Likud for dominance of the right-wing.

"On the topic of conversion, I think that the legislation wouldn’t have hurt what happened overseas, but would actually have helped those who had converted Reform there to come here and be recognized. I know of many people who come here and then don’t find themselves afterward."

Hanging by a Thread: Conversion Corruption in Israel

By Joshua גדליה חיים Reback Opinion April 1, 2011

A Rabbinical figure that has the guts to both organize [and articulate] a coherent opposition could save Jews the world over further embarrassment and division.

In so doing, he would rescue Jews from the spiritual ramifications of this conversion crisis. And all the more likely, he would not only reverse the trend of people running away from Judaism, but cause a reverse movement of people flocking toward Jewish observance.

The New Middle East: A view from Jerusalem

By Rabbi Naamah Kelman Opinion March 28, 2011

Rabbi Naamah Kelman is Dean of HUC-JIR's Jerusalem School

Many of our students are bewildered by the religious coercion in Israel; too many Israelis reject the coercion but also reject Judaism in the process. And often reject our form of Judaism too. Yet thousands attended Reform Purim events throughout Israel.

...The life of Israelis and Diaspora Jews will remain 2 parallel tracks for sure. It is our responsibility to build bridges, connect, exchange, argue, and keep the bonds between us alive and updated.

As Reform Jews, we might be able to model a Judaism that lives in and with democracy. Israelis face issues of sovereignty and governance that are still very new for this emerging modern state.

Despite successes, Yisrael Beiteinu fails to pass several controversial bills

By Jonathan Lis March 31, 2011

Also stalled until the Knesset reconvenes after the spring holidays are changes to the conversion law sponsored by Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman.

Similarly, proposed measures to benefit mixed-religion couples have yet to win support of the government coalition.

VIDEO: Jessica Fain: A Girl Converts in Israel

Take 5 - Jess F - Conversion in Israel April 2, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Click here for Pardes website, Pardes student blog, Pardes YouTube channel

Jerusalem rugby team denied funding from City Hall for playing on Shabbat

By Nir Hasson March 31, 2011

A committee responsible for appropriations in the Jerusalem municipality has decided not to fund the local rugby team after religious city council members discovered the team plays on Shabbat.

In considering the funding request from the rugby team at a meeting on Monday, committee chairman Shlomo Rosenstein, who is United Torah Judaism city councilman, and Deputy Mayor David Hadari of the National Religious Party both asked what day of the week the rugby team plays.

Women Get the Front Seat

By Naomi Ragen Opinion March/April 2011

What will the Court’s landmark decision mean in practice? We don’t yet know. The harassment may continue unabated, or it may stop completely.

What do I hope it will mean? That all of those boarding public buses whose religious beliefs prohibit them from sitting next to the opposite gender can still choose not to, as long as a seat is available. If not, they can stand.

And for those like myself, I hope it means never having to worry about getting on a bus and accidentally sitting in a “hot seat” where I will be raked over the coals for being a woman, or for being uppity enough to sit in a place reserved solely for males because someone’s rebbe said so.

Rabbinic courts: Lift the anchor!

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion March 30, 2011

Rivkah Lubitch is a rabbinic court pleader who works at The Center for Women’s Justice

The text of the ruling reveals that there is nothing less than a "world war" going on between the Rabbinic Courts and the Family Courts regarding the definition of recalcitrance.

...We believe that the husband who refuses to give his wife a get is the one anchoring his wife, and that the Rabbinic Courts who legitimize the husband’s recalcitrance are the ones causing women to remain imprisoned.

Let the public decide.

'Reality is changing'

By Tamar Rotem April 1, 2011

As someone who stood by Orthodox women who complained about sexual harassment by prominent rabbis, Dr. Chana Kahat, the founder of Kolech, is also intimately familiar with the gap between women who fight to expose the blight, and rabbis and yeshiva boys who are still living in total denial and take the abusers' side. She thinks there is a connection between the rabbis' letter from February and the refusal of rabbis to report to the police for questioning.

Shin Bet’s Cohen latest religious man appointed to top post

By Yaakov Katz March 29, 2011

Yoram Cohen will make history as the first head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to wear a kippa – serving as another example of the increasing presence of national religious officers within Israel’s security and intelligence organizations.

So what if he’s religious?

By Uri Orbach March 30, 2011

Uri Orbach is the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi faction

For more than 20 years now, Israeli society is undergoing fascinating processes. We see a natural process of changing of the guard and religious individuals, immigrants and women are reaching senior posts in all areas.

Soon we’ll see the haredim there too. This isn’t happening fast enough, but it’s happening, and the waning reservations we’re hearing are a rearguard battle, not an all-out war.

The struggle for the soul of Religious Zionism

By Yosef Blau Opinion April 2, 2011

The writer is president of the Religious Zionists of America and the mashgiah ruhani of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University.

The plethora of dueling public rabbinic letters in recent months highlights a fundamental split in religious Zionism in Israel.

While there are often political implications, the impact on the education of future generations and on the relationship between religious and secular Israelis is ultimately more significant.

Who is "Orthodox"? Who is "Religious"? Who is Just "Observant"?

By Jonathan Kolatch Opinion April 1, 2011

This article appears in issue 9 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

Is a man with an untrimmed, straggly beard more Orthodox than one who keeps his beard well groomed? What about a woman who doesn’t cover her head, who wears pants, who exposes her shoulders? Can she still be considered “Orthodox”?

Over the past winter, I spent a few days at Kibbutz S’de Eliyahu, an established Orthodox kibbutz in Israel’s Jordan Valley.

Confused by the menagerie of women’s attire at the kibbutz, put this question to Beni Gavrieli, a transplanted American, with Conservative roots, who has lived at the kibbutz for two decades and has adapted to the Orthodox way of life. He proved sensitive to the question.

Where is Modern Orthodoxy going? Is there a future? Will there be a next generation? March 22, 2011 (See also

Rabbi David Bigman, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, Rabbi Yehoshua Engelman, Rabbi Shlomo Fischer, Rabbi Gilad, Avraham Stein, and more.

Conference in English. Pesach 5771, Thursday 21/04/11 Hechal Shlomo, Jerusalem. 8:00 am - 1:30 pm.

Our brothers, ourselves

By Noam Sheizaf April 1, 2011

Many women in the U.S. Jewish community have joined the protest against the treatment of the Women of the Wall.

In the Reform Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, New York, for example, women were photographed with a Torah scroll and they posted the pictures on a special page on the Internet.

"There's a feeling that Israel is moving in the direction of very ultra-Orthodox, very limited Judaism," says the rabbi of the synagogue, Shira Milgrom. "This is an Israel with which it is very difficult for us to identify."

Israeli lawmakers to study U.S. Jewish community

AP April 2, 2011

The six-day program aims to give the legislators a detailed understanding of the structure and history of the American Jewish community.

The six lawmakers include Eitan Cabel and Daniel Ben Simon from Labor, Dichter and Ronit Tirosh from Kadima, and Tzipi Hotovely and Carmel Shama from Likud.

Tzipi Livni on a Jewish State

Livni: To keep a Jewish majority, we must promote two states for two people

By Natasha Mozgovaya March 29, 2011

Click here for VIDEO: Tzipi Livni

Young Israelis, Young American Jews

By Bernard Avishai Opinion April 2, 2011

In fact, however, the ways young people in Israel experience Jewish identity diverge so fundamentally from the ways of American Jews do, it is hard to see what comparisons prove.

For most secular (including traditional but non-Orthodox) Israelis, about 60% of young people, Jewishness is more or less coterminous with Israeliness, though Israeli nationality is not even recognized in the Registry of Populations.

Click here for full article (pdf)

Tunisia decries Israeli call for Jews to emigrate

AP March 30, 2011

Tunisia's government on Monday condemned an effort by Israeli officials to entice Tunisian Jews to emigrate to Israel over concerns about possible economic hardship in the North African country.

A billionaire in stormy waters March 29, 2011

In 1991, Alexander Mashkevich immigrated to Israel and received an Israeli nationality, but chose to return to Kazakhstan. He currently divides his time between Asian Russia, Belgium and London, where his wife and two daughters live.

When it comes to charity, Mashkevich is very generous. Knesset Member Zeev Bielski, former head of the Jewish Agency, says: "In my very first days on the job, I heard of a Jewish man with a big heart who invests a lot in the Jewish life of Asian Russia. I made an effort to meet him, and when he came to Israel we were introduced.

In the haredi world, Mashkevich is called "Hanagid", a title used for the greatest philanthropists. The Braslev Jews dub him "Redeemer of the holy grave", since he redeemed the debts and foreclosure from the Ukrainian grave of the Rabi Nachman from Braslev. Recently, he donated a large sum of money for the establishment of "Zaka" branches throughout the world.

Israeli Cabinet approves special assistance for Tunisian Olim Initiative joint effort of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency March 27, 2011

The Government of Israel today approved a special program offering financial assistance to new immigrants from Tunisia.

The program was formulated by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency following the protests against the Tunisian regime that broke out in December 2010 and the resulting revolution. The program is aimed at assisting the Jews of Tunisia to make aliyah and help to ease their absorption in Israel.

Jewish Agency cuts deal to keep immigration emissary Down Under

By Raphael Ahren April 1, 2011

Australia will be the only Western country where the Jewish Agency will retain a full time Israel immigration emissary, despite the organization’s recent decision to replace all such employees with officials dealing with a broad spectrum of issues.

Shut down Israel Bonds

Haaretz Editorial April 1, 2011

Israel is seen today as a state with a growing, stable economy, so has no difficulty raising funds in overseas’ markets at good prices. Therefore it is time to shut the Bonds’ down and save several tens of millions of dollars a year.

MK Meir Sheetrit proposes: Shut down Israel Bonds

By Zvi Zrahiya March 31, 2011

MK Meir Sheetrit has submitted a draft bill that would do away with Israel Bonds, after an expose in the Hebrew version of TheMarker yesterday revealed that the organization sends MKs abroad in what is considered a job perk.

Interview with Michael Steinhardt

‘We have lost our values”

By Micha Odenheimer March 31, 2011

As things are going, broadly speaking, excluding the possibility, say, that Birthright will create the revolution that I dream of, I think that the non-Orthodox diaspora is in a period of unavoidable decline.

And that is true not only because Jewishly what they are exposed to is the less attractive parts of what is available in America, by that I mean materialism and secularity that prizes comfort and rarely seeks surprises, and whose spirituality continues to decline.

New President for the World Union for Progressive Judaism: Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs April 1, 2011

Rabbi Fuchs has served as the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford Connecticut since 1997. He has also served as Adjunct Professor at the Hartford Seminary, Connecticut. Prior positions include Senior Rabbi at Congregation Ohabai Shalom in Nashville, Tennessee and Rabbi at Temple Isaiah, Columbia, Maryland.

Rabbi Fuchs will take up his appointment in early July and will divide his time equally between North America and Israel, as well as visiting World Union communities around the world.

Jewish Studies in Decline?

By Alex Joffe Opinion March 28, 2011

In part, though, the decline of Jewish studies in Israel represents another, more complicated trend.

Israeli national identity—those "deep spiritual and cultural structures" of which the report speaks—is already nominally Jewish: Hebrew is spoken, the Jewish holidays are celebrated nationwide, most marriages take place under a huppah, and so forth. Why then, a student might well ask, do I need to seek reinforcement at the university level? (This is to put aside the issue of how much the average Israeli high-school graduate really knows about Judaism or even Zionism.)

The Divine Firsts - Meir Shalev Unpacks the Secular Tanakh

By Todd Hasak-Lowy March 30, 2011

Book Review - Beginnings: Reflections on the Bible’s Intriguing Firsts

By Meir Shalev, translated by Stuart Schoffman

...the Bible remains a vital text in secular Israeli culture, giving rise to such books as Meir Shalev’s “Beginnings: Reflections on the Bible’s Intriguing Firsts.” Shalev — who was raised on the iconic moshav Nahalal and is one of Israel’s best-known novelists — is a high priest of his country’s secular Hebrew culture. And if nothing else, this book illustrates both his command of and passion for the biblical text.

Religion and State in Israel

April 4, 2011 (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.

Religion and State in Israel - April 4, 2011 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

April 4, 2011 (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.

Sexual abuse case sheds light on Emmanuel’s ethnic tensions

By Jonah Mandel March 31, 2011

VIDEO: “The Horrible Secret of Emmanuel” (Hebrew)

Click here for VIDEO

A sexual abuse case recently made public is shedding some new light on the development of the ethnic tensions that exploded in Emmanuel last year.

Channel 2 reported on Monday that the principal of Emmanuel’s Ashkenazi elementary school for boys, Rabbi Moshe Nussboim, is currently on trial behind closed doors in the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court on suspicion of sexually abusing three boys from Sephardi families in his school between the years 2002-2008.

The Kfar Saba court is expected to rule on Nussboim’s case in a month.

Haredim study more, work less

By Mickey Peled, Calcalist April 1, 2011

The number of male and female ultra-Orthodox students in study programs designed for the haredi sector has gone up from about 2,000 in 2005 to some 6,000 in 2010, according to a Bank of Israel survey conducted as part of its annual report.

In the academia, the number of haredi men acquiring an academic education grew from several hundred in 2005 to some 2,500 in 2005.

Don't ask what a Haredi can do for his country, help him

By Avirama Golan Opinion March 30, 2011

Approximately 4,000 women complete a Haredi seminar every year. In the best case scenarios, 200 find jobs. The rest are left to fend for themselves in a tough job market that is particularly unforgiving to them.

...The Torah sages must acknowledge that poverty is not tantamount to happiness, and that the reality is changing. They must allow women to leave the seminar and enroll in college, if they wish to do so.

The money is there. It just needs to be allocated toward that goal. This should be done with courage, honesty and wisdom.

Hasidic Rabbi David Twersky: Tsunami result of Haredi arrests March 31, 2011

Rabbi David Twersky, leader of the Rachmastrivka Hasidic dynasty, says the recent tsunami in Japan, which has left thousands of people dead, was the result of the arrest of two yeshiva students by Japanese authorities after being convicted of smuggling drugs.

Haredim hold mass funeral for Jaffa bones

By Kobi Nahshoni March 29, 2011

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men took part Monday in a funeral procession for bones removed from Jaffa's Andromeda Hill, following their failed battle against the evacuation of tombs from the compound and the construction of a hotel.

Experts: Tombs found at Jaffa excavation site not Jewish

By Yair Ettinger and Ilan Lior March 28, 2011

The Israel Antiquities Authority has established that the tombs uncovered in the area of the French Hospital near the Andromeda housing complex in Jaffa are not Jewish.

This was announced after an examination of the site revealed that the burials contained pig bones, allowing archaeologists to conclude that they were not Jewish burials.

Talmud Torah is Equivalent to All - Ultra-Orthodox Education System for Boys in Jerusalem March 27, 2011

This study presents a unique phenomenon in the field of Israeli education – the Haredi education system for boys.

The paper describes a system that has created a meaningful alternative to the regular state education in Israel, employing its own methods and teaching means.

The system has inculcated the Haredi worldview to hundreds of thousands of graduates and achieved meteoric growth over recent decades.

A better understanding of ultra-Orthodox education in Israel March 2011 JIIS Bulletin #4

Today's reality creates a burden for Israel and jeopardizes the future of the state.

"The good news is that this is a much more flexible and dynamic system than its leaders like to admit.
It is appropriate and possible to introduce changes – encouraging initiatives such as reinforcing secular studies, empowering frameworks that train teachers, expanding the possibilities for students facing difficulties and thus drop out, and so on. Provided of course that the Haredi sector's leadership is willing to cooperate."

Number of Haredi college students has tripled since 2005

By Mati Bassok, Nati Tucker March 28, 2011

The main problem is the ultra-Orthodox community's low workforce participation, the report shows: Only 39% of men and 58% of women work. While women are joining the workforce more, there has been little change in the number of Haredi men going to work, states the report.

New lifestyle magazine targets Haredim

By Li-or Averbach March 28, 2011

Haredi publisher Smash Magazines Ltd. will launch the first haredi lifestyle magazine in Israel, "Stylish".

The print run will be 30,000 copies. The investment in "Stylish" is NIS 800,000 for content, design, and targeted distribution in the community. The magazine will have 150 chromo pages.

Culinary fest leaves bad taste in some Jerusalem mouths

By Jonah Mandel April 1, 2011

According to a proprietor who wished to remain anonymous, haredi elements brought soiled, reeking diapers on the first night in a bid to keep people away. Another person involved in the event said that electric cables were cut.

“They did everything they could to get the people away, and damaged the proprietors’ income,” he said, referring to Haredim.

An agreement said to have been reached between police and the local haredi leadership led to the prohibition of alcohol sales in the Jewish quarter during the festival.

In addition, women reportedly were not allowed to sing as part of the live performances, and even the recorded background music was solely of male voices. The municipality would neither confirm nor deny such an understanding.

VIDEO: Old City Flavors Festival

Click here for VIDEO

Jerusalem Taste Festival Stirs Kashrut Controversy

By Maayana Miskin March 28, 2011

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat defended the decision to allow non kosher food at the event.

“Jerusalem is a varied city, with many sectors, I think that is what creates Jerusalem's unity... This festival will promote unity.” Jews, Christians, Muslims and Armenians are all taking part, he added.

IDF Pesach Campaign Under Way April 1, 2011

About a thousand soldiers in the Hesder program, which combines military service with religious studies, have begun an annual campaign to make military kitchens on land and sea kosher for the upcoming Pesach holiday.

Ritual Baths to be Certified March 31, 2011

Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Yonah Metzger announced, on Thursday, the beginning of a program to inspect Israel's more than 1,000 ritual baths (mikvaot) to see if they meet the specifications set forth in Jewish law (Halacha).

Airport halts night flights in wake of landmark court ruling

By Zohar Blumenkrantz April 1, 2011

Although the court ruling made an exception for El Al night flights in the early hours on Fridays to make sure planes don’t have to fly over Shabbat, this week the airline did not schedule any such flights for early this morning.

Court grounds night flights at Ben-Gurion

By Zohar Blumenkrantz March 31, 2011

[Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud)] also gave El Al special permission - even before the renovations started - to take off from 3:50 A.M. on Friday mornings and holiday eves to enable it to avoid flying on Shabbat, and the court ruled this approval applied only in cases where it was necessary to avoid violating the day of rest - but in no other cases.

The plaintiffs had accused the airline of exploiting this loophole for commercial purposes.

El Al to fly at night "in order to observe the Sabbath"

Holon Mayor Motti Sasson, why did it take so long to decide to close the airport at night?

By Merav Michaeli March 31, 2011

Q: What do you think about the permission nonetheless granted to El Al to fly at night "in order to observe the Sabbath"?

Mayor Sasson: Ah, that's an excuse and it's too bad. Let's put it this way, if the judge wasn't Rubenstein, they wouldn't be taking off.
They haven't gotten permission from any minister, no minister ever allowed them, and they haven't got written permission, no documents. But they will have to convince us that they are really observing the Sabbath or a holiday. And if it looks like they're not, we'll sue them.

Rabbis threaten El Al over Saturday flights

By Omer Rabin April 3, 2011

Haredi rabbis and religious El Al passengers are, however, displeased by the solution.

Rabbis on the Committee for the Sabbath who met with El Al VP David Maimon last week now claim that El Al had promised them not to set up a new company to replace Sun D'Or, or to hook up with another airline that desecrates the Sabbath. Both Arkia and Israir fly on Saturdays.

"El Al won't fly Saturdays; Haredim will throw diapers at them"

By Omer Rabin March 28, 2011

What about the possibility that El Al will fly on Saturday?

"At every foreign airline that would be the preferred solution. But it's hard for me to believe that it will happen here.
I have no doubt that we're talking about a solution that would enable El Al to offer more flights at better times, and give customers greater flexibility in planning their trips. It would also help El Al move forward a little on international alliances with airlines, but it's hard to see El Al doing that.
One of my colleagues told me by phone this week, 'They will never fly on Saturday. The haredim (ultra-orthodox) would stand at the takeoff line and throw diapers at them."

El Al flies on Shabbat in Sun D'Or bailout

By Zohar Blumenkrantz April 3, 2011

Three El Al planes and their air staff flew during Shabbat yesterday as part of the arrangement to find a solution for Sun D'Or passengers.

El Al could lease Sun D'Or Saturday flights

By Erez Wollberg March 31, 2011

In a last-ditch effort to prevent the grounding of its charter subsidiary Sun D'Or International Airlines Ltd. on Saturdays, El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. may lease Sun D'Or planes to and crews to other airlines, most likely Arkia Airlines Ltd. or Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd.

The idea, which has not yet been approved, could come into effect this weekend.

Summertime is here: Daylight Savings Time activated April 1, 2011

The move to Daylight savings Time in Israel has, since the 1980s been accompanied by disputes between religious factions, hoping to shorten it in order to make it easier on the religious population to get up for prayers during the high holidays and the secular population wishing to improve their quality of living.

See also: Petition Pushes to Extend DST in Israel (Sept. 2010)

High Time

By Shoshana Kordova April 1, 2011

But Interior Minister Eli Yishai of Shas has expressed little interest in changing the law, which calls for the clocks to fall back just before Yom Kippur every year to make Israelis feel like the fast day ends an hour earlier than it would otherwise—never mind that it also starts an hour earlier.

Yishai said in a statement this week that although both he and the public like Summer Time, the “social characteristics of Israel” must be taken into account. A committee is due to submit its findings on the issue in May.

Tel Aviv Central Train Station Gets Shul March 31, 2011

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Wilhelm, the Rebbe's Shliach to Egged and the Transportation Ministry, dedicated a new shul in the central Tel Aviv train station, "Tel Aviv Center- Savidor" yesterday.

'Moishi' to light Independence Day torch

By Itamar Eichner April 3, 2011

Moishe ("Moishi") Holtzberg, the four-year-old boy who lost his parents in the 2008 terror attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai, is expected to light a torch together with his grandfather Shimon Rosenberg at the opening ceremony of Israel's 63rd Independence Day festivities.

Tram at last winds round J'lem complexities

AP March 28, 2011

Before the tracks were laid, builders encountered a religious dilemma: Two Jewish burial plots, believed to date back 2,000 years, were discovered along the tram route.

Tampering with graves at construction sites often ignites the fury of ultra-Orthodox Jews, so the light rail's developers consulted Atra Kadisha, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish organization that cares for old graves.

Supreme Court to Radio: Air Anti-Abortion Ads

By Hillel Fendel March 28, 2011

Following an appeal to the Supreme Court, the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Second TV and Radio Channel Authority have been ordered to air short ads for the Efrat anti-abortion organization.

Thus comes to an end a year-long legal battle over Efrat’s right to have its information disseminated to the public via the public airwaves.

In the past three weeks, two abortion-related legislative bills have been turned down by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

One, by MK Nissim Ze’ev of Shas, would have banned all abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy, and the other, by the aforementioned MK Horowitz of Meretz, called for automatic legalization of all abortions.

At present, a Health Ministry committee must approve all abortion requests. Abortions of pregnancies resulting from incest or rape are automatically approved and are performed for free.

PHOTO Gallery: Next Year in Uman: A Journey to the Ukraine March 25, 2011

Every year, an increasing number of Jews from every walk of life, from all over the world, converge in Uman, a small, unremarkable city in the Central Ukraine.

They spend “Rosh Hashana” united in meditation and prayer, at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov – a spiritual seer of the 17th century who is revered to this day as the one and only leader of the Breslov Chassidic movement.

Rabbi Levanon, Elon Moreh Appointed Samaria Chief Rabbi

By Elad Benari March 31, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Hevron’s Rabbi, Rabbi Dov Lior, said:

“We are gathered here tonight in honor of the Torah, to appoint Rabbi Elyakim as rabbi of all of Samaria. The role of a rabbi in Israel is different than abroad, where the rabbis are focused on observing Jewish Law. In Israel, the rabbis must also express their opinions on matters relating to public affairs."

Rabbi Lau sends Shalit 'Passover kit'

By Kobi Nahshoni April 3, 2011

Tel Aviv's Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau last week sent a "Seder kit" to kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Hamas in Gaza for four and a half years.

The package, which includes matzot, wine and a Passover Haggadah, was handed over to the head of the Red Cross delegation to Israel, Juan Pedro Schaerer.

Chief Rabbi Amar to lead mass prayer at Western Wall

By Jonah Mandel April 3, 2011

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar will lead on Monday evening a mass prayer at the Western Wall, in the wake of “the severe situation and the troubles befalling Jews in Israel and world.”

Poll: 46% in favor of 'price tag' March 28, 2011

While most seculars oppose "price tag" activities (36% in favor, 57% against), most traditional, national-religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews believe these actions are justified (55%, 70% and 71%, respectively).

About 76% of the seculars and 66% of the traditional Jews believe the rabbis have the power to prevent the "price tag" activities, while the national-religious and haredim say the rabbis are incapable of doing so. About 40% of religious Jews and 35% of haredim believe rabbis can prevent acts of violence and revenge.

Battle between rabbis in Netivot heads to court

By Tomer Zarchin March 30, 2011

Three individuals associated with a prominent Netivot rabbi, Baruch Abuhatzeira, also known as Baba Baruch, were in court yesterday over allegations that they were involved in circulating posters with religious proclamations in an effort to drive another well-known Netivot rabbi, Yaakov Ifergan, out of town.

Famous Israeli Singer Teaches Music to Religious Students

By Elad Benari and Yoni Kempinski March 29, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Israel National News TV recently visited Mizmor, a unique school of music which has been halakhically, socially and culturally established for members of the religious sector.

“We felt that there is a need for people who want to study music in a professional manner but couldn’t find their place halakhically and socially in other schools,” explained the school's founder and principal, Itzik Weiss.

Galilee Religious Leaders Forum Meets Jewish Students and Faculty at Yeshivat Ma’aleh Gilboa

By Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish, Opinion March 31, 2011

The writer is Director, ICCI

On Monday, March 28th, I participated with about 30 religious leaders from our Galilee Religious Leaders Forum in a unique and important encounter at the yeshivah of the Kibbutz Hadati at Kibbutz Ma’aleh Gilboa, in the beautiful Gilboa mountain range overlooking the Bet Sha’an Valley and the mountains of Gilad in Jordan.

Jerusalem center taking heat for passing over the blind on seder night

By Dana Weiler-Polak April 4, 2011

Organizations representing the blind in Israel were surprised to learn that the blind who have nowhere to celebrate the seder this Passover will not be able to turn to an old Jerusalem standby - The Jewish Institute for the Blind, the largest organization of its kind providing services for the blind.

Knesset Interior Committee Expresses Impatience With Progress On Har Hazeisim March 29, 2011

Members of the committee at the hearing that included Yaakov Edri (Kadima), Nissim Zev (Shas) and Aryeh Eldad (National Union) also recommended that Har Hazeisim be added to the new government initiative to restore, upgrade, and maintain more than a hundred heritage sites in Israel. A budget of NIS 500 million has been allocated for the effort.

Baby Enters Covenant – in Jericho

By Maayana Miskin April 1, 2011

For the first time in many years, a Jewish baby boy entered the Biblical covenant in a brit milah (circumcision) ceremony in the ancient city of Jericho. The ceremony took place in the Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue.

Ethiopia: Group claiming to be Jewish clashes with police

By Ruth Eglash March 30, 2011

The complicated issue of Ethiopian Jewish heritage and eligibility for aliya came to the fore again on Wednesday morning, as thousands of demonstrators clashed with police outside the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa, local media there reported.

“I can confirm that about 80 people were injured in the demonstrations, four were taken to the hospital and all but one person, who is in serious condition, have been sent home,” Asher Seyum, the Jewish Agency representative in Ethiopia, told The Jerusalem Post.

Catholic reps. reiterate Jews’ ‘chosen people’ status

By Jonah Mandel April 1, 2011

A senior Vatican delegation reaffirmed the “chosen” status of the Jews on Thursday, at the end of an annual meeting with representatives of the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem.

The Bilateral Commission of the delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews concluded the three-day meeting Thursday, the theme of which was the challenges of faith and religious leadership in secular society.

Jerusalem bishop appeals Israel’s residency denial March 31, 2011

Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, a Palestinian, is engaged in a legal battle with Israel over its refusal to extend his residency permit.

An Anglican official, who declined to be named, said Israel’s Interior Ministry had written to Bishop Suheil Dawani and accused him of improper land dealings on behalf of the church and the Palestinian Authority, allegations he denies.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry declined to comment, citing an upcoming court hearing.

Religion and State in Israel

April 4, 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.