Sunday, May 13, 2012

Religion and State in Israel - May 7 and May 14, 2012 (Section 2)

Religion and State in Israel

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

By Rabbi Dov Lipman May 9, 2012

There is finally a government which does not need the ultra-Orthodox parties in its midst to survive. As a result, the most pressing problem in Israel can and must be addressed by this government in the next 17 months.

…Extremism, religious coercion, and unity are the issues which truly threaten our future internally and the new unity government can address these issues for the first time in decades.

By Rabbi Uri Regev May 9, 2012

[Yonatan] Ariel knows just as well as I do that currently no Reform, Conservative or Reconstructionist Jew by Choice are allowed to marry in Israel, nor are their children. 

How can one expect to advance the critical cause of “Jewish Peoplehood” and enhance the ties of the “next generation” to Israel without confronting the exclusion they will face in Israel?

By Yair Ettinger May 6, 2012

While the faction's newspaper Yated Neeman has not ceased to deride them, Gafni and Maklev realized somewhat belatedly that in the ultra-Orthodox camp there are many who haven't waited for Yair Lapid.

They have already stopped studying Torah day and night, some of them have served in the army, some of them are studying for a degree and all of them work.

And therefore their children are not accepted into the ultra-Orthodox educational institutions and they have to live in communities of their own.

By Yair Altman May 6, 2012

The Jerusalem Police raided several ultra-Orthodox institutions Sunday as part of an elaborate fraud investigation. Five people were arrested.

Police believe that the suspects are involved in a massive student registration scheme, meant to defraud the state out of millions of shekels.

By Melanie Lidman May 6, 2012

The institutions in question are located in Jerusalem and Betar Illit, a haredi enclave in the West Bank.
Rabbi Uri Regev, head of the religious freedom activist group Hiddush, blamed haredi rabbis’ reluctance to condemn the practice for the continued attempts to fraudulently obtain funds.

“The result is that in the haredi public it enables the perception that the state funds are abandoned and it’s permissible to spend them fraudulently,” he said.

By Avirama Golan Opinion May 2, 2012

Such a policy ought to define the rights and obligations of every Israeli citizen in an egalitarian manner. It should study the army's needs and create civilian service for those who either aren't needed by the army or are incapable of serving effectively.

It should bolster universal social services, subsidize selected yeshivas in the same way the Council for Higher Education does for universities, and abolish government stipends for yeshiva students.
All this would deprive Haredi politicians of their kingmaker role and establish trust between the state and its citizens.

By David Shabtai Opinion May 4, 2012
Rabbi David Shabtai, M.D., is the author of "Defining the Moment: Understanding Brain Death in Halakhah," available at

The incentive offered in the new law, by pushing Isaac toward the top of the waiting list, unfairly punishes Jacob for his religious views.

While nobly intentioned as a means of increasing the organ supply, practically this new law institutionalizes religious discrimination in medical treatment.

Such a notion flies in the face of the Hippocratic tradition that has guided medical practice since its inception. Treating patients differently based on their religious convictions is something that good people should not tolerate.

For response, see: Turning morality on its head

By Ruth Pollard May 5, 2012

For Dr Lavee, the director of the Heart Transplantation Unit at Sheba Medical Centre, it has been a long process to fix what he believed was an inbuilt unfairness in the health system.

''If you do not donate something for the greater good of society, how can you then expect to get something back from that society?'' he said.

Who is ‘Haredi’?
By Rabbi MK Haim Amsallem Opinion May 2, 2012
The author is a member of Knesset, an ordained rabbi, and the chairman of the Am Shalem movement.

But the fundamental question is: Who is haredi? 

That question must be asked because many people, including myself, consider themselves haredi but are not viewed as such by many in the haredi community. It would actually be easier to clarify who is not a haredi according to preset standards, since the haredi press tends to focus on this issue.

So, who isn’t haredi? Here is the list as I understand it.

Not yet an MK, Yair Lapid already acting the part of Israel's prime minister May 12, 2012

Regarding the ultra-Orthodox: “Look at how Shas, with 11 MKs, controls all of us and how United Torah Judaism with 5 mandates acts as if they officially own the Knesset Finance Committee. 

I don’t hate the ultra-Orthodox, but I wonder how they always take care of their own community’s interests. 

It is fitting that there will be someone who looks after the rest of the Israeli public.”

The Israeli organization for national-religious women, Emunah, has begun the process of establishing a course for women who want to be Mashgiot Kashrut, kashrut supervisors.

They have approached the Chief Rabbinate with a proposal that includes a curriculum. Apparently much is dependent on the local Rabbinic Council, and in Efrat this has already been implemented.

By Omri Efraim May 2, 2012
A controversial "SlutWalk" rally that has drawn hundreds in Tel Aviv and Haifa in recent months is coming to Jerusalem on Friday, unless officials in the ultra-Orthodox community have the final say in the matter.
See also:
 Israeli ‘Slutwalk’ protesters hit streets of Jerusalem 

By Gabe Kahn May 1, 2012

"It is only because of the ultra-Orthodox, here in Israel, that today we are in our beloved homeland of three-thousand years dating back to God's promise to Abraham that 'to your seed I shall give the land'," Eichler claimed.

The Rachip team is comprised of female engineers from theHaredi ultra-orthodox community in Israel.
The Rachip team is based on 100 semiconductor experts, located in 2 R&D centers in Israel: Bnei-Brak and Haifa.

Kfar Sava bars girls from singing solo at youth group meeting
By Gili Cohen May 10, 2012 (hardcopy only)

Neither girls nor boys will sing solos on stage during the Kfar Sava Youth Movement Conference next week, the city’s youth council decided, voting 9-1 to accede to a request from the religious youth group Bnei Akiva to avoid having girls sing.

English as a foreign language is not emphasized in many of Israel’s religious public schools, according to the latest report from State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. 

Some schools do not teach the subject at all, he reported, despite the fact that it is considered one of the “core subjects” all government schools must teach.

By Rabbi Rick Jacobs Opinion
Rabbi Rick Jacobs is Incoming President of the Union for Reform Judaism

At Kehilat Mevasseret Zion, a remarkable Reform congregation just outside of Jerusalem where the Grossmans are members, there is a very special Torah scroll dedicated to the memory of Uri Grossman. It is a tree of life to those who hold it fast.

May this unique scroll help us hold close the memories of all of those who gave their lives for Israel.
Through our tears may we have the courage to affirm: We have not, and we never will, lose our hope!

By Nir Hasson May 7, 2012

An American-born resident of the Galilee is on trial for damaging antiquities in a burial cave on his property, even though he says he has been working to preserve the site.

The trial of Mitch Pilcer, 54, a resident of Tzippori, opened on Sunday in Nazareth Magistrate's Court. 

He says he discovered the grave of Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi, an amora (rabbi quoted in the Talmud) who lived in the early third century, while working three years ago to add a bungalow to his property, where he has been running a bed-and-breakfast since 1997.

By Robert Slater May 7, 2012

Robert Slater talks to Eilat Mazar, the archaeologist who believes she has found King David’s Palace in Jerusalem exactly where the Bible says it should be – even though her critics aren’t so sure.

By Nir Hasson May 4, 2012

An electricity pylon erected in front of the Church of All Nations in East Jerusalem is sparking tensions between Israel and the Vatican.

The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land submitted on Wednesday an administrative appeal against the Jerusalem municipality and the Israel Electric Corp, claiming that the municipality approved the action illegally.

By Michael Medved May 2012

While accusing born-again Christians of stealing items of our national heritage, Rejectionists also charge them with supporting Israel for the most dangerous imaginable reason: a sense of religious imperative. 

This indictment rests upon the highly questionable assumption that allies who join your cause out of political calculation count as more reliable and honorable than those who defend your interests because they believe God commanded them to do so.

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