Thursday, July 10, 2014

Religion and State in Israel - July 10, 2014

Editor – Joel Katz  
Religion and State in Israelis not affiliated with any organization or movement


(Photo credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh, Sasson Tiram)
Looking at the events of the past several weeks from afar “really just strengthened my resolve to want to be here,” Chana Ganz explained.

“There is no better way to say that I stand in Israel than to say it from within Israel with my freshly printed teudat zehut,” she said, using the Hebrew term for a national identification card.

It is important to show Israel’s enemies that wars will not prevent Jews from coming to their homeland, Ganz said.

“Although the security situation in Israel is very tense right now, and in Beersheba, where I’m about to move, rockets are falling, I am not afraid and I trust the Israeli government and the IDF,” said Becky Kupchan.

“I’m a Jew and I’ve always dreamed about making aliyah to Israel, my home — and at home you always feel safe.”


Although the identities of the six suspects arrested in connection with the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir have not been released for publication, it is now clear that they come from a marginal Sephardi haredi background and that they are part of a societal grouping referred to colloquially as “delinquent youth.”

 According to information gleaned by The Jerusalem Post, the suspects are from haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and the settlement of Adam some 20km northwest of Jerusalem.  

The names of the six suspects in the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir are still under a gag order, and as some of them are minors, it’s not clear when or if their names will ever be released. What can be said is that these youths are on the margins of the ultra-Orthodox community. 

In other words, they belong to the most overlooked and least understood part of Israeli society: young men and women who don’t fit into the rigid structure of their Haredi homes but have not crossed into another community and perhaps never will. They may be the most easily disowned group — not only in Israel, but in the entire Jewish world. 

La Familia—which, according to some reports is 5,500 fans strong—had moved from low-level barbarism to rabid mass attacks.

Sometimes, these attacks took on a racial spin, such as when a group of 300 fans, elated after a Beitar victory, walked in to a shopping center in 2012, shouted “Muhammad is dead,” and attempted to beat up every Arab Israeli they could spot.

There were the endless verbal assaults on the team’s two unfortunate Chechen Muslim players. 

The six arrested in connection with his death are part of a group known as “La Familia” – a collection of several thousand fans of the Beitar Jerusalem team who take pride in their anti-Arab stance and racist slogans. 
Jerusalem's Beitar signed two Muslim players from Russia in February and — intentionally or not — stirred a national controversy 



Rachel Fraenkel recited kaddish at her son Naftali’s funeral this week – by far the most public example of a women reading the Mourner’s Prayer, traditionally read only by men. Is this a halakhic revolution? 

Yair Ettinger, Religious Affairs Correspondent for Haaretz, says that because the nation has come to know her in the past few weeks, Rachel Fraenkel’s act takes on a particular significance. 

At her son’s funeral, Rachelle stood up and, without fanfare, recited the Kaddish prayer for the dead alongside her husband.

Her feminine voice rang out clearly as Chief Rabbi David Lau, dozens of Orthodox Knesset members and the thousands of others gathered responded with “Amen” – forever changing, many pundits are arguing, the way in which the participation of Orthodox women in this ritual is considered. 

“This woman is more special than you can imagine,” said her friend and fellow halakhic authority Malka Puterkovsky. 


Yesh Atid MK Rabbi Dov Lipman spoke out against the cancellation of a Law Committee vote for a contentious bill for changing the conversion process on Monday, and called on conversion candidates to approach independent rabbinical courts in order to convert. 

The conversion bill was proposed by MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua), and seeks to empower municipal rabbis to establish their own conversion courts, but is opposed by Bayit Yehudi in its current format. 


The time has come for an initiative such as the Gavison- Medan Covenant, which calls on secular and religious Israelis to reach a compromise through mutual consent. 

The initiative could be implemented on both a local and a national level to encourage civic responsibility. 

Cultural venues such as movie theaters, museums and concert halls would be allowed to remain open, and limited public transportation would operate to enable mobility for poorer segments of society. Meanwhile, strict enforcement would prevent commercial centers from operating on Shabbat. 

Interior Minister orders closure of Tel Aviv stores on Shabbat 



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