Religion and State in Israel – August 18, 2008 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

August 18, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

In Israel, religious schools get a boost

By Richard Boudreaux, August 18, 2008

Secular Israelis, who rule the nation, see in the ultra-Orthodox an assault on the rational, modern and democratic world they embrace.

Haredi Jews believe secular Israelis have undergone a dangerous assimilation — a separation of Jews from Judaism — that threatens to contaminate religious children.

…What little secular education haredi boys get ends in primary school. The Supreme Court calls this a violation of a universal education law that requires students 18 and younger to be taught “basic knowledge, proficiency and values” needed “to function in a pluralistic society.”

Fictitious IDF rabbis to refund military expenses

By Hanan Greenberg, August 18, 2008

The Israel Defense Forces announced Monday that it intends on demanding that hundreds of career officers, who were illegally ordained as rabbis and received additional pay for their title, refund the money – hundreds of thousands of shekels each.

The affair, which has been the focal of a Military Police investigation for the past two years, revolves around some 300 career and enlisted officers, who have allegedly submitted false rabbinical certifications.

The title of rabbi did little to help them in their everyday military duties, but did constitute reason for a pay raise, of up to NIS 2,000 (approximately $560) a month.

See also: Justice Ministry uncovers rabbinical ordination fraud

By Aviram Zino, July 18, 2007

IDF: Rabbis and Officers August 14, 2008

On August 12th, after six weeks of intense training for their new jobs, a hundred cadets of the Military Rabbinate Reserves Course received their officers’ ranks.

A small percentage of the graduates, mostly those who excelled in the course, are expected to continue their career in the Military Rabbinate as officers, while the rest will continue to serve as reserve soldiers.

“Their mission is to be trained to serve as military reserves rabbis for different battalions,” added Lt. Col. Almaliach.

It’s the economy, ‘tipesh

The writer is a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute and a professor emeritus of sociology and Jewish studies at Rutgers University.

The high cost of Jewish living has had an impact on patterns of American aliya. Those for whom living a Jewish lifestyle is more important are those who are most likely to make aliya because their lifestyle costs are much lower in Israel.

Ironically, although American Jews have traditionally associated making aliya with economic sacrifice, aliya can make economic sense.

However, the current economic recession and the housing crisis may actually have just the opposite effect.

Out of the shadows

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 15, 2008

The first interview ever by a serving head of Nativ

Naomi Ben Ami is having to cope not only with an ongoing threat to the organization’s existence, but also with an undisguised lack of sympathy on the part of many in the Foreign Ministry, the Jewish Agency, the major Jewish organizations and the leaders of local communities.

…Officially, Nativ engages primarily in verifying the eligibility of candidates for immigration under the Law of Return and deals with several other related consular matters.

For that, three clerks would be sufficient. Nativ, though, has some 50 personnel in Israel and another 19 permanent emissaries throughout the FSU.

IDF olim program pulls in record numbers

By Cnaan Liphshiz, August 12, 2008

The army’s program for recruiting young ex-Israelis and Diaspora Jews is set to break all previous attendance records tomorrow, with the arrival of the last members of a group of close to 160 fresh recruits from the U.S. and several other Western countries.

The current group comprises 20 new immigrants and 140 sons and daughters of Israelis who left Israel, according to Ruth Sapir, the spokesperson for the Israel Scout Movement, which runs the program along with the Israel Defense Forces, the Jewish Agency, MASA and the Absorption Ministry.

Israel Reform Congregation Breaks Ground for State-Supplied Structure August 14, 2008

Members of Kehilat Tzur Hadassah, located in the Jerusalem suburb of the same name, held a groundbreaking ceremony on July 3, 2008 to prepare for the delivery of a state-supplied pre-fabricated structure they will use as a synagogue and community center.

The parcel of land was allocated by the regional council. According to congregational co-president Ilan Halperin, it is hoped the structure will be ready in time for Rosh Hashana.

Tzur Hadassah is the third congregation affiliated with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism to be provided with such a structure, following congregations in Modi’in and Kiryat Tivon.

Suit against Shefa Shuk ex-CEO may reignite ultra-Orthodox boycott

By Adi Dovrat and Nati Toker, August 18, 2008

The ultra-Orthodox boycott of Blue Square may resume in the wake of a lawsuit Blue Square filed against Yehuda Porat, the former CEO of Blue Square subsidiary Shefa Shuk, which serves the ultra-Orthodox market.

A source in the ultra-Orthodox community says Blue Square alleges that Porat disclosed commercial secrets to competitor Super-Sol, and that the community’s rabbis will respond to this affront against one of their own by ratcheting up the boycott.

Hamat Gader becomes haredi-friendly

By Israel Moskovitz, August 14, 2008

History is being made at the hot springs site of Hamat Gader. For the first time ever, women and men will have separate bathing hours until end of August.

Since the opening of the Hamat Gader spa and entertainment center 10 years ago, there has been joint male-female bathing in the site’s hot springs.

Recently, travel agents working with the ultra-Orthodox sector turned asked the site to provide separate bathing times for men and women in the haredi community.

Tel Aviv Authorities Fail to Enforce Tisha B’Av Law

By Yechiel Sever, August 14, 2008

In a letter to Justice Minister Prof. Daniel Friedman, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (UTJ) said he was deeply upset by the disdain shown for Tisha B’Av through the failure to enforce the law against opening entertainment spots on this day.

In his letter Rabbi Moshe demands clarification regarding the ministry’s inconsistent policy of strictly enforcing the law requiring closing of such establishments on Fallen Soldiers Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikoron that immediately precedes Yom Haatzmaut) while allowing Tel Aviv nightclubs and other establishments to operate in plain view on Tisha B’Av.

Bnei Brak residents hold funeral for torched Torah scrolls

By Moti Katz, August 17, 2008

On Friday, the town crier passed through the city calling on residents to attend a funeral procession for two Torah scrolls, which were severely damaged Wednesday in an arson attack on the city’s Beit Yaakov synagogue.

…”We must ask ourselves how it can be that this criminal act has returned in recent months here – in this sacred city. Why does this happen to us?” Landau asked the assembled crowd.

“I have no doubt that we are to blame. We must sort through our deeds and consider our sins,” he said.

Stranded In Gondar

By Michele Chabin, August 3, 2008

The debate, which will decide the fate of thousands of Ethiopians, many of whom have relatives in Israel, is also creating a dilemma for Diaspora Jews, who must decide whether to support continued aliyah, even if it means going against the wishes of the Israeli government and many Ethiopian Jews.

…Acknowledging that Falash Mura immigration cannot go on indefinitely (“there will always be more who want to come”) Feldman, who works with SELAH, the Israel Crisis Management Center, says the Jewish Agency and other bodies that have supported Ethiopian aliyah have, in the past, discussed ways to help those left behind.

Ethiopians Protest Government Decision to Bar Falash Mura from Entering Israel August 17, 2008

Click here for VIDEO

Hundreds of Ethiopians demonstrated outside the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on Sunday demanding that the government act immediately and allow their relatives to immigrate to Israel.

Thousands of Ethiopian Falash Mura remain stranded in Addis Ababa and Gondar waiting in camps to be flown to Israel.

The Falash Mura’s hope remains in the hands of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss who asked to freeze the decision to halt the Falash Mura immigration to Israel until the special report he wrote on the issue comes to light.

Ethiopian Jews call for continued immigration

“I regret hearing that the Jewishness of our Ethiopian brothers, the Falash Mura, has again been called into question,” Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

“It is a big mitzva to bring them to Israel as Jews and to rescue them from certain assimilation and both physical and spiritual danger.”

Thousands protest in favor of Falash Mura immigration

By Shlomit Sharvit, August 17, 2008

Moving mental mountains

Shaf Yativ…is the name for a small Jerusalem house of Torah study – the only one of its kind in Israel – aimed at rehabilitating haredi and a few modern Orthodox men suffering from mental illness who have regained daily stability with psychotropic medications.

…Over the past decade, the Health Ministry has invested much energy and resources in rehabilitation for the mentally disabled, but existing programs were unsuited to haredim and other observant Jews due to their religious lifestyles.

…The Defense Ministry will soon help subsidize the project and bring in modern Orthodox IDF veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. “If all goes well, we hope to open another branch of Shaf Yativ for men in Jerusalem and then Bnei Brak and Ashdod.”

A new breed of Muslim cleric? Imams for the environment

Fifty Muslim clerics were “inducted” into the environmental movement on Thursday in a groundbreaking conference to raise awareness among imams.

The Imams of the Mosques Conference – Islam and Environmental Protection 2008 was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Interior Ministry’s Islamic Administration and Religions Department, the Umm el-Fahm Municipality and the Environmental Quality Unit Northern Triangle organization. It was held at the Umm el-Fahm Science and Art Center.

Jordan bars Jews with religious items

By Matthew Wagner, August 1, 2008

Jordanian border officials refused to allow a group of Israeli tourists carrying religious objects such as talitot and tefillin to enter their country on Tuesday, saying it was “a safety measure” to avoid potential terror threats.

Alan Novetsky, a recent immigrant from New York said that at first the guides tried to bargain with the Jordanian officials, promising to keep the religious items hidden and to pray inside the hotel. But the suggestions were rejected.

“The vast majority of the group decided that as proud Israelis, we were either going to be allowed to walk into Jordan holding our religious objects or we would not go in at all.”

Jordan: Israeli tourists asked to hand over Jewish paraphernalia

By Itamar Eichner, August 13, 2008

Last week authorities reiterated their advisory that “Jewish paraphernalia” that could risk the lives of the tourists, must be left at the border checkpoint.

Religion and State in Israel

August 18, 2008 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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