Religion and State in Israel – May 18, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

May 18, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

Click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

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

Ramat Aviv gears up for unholy battle between residents

By Miriam Bulwar David-Hay May 17, 2009

Residents of upmarket Ramat Aviv are gearing up for a fight against what they say is an attempted haredi “takeover” of their neighborhood, reports 

About 100 residents met last week to protest, and say that one of the ways they will fight haredi activities to encourage greater religious practice is by trying to entice them into the secular world.

According to the report, Ramat Aviv’s residents have been angered by the opening of several haredi institutions in the neighborhood recently, including a kollel (Torah study center) and kindergartens, as well as by activities to increase religious practice among the general population.

“The takeover by the haredim is targeted, systematic and comes by direct instruction,” a spokesman said at the meeting. 

“For every person they bring into religious practice (hazara betshuva) they get $500. They have nothing in their minds except to create a state ruled by Halacha (Jewish law).”

The battle for democracy

By The Ramat Aviv Action Committee Opinion May 14, 2009

So to set the record straight, the neighborhood in question is not the upscale Ramat Aviv Gimmel (not that they should be stigmatized either.) 

It is a neighborhood of small apartments populated by middle class resident. You will not find jeeps, Filipino nannies, or luxurious penthouses here.

Ramat Aviv faces the advanced phases of a planned and deliberate takeover by the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement. Only a blind person would fail to see that. Many apartments are being rented on the orders of rabbis, Orthodox families move in, post a “Chabad House” sign on their door…

Anti-Semitism is rearing its head in Tel Aviv

By Gideon Levy Opinion May 14, 2009

One is not compelled to love them, identify with their odd leaders or admire the political power of their wheeler-dealers. 

One is compelled to oppose their violence when it occurs, but also to accept them as they are, as long as they obey the law. 

Campaign of hatred

By Yael Mishali Opinion May 13, 2009

So what can secular Jews who wish, just like religious and Orthodox communities and neighborhoods, to live their lives alongside people who are similar to them, without confrontations, disagreements, or fears of slippery slopes? 

How can they protect their tranquility and lifestyle without using some kind of anti-Semitic or racist propaganda?

Kindergarten Parents Call Parade “Religious Coercion” Source: May 18, 2009

Parents of children at the city-run Elroy kindergarten in Katamon, Jerusalem, complained about a substitute teacher who allowed Chabad volunteers to distribute flyers about last week’s Lag B’Omer parade.

The flyers advertised a fun event with prizes and stated that the children would recite the Twelve Pesukim.

The incident occurred on the Friday before the parade when Chabad volunteers walked into the kindergarten undisturbed and handed out flyers to the children in front of the substitute teacher.

The flyer advertised a program for Lag B’Omer that included a circus, a juggler, a lottery offering big prizes, and a gift for each participant. 

It stated that all the children needed to do was recite the Twelve Pesukim. “Yechi” appeared at the bottom of the flyer.

When the Chabad volunteers asked the substitute teacher to explain what was written on the flyer, she did so. The children brought the flyers home to their parents, many of whom have since complained about the incident.

Kashrut Supervisor Suspended over Mannequins May 15, 2009

(photo not connected to article)

The kashrut supervisor of Tiberias’s religious council has been suspended over his demand Wednesday that scantily-clad mannequins and immodest pictures be removed from clothing stores in the city.

In demanding Rabbi Cohen’s suspension, Mayor Zohar Oved said on Thursday that Tiberias was as an international tourist site, where tourism areas operate right next to areas of a more religious nature, and he was not going to let the rabbi disrupt the “unique balance between the different sectors in the city”.

Rabbi protests against scantily clad mannequins May 13, 2009

Rabbi Rafael Cohen, chief of the northern city’s kosher division, said the stores would face the wrath of the religious community and lose their kosher certification if they failed to comply, according to the Ma’ariv daily on Wednesday.

Cohen said the mannequins and “obscene photographs” showing models in swimsuits or underwear “elicit sorrow among the passers-by on the road.”

He has threatened to publish a list of stores that continue such displays, saying “residents of Tiberias should not set foot in stores of that kind, and that will cause them irreversible damage.”

“Modest” mannequins, he said, are all right. “But there are mannequins that are really revolting, mannequins in bathing suits that damage our souls.”

IDF Looking for Chareidim for Intelligence Units May 19, 2009

About 30 new chareidi recruits are undergoing the appropriate training after which they will become part of the IDF’s intelligence community, primarily serving in the computer and technology aspect of the operation.

IDF officials explain the demands of the job are in line with one wishing to maintain a chareidi lifestyle, including an all male work environment.

The “Bina Yeruka” program also include three minyanim daily, mehadrin food, and members of the military Rabbinate oversee the program to ensure it complies with the religious needs of soldiers.

‘The Head of the Rabbinate is a Field Commander’

By Gil Ronen May 12, 2009

Col. Yonatan Berensky carries out an unlikely combination of two very different jobs in the IDF. Job number one is Commander of the reserve Negev Regiment. Job number two is Head of Staff of the Military Rabbinate.

Israeli Army Frowns on Beards

By Stanley Siegelman May 14, 2009

In Israel, they’ve long adhered

To admiration of the beard.

The army chieftains now declare

Their opposition to such hair.

On beards they have declared a war,

Result: furor, uproar galore!

A soldier yearning for a growth

Must get permission, swear an oath

That as an Orthodox recruit

He is obliged to be hirsute.

(click above for complete poem)

Liberation from lust

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich May 18, 2009

The recent item in a Jerusalem Hebrew weekly that a downtown Internet café had opened a whole floor for young haredi men offering private booths for viewing pornographic videos was a titillating item for the average reader.

The free English-language project, called Guard Your Eyes and , has already helped thousands.

The site with the .com ending provided information such as how to filter out pornographic Web sites and Frequently Asked Questions, but the newer site is more dynamic and includes blogs and new articles.

The Day That Satmar Became Mainstream

By Rabbi Dovid Landesman Opinion May 17, 2009

“We draw ourselves further and further into isolation – ostensibly because the external world has become more dangerous.

But is that the real reason? Or is it possible that we subconsciously realize that we are incapable of offering practical solutions to the inevitable dilemmas and challenges of self-government and therefore prefer to retreat into a ghetto and wait for mashiach.”

Most Vacation Spots Have No Eruv

By Yated Ne’eman Staff May 14, 2009

Many vacationers carry on Shabbos at hotels and other vacation spots that lack an eruv simply because they are unaware of the problem, revealed an investigative report published in Yated Ne’eman.

The problem is not just in places where kashrus and modesty standards are below par, but even at places of lodging that meet most of the expectations of the chareidi vacationer. 

Rabbonim involved in eruv matters say if guests insist on a kosher eruv the management can generally arrange for one with relatively little effort.

Yeshiva offers students life coaching

By Kobi Nahshoni May 17, 2009

Beginning next school year, students at the Orot Aviv yeshiva in Tel Aviv will be offered personal life coaching sessions to help them “better connect with their Torah studies.”

The lessons will be offered by the yeshiva’s rabbis, who are currently undergoing training.

5 arrested on suspicion of holding rabbi captive for 3 years

By Tova Dadon May 18, 2009

Five residents of the Tlamim community in southern Israel were arrested Monday on suspicion of kidnapping and extorting Rabbi Nir Ben-Artzi, head of the “Talmei Geula” non-profit organization.

The men are accused of holding the rabbi against his will in Tiberias for three years.

Secular Tel Aviv high school wins award for Jewish studies May 18, 2009

Tichon Hadash Tel Aviv, a high school in the Israeli secular school system with 1,200 students that is participating in the Shalom Hartman Institute Be’eri program of Jewish education enrichment has won an award for Jewish education from Tel Aviv University.

Israel needs time off

By Rabbi Daniel Landes and Sheryl Robbin Opinion May 13, 2009

Rabbi Daniel Landes is director of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Sheryl Robbin is a writer and social worker. They are married and live with their family in Jerusalem.

There is little downtime in this country. For the religious community, Friday is filled with preparations and Shabbat is for sacred commitments. Solitude on Shabbat means opting out of communal prayer.

…A public Israeli Rosh Hodesh, including the joy of God’s nature in His land, travel, music and a day off from work, is a relevant contemporary expansion of the day’s mix of spirit and relaxation.

The 11 Roshei Hodesh (Tishrei is of course Rosh Hashana) could be implemented in stages. Priority could be given to months far from official holidays such as Kislev or Shevat, or summer Tammuz, or in a given year a Rosh Hodesh falling on a Thursday or Sunday, producing the prized “long weekend.”

A million people in the national forests are telling us that nature and family are to be appreciated and enjoyed. We should listen and devise ways to make our private and national life less tense and more enjoyable.

Knesset aliya panel refuses to give up on absorption centers

By Abe Selig May 18, 2009

The Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs will prioritize the status of absorption centers throughout the country, despite funding hardships brought on by the global financial crisis, committee head Lea Shemtov (Israel Beiteinu) told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Bring Falash Mura here, Shas minister Margi urges

By Matthew Wagner and Etgar Lefkovits May 18, 2009

In a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Religious Affairs Minister Ya’acov Margi (Shas) called Sunday to bring to Israel the remaining Falash Mura still residing in Ethiopia.

“Sadly, the previous government decided to annul a previous decision regarding bringing the Falash Mura to Israel,” wrote Margi, who replaced Ya’acov Cohen as religious affairs minister in the incoming government. 

“I ask to reconsider that decision. The State of Israel belongs to the entire Jewish people. Every Jew in every place has a right to come to the Land of Israel and receive citizenship in accordance with the Law of Return.

Gov’t rejects proposal to stop checking Falash Mura for aliya

By Ruth Eglash May 14, 2009

The Interior Ministry will continue examining the eligibility for immigration of some 3,000 Falash Mura after the cabinet agreed Wednesday night to revise a section of the 2009 Economic Arrangements Bill aimed at canceling a previous decision on the matter because the Treasury believes the process to be too costly.

However, while the current government also added a specific timeline for the controversial community aliya from Ethiopia, advocates for Falash Mura immigration stopped short of calling the turnaround a victory because there are still thousands of people waiting anxiously in Gondar for permission to come to Israel.

‘Vatican to stop missionizing Jews’

By Abe Selig May 12, 2009

After meeting the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, and praying at the Western Wall on Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI arrived for a historic meeting with the chief rabbis at Heichal Shlomo, next to the capital’s Great Synagogue, and agreed that the Catholic Church will cease all missionary activity among Jews.

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman May 15, 2009 – Pope at Airport

“Should I tell him: ‘Last chance to apologize’?”

For Israel and Vatican, A Taxing Issue

By Michele Chabin May 13, 2009

But as the world media was focused on those high-profile issues, a less prominent, but no less thorny, issue is roiling relations between Israel and the Holy See: taxation. Millions of shekels are at stake, as is the position of the Catholic Church in Israel.

Whether or how much to tax property owned by the Catholic Church is the thornier of the two outstanding matters because it means a loss of tax revenues (millions of shekels) and second, because it could set a precedent for other denominations and religions, according to an official who requested anonymity. 

The painful path to contrition

By Lior Kodner May 14, 2009

The hope of resolving the dispute over Vatican property holdings in Israel before the visit was shattered. Despite a great effort, the agreement was not signed. 

Still, the Israeli side believes that 95 percent of the outstanding issues have been settled. According to Ronen Gil-Or, the director of the Foreign Ministry’s general law department, the agreement will be signed within a year at the most. 

Getting it wrong with the pope

By Isi Leibler Opinion May 17, 2009

Any discussion amongst Jews relating to the Catholic Church invariably triggers off emotional responses. But even taking this into account, the rage displayed by some Israelis against the conduct of Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Israel was unwarranted.

Jesus’ baptism site now open to public May 14, 2009

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Civil Administration are working to open the site believed to be the spot where Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River to the general public.

The baptism site on the banks of the Jordan River carries a unique significance in both Jewish and Christian tradition. Located some 10 km (6.2 miles) east of the city of Jericho, it spans an area of 329 (81 acres) of land owned by the Christian churches.

Religion and State in Israel

May 18, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

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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