Religion and State in Israel – September 8, 2008 (Section 1)

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September 8, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Haaretz Cartoon by Eran Wolkowski – September 5, 2008

Deri prepares to face legal, political obstacles to J’lem mayoral run

By Haaretz Staff and Channel 10 September 4, 2008

Click here for VIDEO

Speculations regarding the upcoming Jerusalem mayoral elections abounded on Wednesday, after former Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri shook up the political arena by announcing he would run in the municipal elections in November.

Deri is back in business

By Peggy Cidor, September 6, 2008

As for the matter of a split between haredi candidates, Shas supporters agree that under no circumstances will the haredi public – Ashkenazi and Sephardi – allow two candidates to represent the haredi sector.

“It’s like a poker game – one of them will blink first and will have to withdraw, and because until now the polls haven’t been very flattering for Porush, the chances that in the end Deri will represent the haredi community and win are more than fair,” adds the Shas supporter.

“In any case, there will only be one haredi candidate.”

Former Shas strongman Deri mulls bid for mayor of Jerusalem

By Yair Ettinger, September 3, 2008

Porush, who hopes to receive the endorsement of religious voters, may lose much of his potential support if Deri announces his candidacy, sources close to the former Shas politician said yesterday. 

Some of the factions in Porush’s own party are said to be debating over whether to throw their support behind him or Deri. MK Avraham Ravitz, the chairman of UTJ, recently said that Porush was “not worthy of being mayor of Jerusalem” and that Deri “was more suitable for the job.” 

Rabbi Eliyahu endorses Barkat for mayor

By Etgar Lefkovits, September 5, 2008

The former chief rabbi and modern Orthodox spiritual leader Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu has endorsed Jerusalem opposition leader Nir Barkat in the upcoming mayoral elections, Barkat’s office said Thursday.

The endorsement by the 80-year-old rabbinical heavyweight, who served as the Sephardichief rabbi from 1983 to 1993, is a major boost for the secular Barkat, who has long been courting the modern Orthodox vote in the largely traditional city and is facing off against at least one haredi candidate in the race.

Porush campaign vies for secular vote

By Ronen Medzini, September 4, 2008

In the wake of reports of former Shas Party Chairman Aryeh Deri’s intentions to run for mayor of Jerusalem, MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism), who has already announced his candidacy, is attempting to enlist secular voters with a new campaign.

Porush has hired the services of ‘Spin Public Opinion’ in order to assist him with this aim.

Porush’s mayoral campaign still lacking haredi unity

By Matthew Wagner, September 7, 2008

United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush continues to face difficulties in his bid to muster a united haredi front for the Jerusalem mayoral campaign.

Meanwhile, another development has further undermined Porush’s political fortunes.

Agudat Yisrael’s list for the Bnei Brak elections has split into two separate lists: one affiliated with Porush and one affiliated with the Ger Hassidim, the nation’s largest hassidic sect.

How the Diaspora can help Jerusalem

By Amotz Asa-El, September 7, 2008

What, then, can the Diaspora do in the face of all this?

Simple: Invest in Jerusalem’s modernity, tolerance and pluralism.

Every penny a Jew from New York, London, Toronto or Melbourne these days puts in a Jerusalem-based start-up, museum, park, theater, conservatory, university, library or modern synagogue will help restore Zion to Zionism.

True, there would be in such a crusading spirit an element of foreign interference in Israel’s domestic affairs, but ultra-Orthodoxy is itself a citizenry that is encouraged to take more than it gives; it is therefore in no position to speak in the name of civic fairness.

The fact is it is disgracing Jerusalem and undermining the Zionist enterprise.

It’s time Zionism responded in kind, deploying any Jew for whom keeping Jerusalem Zionist is no less important than keeping it Jewish.

Lawsuit Challenges ‘Mehadrin’ Egged Bus Line September 1, 2008

A woman has filed a petition in the Jerusalem District Court challenging the “‘mehadrin” Egged bus lines that she claims discriminates by offering better service and lower fares than its other lines between Jerusalem and Haifa.

The plaintiff, Ruth Yasur, also argued that the mehadrin buses pick up and drop off passengers in their neighborhoods while the regular lines travel only between the central bus stations in the cities.

The lawsuit claims the losses to non-mehadrin passengers total 77 million shekels ($21 million).

See also article (Hebrew) “Secular Jews vs. Mehadrin bus lines

A quota for yeshiva studies

Haaretz Editorial, September 2, 2008

The State of Israel must declare that it will support all yeshiva students only until age 23.

Past that age, it must fund only a limited quota of students, who could receive even double or triple today’s monthly NIS 720 stipend.

Anyone who wants to continue to learn but does not make the quota will need to pay for it himself, or be supported by donors.

The kollels will thus return to nurturing rabbis and religious scholars, and not serve as a refuge from military service and work.

Conversion courts rabbis petition against hiring freeze

By Dan Izenberg, September 1, 2008

Twenty-two rabbis selected to join the special conversion courts administered by the Prime Minister’s Office have petitioned the High Court of Justice after the government froze the hiring process.

The selection process was suspended because of opposition by rabbis already serving on the courts. 

Senior dayan Rabbi Yisrael Rozen protested to the search committee that chose the new dayanim that “there is absolutely no need for additional dayanim (unless you plan to fire some of those currently serving on the court).”

The rabbis on the court are paid according to each case they handle.

Campaign: More Jewish Law to Civil Courts

By Hillel Fendel, September 7, 2008

A law school dean and Justice Ministry official agree: More Jewish Law is needed in Israel’s civil courts.

Dr. Aviad HaCohen, of the Shaarei Mishpat Law School in Hod HaSharon, and Dr. Michael Wigoda, who heads the Justice Ministry’s Jewish Law section, both bemoan the declining citations of Jewish Law in civil law cases in Israeli courts.

The law school and the Justice Ministry are therefore collaborating on a project in which weekly articles on Jewish Law, based on the weekly Torah portion, are emailed to judges, law professors, lawyers, and others.

Jerusalem: Chief Rabbi Elections Following Municipal Elections

By Yechiel Spira, September 8, 2008

The Supreme Court of Justice on Sunday accepted a petition filed by Jerusalem opposition City Councilman Nir Barkat and MK (National Union) Uri Ariel, that elections for a chief rabbi of Yerushalayim would not take place ahead of the city’s mayoral race in November. 

Barkat praised the move, calling it a “positive step” towards a democratic election of a chief rabbi of the city, one who is a “Zionist” since 70% of the population is not chareidi and they seek a rabbi who will address their religious needs.

Ariel and Barkat have been working in earnest to prevent Minister of Religious Services (Shas) Yitzchak Cohen from appointing a chareidi chief rabbi to Yerushalayim, insisting this time, the rabbi of the capital must be affiliated with the Dati Leumi (National Religious) camp.

I am Israeli

By Prof. Uzzi Ornan, Opinion September 8, 2008

Prof. Uzzi Ornan is an Israeli linguist, a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language and the chairman of the Ani Israeli Association

In order to allow Israelis who wish to be known as just that – Israelis, with no religious or ethnic denomination – the Ani Israeli (“I am Israeli”) Association filed a motion with the Jerusalem District Court, asking it to order the Ministry of Interior to list the petitioners as “Israelis” in all official documents.

The judge rejected the petition, claiming in his ruling that he “cannot create a new nationality via court order,” and further ruling the matter “non-justiciable.” 

The former is, of course, not true, since the Declaration of Independence created the Israeli nationality, leaving it up to no court to create.

The Ani Israeli Association is currently working on a High Court appeal of the ruling.

Dying in order to live again

By Nadav Shragai, September 3, 2008

Is unity a recipe for victory at the polls? The National Religious Party, Moledet and Tekuma are convinced that it is.

…While everyone in the religious Zionist world accepts the principle of unity, how to achieve it remains an open question.

…While religious Zionist life generally involves a strong connection to the Land of Israel and to settling the West Bank, the average national religious family is no less concerned about issues such as high tuition payments (NIS 4,000 to NIS 8,000 per month for a family with five children, more than in any other sector of Israeli society);

cuts in government funding for civilian national service, mechinot (post high-school programs that combine Jewish studies with preparation for military service) and hesder yeshivas (which combine Jewish studies with military service); 

the lack of synagogues and mikvehs in many new neighborhoods; and a host of issues related to Jewish identity.

To chagrin of religious, TA hotels enforce Shabbat checkout times

By Matthew Wagner, September 8, 2008

Tel Aviv Hotel Association head Eli Ziv:

“During the summer season hotels are working at a capacity of more than 85 percent so every room counts. Religious guests should not assume that the hotel will allow them to stay until after sundown.”

Rabbi Micha Halevi, who is responsible for kashrut supervision in Tel Aviv’s hotels, said the Rabbinate considered rescinding kashrut certificates from hotels that kicked religious guests out before the end of Shabbat. But they ruled it out.

“We have a responsibility to provide guests with kosher food regardless of the hotel’s policies,” he said. 

“But we are trying to get the Hotel Association to institute more transparent rules so that religious guests know in advance that they will forced to leave the hotel early and that they will be given the option of paying more to stay a few extra hours.”

Tel Aviv Rabbinate fights ‘anti-religious coercion’ in hotels

By Kobi Nahshoni, September 7, 2008

Until now, religious tourists have been forced to choose between desecrating Shabbat, paying a significantly higher price, cancelling their vacation and waiting in lobbies with their luggage until the stars appear.

Now they are asking the local rabbinate to act against this phenomenon.

In light of numerous complaints on this issue, the Tel Aviv Religious Council turned to the city’s Hotel Association and demanded that it change their current policies and allow guests to stay in their rooms until Shabbat ends.

The Shabbos Goy does what needs doing on the Sabbath

By Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers September 7, 2008

In a city marinated in archaic traditions, rigid rituals and surreal customs, Abu Ali still has one of Jerusalem’s oddest jobs.

This 52-year-old Muslim serves Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community as a so-called Shabbos Goy.

“When I am here on the Sabbath, I am the king,” he said one recent Friday at sundown as Orthodox men in black satin overcoats rushed by. “Everybody knows me. Everybody needs me.

“But after the Sabbath, nobody knows me,” Abu Ali said with a shrug. “It’s the nature of things.”

The seasonal occupation with Shas

By Akiva Eldar, Opinion September 8, 2008

“My opinion is my opinion, but the opinion of a Torah sage determines matters.” 

This admission, by MK Haim Amsalem of Shas, was recently reported in the minutes of the Knesset.

“I will request an audience with the rabbi once more and get clear instructions before the second and third readings,” the MK continued.

Not one member of the committee, most of whose members are secular, showed surprise or protested.

The debate continued as if there were nothing more normal, in a modern democratic state, than for representatives of the public to get instructions from religious figures. 

Court recognizes ‘ketuba’ rights of stripper wife

By Matthew Wagner, September 3, 2008

The High Rabbinical Court has ruled that a woman who stripped in public is still entitled to receive monetary benefits afforded her in her ketuba , the court announced on Monday.

A judge who spoke to The Jerusalem Post about the case but preferred to remain anonymous because he did not have authorization to speak with the press, said he was concerned that the public would get the wrong impression from the publication of the court’s decision.

“I don’t want people who read about this story to think that we judges take lightly the behavior of this woman. We based our decision solely on Halacha.”

Cost of dying is on the rise

By Matthew Wagner, September 8, 2008

Making a living is tough, but dying is not much easier and it is getting more expensive, according to the latest price list for graves released Sunday by the Religious Services Ministry in the Prime Minister’s Office.

…Every Israeli is entitled to free burial in his or her city of residence that is paid for by the National Insurance Institute.

However, if someone wants to reserve a plot in advance, or wants to buy a plot next to a deceased spouse, it costs money.

See ITIM info on Burial in Israel and Price List

Chareidim in the Israel Navy September 2, 2008

After Nachal Chareidi, and chareidim in the air force, it now appears chareidim will also be counted among the ranks of the Israel Navy.

A first group of 30 chareidi inductees is expected to enter into the navy in March 2009, joining the force’s technical team, to serve in a Haifa naval base.

The group will of course be placed in a situation that accommodates their lifestyle, including all male instructors, only male groups, glatt kosher meals, and a timetable permitting minyan three times daily.

Religion and State in Israel

September 8, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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