Religion and State in Israel – January 14, 2008 (Section 2)

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Religion & State in Israel

January 14, 2008 (Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Sanhedrin to Bush: Declare that Israel belongs to Jews

By Koby Nahshoni,

The American president is requested to seize the opportunity of his visit to Israel to make a proclamation similar to proclamations, Steinsaltz claims, made by Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE as well as Englishman Lord James Balfour in 1917: to recognize the right of the Jewish people over the Land of Israel.

Rabbi Eliyahu warns Bush

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz

Former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu warned U.S. President George W. Bush in a circular against “activity that would harm Israel.”

Eliyahu explains in the circular, “The Jewish people will remember forever all those who do it harm.” Eliyahu addressed Bush as “a man who believes in the Bible,” and quoted a biblical promise to give the Land of Israel to the People of Israel.

“Plans being published today counter God’s word. They include giving the place of the Temple to those who use the Lord’s name in vain as they kill women and children.” Eliyahu closes the circular by asking Bush to utilize his visit here “to strengthen the Jewish people and act to remove the threat on Sderot.”

When knitted kippot turn black and short sleeves get long

By Daphna Berman, Haaretz

The practice of sending Orthodox high-school graduates for a year of study in Israel has drastically changed the face of the American Jewish community, increasing stringency and knowledge, but with it, also fueling insularity, says a leading sociologist who examined the phenomenon.

Prof. Chaim Waxman, co-author of “Flipping Out? Myth or Fact: The Impact of the ‘Year in Israel,'” also says that the trend has remarkably increased immigration rates among American Orthodox Jewry, as well as contributed to the community’s shift rightward in terms of its support of both American and Israeli politics.

More religious, less sexy movies

By Daphna Berman, Haaretz

Adherence to ritual behavior and commitment to Torah study increased following a year of study in Israel and many of these changes remained constant a year later, a study found.

Before a year of study in Israel, just 43 percent of students surveyed said immigration was “very likely” or “somewhat likely.” Nearly 70 percent felt that way after they completed their year in Israel and the number stayed the same among those surveyed a year later.

Fifth Group of Women Halakhic Advisors Ready For Work

By Hillel Fendel, January 14, 2008

At a ceremony last week at Nishmat, the Jerusalem Center for Advanced Jewish Study for Women, eleven women were deemed “Halakhic Advisors,” authorized to answer Jewish-legal questions that women may feel embarrassed to ask rabbis.

Nismat – Ask the Yoetzet

Secular Ramat Gan high school bans pupils from praying

By MATTHEW WAGNER, January 9, 2008

A small group of pupils at the secular Ohel Shem High School in Ramat Gan who have begun to embrace a more religious lifestyle have been denied permission to pray on school premises.

The city spokesman said that Ohel Shem “was always and will always be a secular school that is open to secular, traditional and religious students.

[But] religious activity has no place in the school, nor will it in the future, just as secular activities have no place in religious schools, he added.

Wrong kind of modesty

By Uri Orbach, January 14, 2008

We are not talking about modesty, but rather, about the desire and possibility to force one’s worldview upon others.

We are talking about extroverted defiance against the world out there and also against the modern religious world, which is open and a little feministic.

Reform Reflections: To be a Jerusalemite

By Rabbi Michael Marmur, January 10, 2008

As a Reform Jew, I hear the call of Jerusalem to be part of its impossible mosaic.

I read the papers and see the signs, and I know that one day in the coming years the demography of the city may have little place for Jews of my disposition.

Rosner’s Guest – Tsvi Bisk

I still hold out hope that the Reform and Conservative Movements will get serious about their Israeli presence and demand official recognition as independent Jewish sects, especially in matters related to marriage, divorce and chaplains in the Army.

This will not be done politically but only through the courts.

This will galvanize new kinds of Jewish energy in Israel, which in turn, I believe, will recharge the batteries of both movements in the Diaspora, to the benefit of the entire Jewish people.

Conservative Movement hopes to build Tel Aviv center


Some two-thirds of the $3.2 million cost of construction have already been raised, and the project, the 1,300-square-meter Schechter Institute Neve Tzedek Center, should be ready for the public in two years’ time.

The center will not be a synagogue – Rabbi Roberto Arbib is already rabbi of Congregation Sinai on Bograshov – but a “cultural-spiritual center of Judaism that can serve Israeli society in all its sectors,” he said on a recent visit to the site of the new center.

The new center will join the quiet revolution that is already underway in Tel Aviv, evident in institutions such as Yakar, Bina, Alma College, the Secular Yeshiva, Reform Judaism’s Beit Daniel, and Arbib’s own synagogue and midrasha, which are sprouting up and steadily expanding throughout the city.

The new institutions, says Arbib, “understand that changing Israeli society won’t happen in Jerusalem, but in Tel Aviv, and not politically or through coercion, but spiritually. Israelis are more open to this than ever.”

For the first time, Masorti synagogue taps a rabbi to lead

By Daphna Berman, Haaretz

Ramot Zion has chosen Rabbi Chaya Rowen Baker, 30, a home-grown product of the Israeli Masorti movement and in many ways, the face of the movement’s new generation.

She was also raised by an Orthodox father and Reform mother – who are still married, she notes – which she believes has given her a uniquely tolerant view of religious diversity.

Shas, Republicans join forces in fight against abortions

By Neta Sela,

The three, all leading pro-life figures in the US, are Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey, who heads the anti-abortion lobby in Congress, Congressman Frank Wolf from Virginia and Congressman Joseph Pitts from Pennsylvania.

In a meeting with Shas MK Chaim Amsellem, the latter announced his plans to establish a parliamentary lobby against abortions that would work closely with Smith’s American lobby.

A response to Ronald Lauder

By SHLOMO AVINERI, January 12, 2008

The writer is the author of The Making of Modern Zionism.

All of us in Israel welcome the serious and deep concern Jews all over the world have for the Jewish state.

We recognize how meaningful it is for the future of all Jews.

Your voice should be heard; but the ultimate decisions – whether to go to war or make peace, whether to pay the price, for war as well as peace – are for the sovereign body of the country’s citizens to make.

Without engaging in any simplistic Zionist “negation of the Diaspora,” this is, after all, the difference between living in the Jewish state and deciding to live, well, somewhere else.

Each Jew can change his or her status any minute, and he or she will be more than welcome, regardless of their views or political commitments.

Come, join us in the front seat. VIDEO – Prof. Waxman on world Jewry report

Head of this year’s annual world Jewry report Prof. Chaim Waxman explains why the percentage of world Jewry living in Israel jumped to 41%.

A Constitution – Equality for all – or without a constitution at all

By Meirav David, (Hebrew) January 7, 2008

MK Yitzhak Levi (NRP): “If you count sexual discrimination within ‘equality’, then tomorrow you’ll be shutting down the Rabbinical Courts.”

Education Minister Tamir approves increase in Haredi education

By Or Kashti, (Hebrew) January 10, 2007

Rabbi Aviner: Segregate male and female teachers

By Kobi Nahshoni,

Female and male teachers must be separated at the workplace, according to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the rabbi of the settlement of Beit El, north of Jerusalem.

Aviner lists the six conditions that stipulate when it is acceptable to hold co-ed encounters “when there is no other choice”:

In a lecture where men are sitting in the front of the lecture and women are seated in the back, places of rest and ceremonies, the discussions should be segregated and co-ed discussions, if they are held, should be very business-like.

Months go by and ethnic discrimination continues

By Shimon Cohen, (Hebrew) January 10, 2008

PM promises additional budget for Haredi educational institutions (Hebrew) January 10, 2008

Addition of NIS 173 million promised

Falash Mura aliya finished, state tells High Court

By DAN IZENBERG, January 14, 2008

[Former] Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler maintained that the government did not have the right to restrict immigration in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner, quoting former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar, who told the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee that the state could not deny any Jew’s inherent right to immigrate to Israel if he were indeed eligible to immigrate.

High Court to Rule on Falash Mura Aliyah

By Hana Levi Julian,

The list now being used to determine who is still considered eligible to immigrate has 1,413 fewer names than the list compiled in 2004.

It is this group of 1,413 would-be immigrants that Justice Ayala Procaccia has said the state must accept into the country.

A separate petition on behalf of 8,000 other would-be immigrants who were allegedly included in a 1999 census but were not deemed eligible will not be considered by the court, said Procaccia.

Paz-Pines: Recheck Ethiopian aliya lists

By RUTH EGLASH, January 10, 2008

If the government wants to end its official operation to bring the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel, the interior minister must conduct a comprehensive investigation into whether all those on its original aliya list have been processed, MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor), chairman of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee,

Knesset panel: External auditor should review Falashmura eligibility

By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz

The Knesset Interior Committee yesterday called on Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit to appoint an external investigator to check whether the ministry had examined whether all Falashmura in Ethiopia are eligible to immigrate to Israel.

The committee’s call came after Ethiopian immigrants’ organizations complained that the government and the Jewish Agency are planning to stop bringing Falashmura to Israel in five months, although 8,000 community members are still waiting for entry permits.

Rabbi’s Incitement Against Olmert Threatens To Split Apart Chabad

By Nathan Jeffay, The Forward Jan 09, 2008

Habad occupies a privileged position among Israel’s ultra-Orthodox groups, being the only major Hasidic group whose members serve in the army. Its rabbis are also regarded as informal chaplains.

It is the threat to this activity that could force Chabad to declare the messianists separate from the movement, Chabad spokesman in Israel, Moni Ender said. The sect would “prefer to get to every soldier and every Jew wherever they are, rather than pay the price of Rabbi Wolpe’s comments.”

Dangerous Talk

The Forward Editorial Jan 11, 2008

It has become apparent over the past decade or so that the core Chabad belief in the messiah’s imminent arrival is having a corrosive effect on civil discourse in Israel.

The environment a popular cause among the Ultra-Orthodox

By Haaretz Staff and Channel 10 January 13, 2008

Secular Israeli stereotypes regarding their religious counterparts tend to hold fast.

The ultra-Orthodox are known to isolate themselves and denounce anything relevant to the modern world. The environment is the last cause many would expect them to take up.

Lucky for the earth, the secular are wrong. Religious leaders across the country have done an impressive job combining environmentalist ideology with Jewish teachings thousands of years old.

CBS reports drop in ultra-Orthodox fertility rate

By Shahar Ilan, Haaretz

The fertility rate in the Haredi community of Beitar Illit dropped from 8.9 children per woman in 2001 to 7.7 children in 2006, a decrease of 13.5 percent.

In Modi’in Illit, another ultra-Orthodox community, the total fertility rate fell from 9 to 8 in the same period.

Even after the drop, these communities still have the highest fertility rates in Israel.

Injustice corrected: Muslim and Druze religious courts get equal treatment

By Zeev Kam, (Hebrew) January 13, 2008

Fraud squad recommends indicting Absorption Min. Edery for ‘accepting bribes’

By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz

The suspicions revolve around an offer from an official in the Haifa Rabbinical Court to Edery before the Likud primaries. The official allegedly offered to send out greeting cards for Edery to voters, and provide him with a car for use on election day, in return for promoting a police officer friend of his, Commander Yaakov Zigdon.

The investigation against Edery was only one part of a broader inquiry against senior officials in the Haifa Rabbinical Court.

The investigation revealed that the officials took bribes from citizens appearing before the court, and in return sped up and influenced cases.

Local rabbis living high on the hog

By Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz

The rabbis of small communities, in contrast, are outsiders, freelancers.

No one supervises them, they report to no one, and there are even legal disputes as to who their employer really is.

The state may have absolved itself of all responsibility for being these rabbis’ employer, but this does not seem to have prevented it from paying their full salaries.

The body that was evidently supposed to have supervised such rabbis was the Religious Affairs Ministry.

But supervision was never one of its strong points, either in its previous incarnation as a government ministry or in its present life as a government authority for religious services.

Toys-R-Us, Ace Auto Depot, and Mega Sport seek Supreme Court relief from Sabbath inspectors

BY Shmuel Dekalo and Noam Sharvit,

Toys-R-Us Israel, Ace Auto Depot, and Mega Sport Ltd., claim that the government’s discriminatory enforcement of the ban on Jewish-owned businesses to operate on Saturday is scandalous.

The retailers note that the government hires non-Jewish supervisors to single out businesses open on Saturday.

The retailers claim that the state does not enforce the law at Ben Gurion Airport for extraneous reasons.

Rabbi Elyashiv: Heiter Mechira=Chicken in Milk

By Idan Yosef, (Hebrew) January 10, 2008

Police gear up to stop rabbis from praying on Temple Mount

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz

Jerusalem police are preparing to prevent religious Zionist and settler rabbis from holding prayers on the Temple Mount this morning.

The rabbis used posters to exhort supporters to pray at the mount “for the annulment of the wicked plans for the division of Jerusalem and the surrender and abandonment of the Temple Mount to the hands of foreigners and adversaries.”

Temple Mount Closed to Rabbis

By Hana Levi Julian,

A delegation from the Judea and Samaria (Yesha) Rabbinic Council was blocked from ascending the Temple Mount on Tuesday morning.

Jerusalem police closed the Temple Mount to Jews, telling those who arrived that an ancient Muslim holiday was discovered to be taking place, thereby precluding entrance by Jews. They could not name the holiday when asked, however.

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