Religion and State in Israel – January 26, 2009

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Religion and State in Israel

January 26, 2009

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Jerusalem Post Editor Elliot Jager on the Orthodox Monopoly in Israel January 5, 2009

Click here for VIDEO interview (3 min.)

“The Orthodox Rabbinate has done an excellent job of pushing people away from Jewish tradition

 … because of an extraordinary hypocrisy, because of a certain level of corruption, because of an insensitivity to people who want to become closer to the Jewish People; 

and so this establishment which initially served a useful purpose has now become not only superfluous, but counterproductive…”

Rabbinate stalls on protected hospital wing

By Yair Ettinger January 23, 2009

The conflict over moving ancient human remains discovered at the construction site of an Ashkelon hospital emergency room slated to be reinforced against rockets has been resurrected.

The renewed debate follows the apparent back-tracking of the Chief Rabbinate on its decision to allow the bones, discovered at Barzilai Medical Center, to be moved to another site. 

The Chief Rabbinate yesterday asked the Prime Minister’s Office for a two-week extension before officially announcing its decision, originally made last week, to allow the re-interment of the ancient bones.

A source in the Chief Rabbinate said the delay was needed to “obtain further clarifications,” however; the change seems due to internal ultra-Orthodox politics.

A halakhic (Jewish law) decision published yesterday by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and two other ultra-Orthodox rabbis holding by Lithuanian standards stated that the bones should not be moved.

The decision contradicts an edict by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who two weeks ago published a decision permitting the moving of the graves.

Leading Poskim Rule against Disinterment to Allow Construction at Ashkelon Hospital

By Yechiel Sever January 22, 2009

Leading poskim including Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita issued a firm ruling against plans to carry out construction work at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon after Jewish graves were found at the building site.

In the ruling maranan verabonon shlita write that Halacha clearly forbids “disinterring a cluster of graves where the dead lie in a conventional position, even if the disinterment is done properly by G-d-fearing individuals performing the task according to Halacha.

“There is no basis to permit [disinterment] in order to save lives in a case where the life-saving benefit will come only after a substantial amount of time to those who need it then, and there is no life-saving for people currently in need. 

Mentioning the dispensation of pikuach nefesh in connection with future matters like these is a distortion that is in effect an act of uprooting the Torah.

“And based on what we were told — that there is a possibility to add onto the hospital on another side where there would be no harm to graves — the entire discussion is superfluous.”

Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger visited Barzilai Medical Center / January 2009

On January 1, 2009, Israel Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger accompanied by Ashkelon Deputy mayor Mr. Shimon Cohen visited Barzilai Medical Center.

They were hosted by Dr. Shimon Scharf CEO and Medical Director of Barzilai Medical Center.

During the tour they praised the staff of the medical center for their courageous standing at such difficult times.

In addition they discussed with Dr. Scharf about the ways to solve the issue of the ancient graves that were found in the site designated for the new shielded hospital building.

They promised to determine a Halacha ruling that will enable the construction of the new shielded hospitalization building.

Rabbinical Court casts doubt on conversion of son of famed Jewish theologian

By Matthew Wagner January 19, 2009

The son of the late Jewish theologian and Holocaust survivor Emil Fackenheim plans to fight a decision by a Jerusalem Rabbinical Court Judge to retroactively annul his conversion of 27 years.

In August of 2008, Yossi Fackenheim, who was converted to Judaism at the age of two by an Orthodox Rabbinical Court in Toronto, had his conversion revoked by Rabbi Yissachar Dov Hagar, a judge on Jerusalem’s Rabbinical Court.

Hagar’s decision was made during divorce proceedings between Yossi and his former wife Iris, who were married as Jews in Jerusalem by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in 2001.

The two came before Hagar to finalize their divorce. But in the midst of the divorce proceedings Hagar told Yossi that there was no need for a get (divorce writ) since Yossi was not Jewish as his mother was not Jewish at the time of his birth. She later converted to Judaism.

…He said he was deliberating between appealing to the High Rabbinic Court and filing a petition with the Supreme Court.

How to convert a crisis: Say ‘dayenu

By Rabbi Shammai Engelmayer Opinion January 23, 2009

Shammai Engelmayer is rabbi of the Conservative synagogue Temple Israel Community Center in Cliffside Park and an instructor in the UJA-Federation-sponsored Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of the Hebrew University. He is the editor of Judaism: A Journal of Jewish Life and Thought.

For years, non-Orthodox religious authorities and secular Israelis have complained about the “tyranny of the minority,” by which they meant the control over their lives that is exercised by the haredi wing of the Israeli Orthodox rabbinate. 

Now, even the Orthodox are experiencing that tyranny — and lives are being ruined.

It is time for the tyranny to end. It is time to take back the Torah from its “false and misguided interpreters” who have “perverted and hijacked” it, as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin put it last Shavuot, referring to the haredi judges who run Israel’s rabbinical courts.

It is time. The only thing lacking, it seems, is the will.

Reform movement challenges legality of kosher flights

By Kobi Nahshoni January 23, 2009

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which represents the Reform stream of Judaism in the country, has asked the Transportation Ministry and El Al Airlines to look into the legality of the airline’s intention to launch exclusive flights for the haredi public.

According to the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), IMPJ’s legal branch, the move represents “an illegitimate policy that violates Israeli law.”

In a letter to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and El Al CEO Haim Romano, IRAC Attorney Orly Erez-Likhovski wrote that “flights that institute separation between men and women should not be approved offhandedly.”

Shas MK Yishai on IDF: “Praying Saves Lives”

By Ronen Medzini January 21, 2009

Commenting on the issue of yeshiva students’ draft into the army, Yishai claimed that contrary to common opinion, the enlistment rate among the religious-haredi public is constantly on the rise, while it continues to drop in the secular sector.

“This stereotype that haredim don’t serve in the army and contribute is false, and always was,” he stated and explained that many haredim join the army for partial or full service or do civil service instead.

He also noted that praying also works to save lives. 

“Reciting psalms, studying Torah and praying for the wellbeing of IDF soldiers and the civilians in the home front are a great and helpful thing. There’s no argument here,” he stated.

IDF rabbinate disseminated [controversial material] during Gaza war

By Amos Harel January 26, 2009

The Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din has called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to immediately remove Rabbi Ronzki from his post as IDF Chief Rabbi.

An overview of some of the army rabbinate’s publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians. 

Other material was provided by officers and men who received it during Operation Cast Lead.

Following are quotations from this material: 

“[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it.”

This is an excerpt from a publication entitled “Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead,” issued by the IDF Rabbinate.

The text is from “Books of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner,” who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. 

Shas MK wants 1-year army exemption for newlyweds

By Kobi Nahshoni January 22, 2009

Knesset Member Rabbi Chaim Amsalem (Shas) decided last week to revive his bill proposal calling for men in their first year of marriage to be exempt from military service.

The matter resurfaced following the incident in which Second Lieutenant Aharon Karov from Karnei Shomron returned to battle in Gaza just hours after his wedding and was severely injured.

MK Amsalem said he would propose the bill in the next Knesset.

The bill is based on the Halachic law which states that any newlywed should be exempt from carrying a military burden for the first year of marriage.

According to Deuteronomy 24:5,

“If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”

Rabbinical judges get tough on men who refuse divorces

By Yair Ettinger January 26, 2009

A panel of judges on the Rabbinical Court of Appeals has urged the government to legislate stiffer penalties for men who refuse to grant their wives a divorce – including the biblical penalty of whipping.

The recommendation was part of a ruling issued by the panel last September. “Whipping is not practiced in democratic countries (but perhaps this should be reconsidered with regard to granting a bill of divorce),” the ruling said.

Rabbinical courts are already authorized to impose various sanctions on men who refuse to divorce their wives, up to and including imprisonment. In practice, however, they rarely do.

From Jerusalem to Jakarta: A globalized ‘get’

By Matthew Wagner January 22, 2009

the four men had gathered at the Jakarta Ritz from across the globe for a different purpose altogether. They were there to perform a mitzva – to help free an aguna, a “chained” woman.

Thirteen years earlier, the Brazilian man had suddenly abandoned a wife and two children living in Britain. According to Jewish law, his wife could not remarry until she received a get (writ of divorce).

Now, thanks to Rabbi Shaul Farber, head of an organization called ITIM, which helps Jews navigate Israel’s complex rabbinical bureaucracy, the Brazilian was about to sign apower of attorney allowing his wife to start a new life.

Divorces in Israel surpass 10,000 a year for first time

By Matthew Wagner January 25, 2009

The figures were released Sunday by the Rabbinical Court Administration.

According to Jewish law, both husband and wife must give consent to divorce. However, the law is more stringent regarding the wife, who cannot remarry under any circumstances until her husband give a get [divorce writ].

In Israel there is no separation between religion and state and all Jews get married in accordance with Halacha, although civil marriages from abroad are recognized.

The rabbinical courts are empowered by law to impose sanctions to coerce one of the sides, usually the husband, to give a get. 

These sanctions include blocking exit from the country, freezing bank accounts, preventing appointments in state institutions, halting welfare payments and suspending drivers’ licenses.

The courts also can enlist the help of private investigators and can send representatives abroad to track down intransigent husbands who refuse to grant their wives a divorce.

Kadima adopts ‘large part’ of rabbinical group’s Jewish values program

By Matthew Wagner January 25, 2009

Kadima adopted “a large part” of a rabbinical group’s program for ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel, according to a Kadima press release.

In a meeting Sunday between Tzohar, a group of liberal-minded religious Zionist rabbis and Kadima chair Tzipi Livni, it was agreed that a Public Council for Jewish Consciousness would be created by the new government coalition.

Livni was joined by MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) who discussed a program for the deepening of Jewish values in Israel including the conversion process, education and streamlining the registration process for marriages.

During the meeting the rabbis expressed their opposition to legislation that would enable civil marriage.

Netanyahu woos national religious sector

By Kobi Nahshoni January 26, 2009

The Likud is wooing the religious Zionist sector: Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Member Effie Eitam, who heads the Religious Zionist party Achi, signed an internal memorandum solidifying the relationship between the two parties; and stating that the Likud now sees Achi as a full-fledged political partner.

UTJ Seeking to Organize Ahead of Election

By Yechiel Spira January 25, 2009

Seeking to exhibit an air of confidence, Yahadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) is moving ahead with its election campaign for the February 10th general elections for the 18th Knesset.

Advertisements are seen Hamodia on Sunday, as well as elsewhere, with UTJ moving ahead seeking to persuade voters they are “compelled” to vote UTJ “for their future, as well as the future of their families”.

“Do it for the cheder for your grandchild, your mehadrin bus line, the mikve, the apartment for your family members” and so forth.

Two Top Rabbis Bless National Union

By Hillel Fendel January 21, 2009

The National Union has received two ringing rabbinical endorsements over the past two days – from Rabbis Mordechai Eliyahu and David Abuhatzeira.

Jerusalem Mayor Barkat Visits Maran Elyashiv Shlita

By Yechiel Spira January 25, 2009

Maran Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv Shlita commended the mayor on his selection of advisors, and the mayor reemphasized his commitment to the ‘status quo’ regarding religious issues, promising to exhibit an attentive ear regarding the needs of the citizens, including the chareidi community.

Maran Rav Ovadia Thanks Olmert for Assisting Yeshivas

By Yechiel Spira January 25, 2009

In his motzei Shabbos drasha, Chacham Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlita expressed words of gratitude to outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for his support of the chareidi community and its institutions.

“I personally spoke with Olmert who assisted our yeshivas. He never said no and sent NIS millions for our yeshivas and talmidei torah,” stated the Rav.

Veteran ultra-Orthodox MK Avraham Ravitz dies aged 75

By Yair Ettinger January 26, 2009

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday eulogized Degel Hatorah Chairman Avraham Ravitz, calling him a wise and practical figure who merged Jewish tradition with public life.

Ravitz, who died on Monday at age 75, was laid to rest in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. Thousands of people attended the funeral.

The veteran MK was one of the most dominant representatives and sharpest speakers of the Haredi community. 

Study: Half of J’lem haredi within 10 years

By Etgar Lefkovits January 21, 2009

A new study forecasts that haredim will make up half of the population of Jerusalem in 20 years, “endangering” the pluralistic makeup of the capital.

The study, which will be published later this week by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, finds that haredim will make up 44 percent of the city’s population in a decade and, if the demographic trends continue, over half of the city’s residents by 2030, according to a press release put out earlier in the week by the research center.

…Earlier studies have estimated that the haredi population in the city will stand at 34% in a decade, a spokesman for the Jerusalem think-tank said.

Haredim currently make up about one-third of the city’s 500,000 Jewish residents.

Shas MK Yishai: Gay parade should be banned completely

By Ronen Medzini January 21, 2009

Ahead of the upcoming elections, Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said that one of his party’s main goals in the next Knesset would be to promote a bill banning the gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

“Even if a person maintains a certain lifestyle, he has no business marching and flaunting it, definitely not in Jerusalem where it hurts the feelings of so many,” Yishai told Ynet in an interview Wednesday.

“I have the signatures of over 70 Knesset members from across the political spectrum who oppose the ‘filth parade’ in Jerusalem.

“And let’s face it: It shouldn’t be held in any other place in the country as well,” he added.

Do away with the hatred

By Yaniv Weizman Opinion January 22, 2009

IDF Reserves Major Yaniv Weizman is a member of the Tel Aviv City Council and chairman of the Proud Youth organization

Eli Yishai – I turn to you with a personal and public request. Do not destroy what had been built with great effort. Do not add schisms and hatred to this nation.

As a combat officer in the IDF and reserves major who served as a platoon commander in the Nahal Brigade in Lebanon, and came out of the closet during his military service, I view your miserable declaration regarding the ability of homosexuals to serve in the army as not only hurtful, but also blatantly ignorant.

The IDF today is a hotbed of solidarity; a place where walls come down in the name of a sacred goal.

Women’s fertility conference without women

By Dr. Elana Sztokman Opinion January 23, 2009

“The conference showed reverence for doctors, rabbis and ‘important people’ – and there was not a single woman deemed worthy in any of those categories,” 

seethed Mavoi Satum Director of Advocacy Batya Kahana-Dror – rightfully so – in an article this week on the Kolech Hebrew website.

“Once again, the conference made an unequivocally patriarchal statement.”

The decision to exclude women was undoubtedly a bow to rabbinic power brokers, whose highest priority is always maintaining gender hierarchy.

…It gets worse. 

According to Rachel Koren, director of Kolech, women were excluded from asking questions as well. 

“Women were expected to remain behind their partition for questions,’” Koren fumed.

Consultants in the baby business

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich January 25, 2009

Puah Institute 9th Annual Conference on Women’s Health

Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Yaacov Ariel discussed the difficult halachic question about whether religious girls should be offered the vaccine that prevents cervical cancer. 

Holding a very graphic leaflet distributed in secular schools discussing how infection occurs through sexual relations, Ariel said such material – or even mentioning the subject – is inappropriate for this group. 

Although some girls raised in religious homes will have premarital sex, the vast majority will not, and should not be told about the vaccine until they are engaged, as the option would “harm their souls.”

Ponzi-type con man sued by Haredi clients

By Hila Raz January 20, 2009

Ilan Morgan, formerly known as Ilan Mika Arbel, is being sued for NIS 2.6 million by 21 ultra-Orthodox clients who allege they were ripped off by a Madoff-type scam.

Morgan was detained by the Israel Securities Authority last week for allegedly scamming millions of shekels from would-be investors through four companies he owes.

The clients had thought Morgan was a licensed investment manager and claim he promised them returns of 36% a year. He also reportedly told his clients that the investments were risk-free and promised to donate 10% of the investment firm’s profit to charity.

Actually he was apparently using money from fresh clients to repay earlier ones.

Bogus ‘Mehadrin’ Hechsher Takes Rabbinate to Court

By Yechiel Spira January 23, 2009

A number of weeks ago, HaRav Eliyahu Schlesinger Shlita, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood and the posek for the Jerusalem Rabbanut Kashrus Division took a major step and successfully removed Keter Kashrut signs from many stores in the downtown capital area. 

It was a first and major step towards removing the many unauthorized and downright bogus kashrus certificates that plague the capital.

Due to the work of kashrus inspectors of the Rabbinate Fraud Division, headed by Rafi Yochai, and the assistance of others including affidavits and testimony, the Chief Rabbinate is building its case in response to a Supreme Court case.

The head of the Keter Kashrut, Sami Mizrachi, has challenged Rabbi Schlesinger’s decision in the nation’s highest court, insisting he has a right to sell his supervision to stores.

Eight Charedi Men Arrested For Rioting Near Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s Grave January 20, 2009

The Tzfas police arrested eight Charedi men from Yerushalayim early Tuesday on suspicion of rioting near Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s Kever [Grave] in Meron.

Tzfas Police Superintendent Amos Shimoni said, “The worshippers came, broke windows and hurled item. The eight men were arrested, and an initial investigation revealed that they were rioting in protest of changes taking place on the site as part of the place’s regularization.

…Several months ago, there was a decision made to establish an administration which would supervise Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Kever, headed by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz.

Groups Ascend to Temple Mount to Pray for IDF Soldiers January 20, 2009

Large numbers of Jews continue to ascend the Temple Mount, as part of the Temple Institute’s “Tight Connection to the Heart” program…

On this day thirty members of the “Rinat Yisrael” Synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey ascended the Temple Mount in order to pray on behalf of IDF soldiers wounded in “Cast Lead” – the name of the war that has been waged these past three weeks in Gaza.

The group arrived in Israel with the expressed purpose of prayer in the place of the Holy Temple.

The worshippers were led by Rabbi Yosef Adler, and were escorted up to and around the Mount by Yehudah Glick, director of the Temple Institute…

Orthodox Institute Launches New Rabbi-Teacher Program

By Nathan Jeffay January 21, 2009

The Jerusalem-based Shalom Hartman Institute is gearing up to challenge the common understanding of the term “rabbi.”

Over the centuries, “rabbi” has come to denote a person qualified to make judgments in Jewish law. But the original connotation was meant to describe a teacher.

This Fall, the Orthodox-run but pluralistic institute will launch a program that gives ordination based on a candidate’s ability to teach, not on his authority to rule on Halacha. It will be a qualification demonstrating that the holder is well versed in Jewish texts, ethics and philosophy.

…It is not only in its redefinition of “rabbi” that the program, simply called Rabbi-Educator, will break new ground, but also in establishing who can become a rabbi: Its ordination, bestowed by Orthodox rabbis, will be offered to both men and women.

Co-director Hartman’s logic is, given that the ordination implies ability to teach and not to rule on Jewish law, there is no reason to exclude women.

‘Sociological differences explain division in Conservative Jewry’

By Matthew Wagner January 25, 2009

Disagreement between the Israeli and American wings of Conservative Judaism over same-sex commitment ceremonies, the ordination of homosexual rabbis and other halachic issues reflects, in part, deep sociological differences between the two countries, Rabbi David Golinkin, president of the capital’s Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, said on Thursday.

“I’d say there is no comparison whatsoever between there [the US] and here,” Golinkin said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

“It is like night and day. Israeli society is much more conservative on this issue [homosexuality] and many others. And if you speak to Israeli rabbinical students, almost all are opposed to any changes vis-à-vis homosexuality.”

Israeli Reform Congregation Receives Torah Honoring Fallen Soldier, Uri Grossman January 22, 2009

Kehilat Mevasseret Zion, an affiliate of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion, dedicated a new Torah scroll during a ceremony at Kabbalat Shabbat services on January 2, 2009.

The scroll was one of seven commissioned and donated by U.S. Jewish philanthropist, Ira Rennert, in memory of soldiers who fell in the fighting with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

One of the soldiers was Uri Grossman, son of the world-renowned author David Grossman. The Grossmans are members of Kehilat Mevasseret Zion, and Uri, who died trying to rescue fellow tank crewmen, attended services as much as he could, even during his precious few hours away from the army.

David Grossman and his wife, Michal, were given the Torah at the Netiv Aryeh Yeshiva in Jerusalem’s Old City late last year when a total of 12 scrolls donated by Rennert were ceremoniously completed by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Aharon Bina, head of the yeshiva, and others.

Among the honored guests at the ceremony was Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as well as Rabbi Maya Leibovich, spiritual leader of Kehilat Mevasseret Zion.

Gov’t approves ‘Birthright for Jewish teachers’ program

By Haviv Rettig Gur January 26, 2009

A program to bring Diaspora teachers and community leaders on a subsidized educational trip to Israel has gained government approval for the first time.

At Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting, the ministers approved a pilot program of Netivey Masa, or Masa Pathways, a joint government-Jewish Agency project that is intended to finance a majority of the expense for such trips.

Dubbed the “teachers’ birthright,” the idea came to the government’s attention through the Massachusetts-based Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, which disappeared when its assets were wiped out in the Robert Madoff scandal.

U.S. businessman gives $8 million to Nefesh b’Nefesh

By Raphael Ahren January 26, 2009

An American businessman and philanthropist has recently donated $8 million to Nefesh B’Nefesh, the organization announced yesterday.

Guma L. Aguiar, who joined the Nefesh B’Nefesh board this June, made the gift to support the organization’s work in helping Western Jews immigrate to Israel and integrate into Israeli society.

The money, which was donated in several installments during the second half of 2008, is “being used to help meet the needs of thousands of recent newcomers,” Nefesh B’Nefesh explained in a statement.

Lost & found

By Amir Mizroch, JPost correspondent in North East India January 21, 2009

…In Jerusalem, the Interior Ministry’s policy, under Minister Meir Sheetrit, is not to approve their mass aliya, but to continue bringing a small number here every year for conversion.

Sheetrit believes the Bnei Menashe and the many other peoples across the globe that claim ancestry from the 10 Lost Tribes, are not Jewish and have no business immigrating to Israel.

…Bnei Menashe do not arrive in Israel under the Law of Return, but on tourist visas, and are not entitled to immigrant benefits and cannot bring the contents of their households with them.

…according to Freund’s thinking, the longer the government doesn’t allow the 7,232 Judaism practicing Bnei Menashe to make aliya, the higher the chances that one day the Interior Ministry will be facing immigration requests from a vastly larger number of people.

New Israeli tourism initiative calls on Christian pilgrims to pedal the Nazareth – Jerusalem route

By Irit Rosenblum January 22, 2009

Monsignor Liberio Andreatta, head of the Vatican’s pilgrimage organization, last week called upon the faithful to visit the Holy Land and build bridges of dialogue and peace.

This May, the Pope himself is scheduled to visit Israel, an event to which the local Tourism Ministry ascribes great importance. 

The last visit by a Pope in 2000 served as a catalyst for revival of the Israeli tourist industry, which had been beleaguered following the second intifada. 

The Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and El Al inaugurated a new sightseeing route aimed at younger pilgrims – a bike trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem. 

The route will include visits to holy sites combined with the experience of a bike trip. 

Religion and State in Israel

January 26, 2009

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

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