Religion and State in Israel – July 27, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

July 27, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

‘FBI sting was a case of anti-Semitism’

By Matthew Wagner July 27, 2009

Anti-Semitism was behind the highly publicized arrests last week of rabbis, including three from the Aleppo-Syrian Jewish community in New York and New Jersey, according to Yitzhak Kakun, editor-in-chief of the Shas weekly Yom Le’Yom.

Meanwhile, Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev said US police authorities had deliberately created the false impression that members of the Aleppo community were somehow connected with organ trafficking and extortion, when in reality their only crime was money-laundering.

Members of the Aleppo Jewish community who were arrested on suspicion of money laundering are Eliyahu Ben-Haim, rabbi of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal, New Jersey; Edmond Nahum of the Deal Synagogue; and Saul Kassin of Shaarei Zion Synagogue in Brooklyn.

Ben-Haim is known to have ties to Yehaveh Da’at, a Torah institution headed by Rabbi David Yosef, the son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Members of the Aleppo community contributed to the construction of its large building, located near the elder Yosef’s home in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood.

When righteous stumble Editorial July 26, 2009

…were ultra-Orthodoxy a brand, one might argue that the “franchise” has taken a public-relations hit over the years.

Fair or not, the stock of the entire ultra-Orthodox world declines when outwardly pious Jews turn out to be slumlords, child-molesters or wife-abusers, proprietors of nursing homes that neglect their residents, dealers in human organs, money-launderers, or those who have no compunction about hurling bricks through the windshields of cars on Shabbat.

Report: Aryeh Deri sought funds from community involved in money laundering

By Yaniv Halily July 26, 2009

Sources from the Syrian-Jewish community in New York say Aryeh Deri visited them in May in order to request donations for a new political party, which he defined as a “social, haredi-secular party whose members are key Israeli personalities”.

The American Syrian-Jewish community has donated funds in the past to a number of haredi institutions, especially those owned by Shas and the family of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the party’s spiritual leader.

Sephardic yeshivas in Israel may lose big from New Jersey scandal

By Zvi Zrahiya July 27, 2009

The exposure of the money laundering affair in New Jersey, which allegedly used Israeli yeshivas as part of the scheme, will lead to a drop in contributions to Sephardic religious institutions here, including those affiliated with the Shas party.

Rabbi Eliahu Ben Haim, who is considered very close to Rabbi David Yosef, one of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s sons. Ben Haim is also active in the Ovadia family’s Yechave Daat organization. Rabbi David Yosef is the head of the Yechave Daat Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Ben Haim has been involved in raising funds from rich Syrian-Jewish families in the U.S. for various Shas institutions, and most of these donations are expected to stop – at least for now.

Another person arrested in the affair is Rabbi Edmund Nahum, who is considered very close to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef himself. Nahum was also involved in raising funds for the Yosef family institutions.

Court: Some money-laundering cash may be from Israel

By E.B. Solomont July 26, 2009

At least some of the millions of dollars allegedly laundered by five of the rabbis arrested last week in the US came from Israeli sources, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

According to court documents obtained by the Post, one of the rabbis detained, Eliahu Ben-Haim, used a source in Israel to supply money through “cash houses” in exchange for a 1.5 percent fee.

Unorthodox Coverage

By Ruthie Blum Leibowitz July 25, 2009 Opinion

Still, the knee-jerk presentation of the haredim as hypocrites at best, and evil at worst, should be cause for pause.

That such pause came this week from Yediot Aharonot‘s prime political pundit, Nahum Barnea, is as surprising as it is refreshing.

Haredi rabbis must speak out

By Akiva Eldar Opinion July 27, 2009

Is there not one leader on the council [of Torah sages] that would dare condemn the goons terrorizing social workers?

The silence of the Torah scholars amounts to an agreement that pinning yellow stars to children’s clothes and calling a Jewish doctor “Mengele” is acceptable.

…We’ve learned over the years that although the ultra-Orthodox have no democracy or equality, they do have leadership and morals. It now appears that the leadership is dying out, while personal and tribal interests trump moral guidelines.

Hadassah Hospital officials harassed

By Etgar Lefkovits July 28, 2009

Anonymous callers are continuing to harass the families of senior Hadassah Hospital officials in the case of the three-year-old Jerusalem boy who doctors believe was nearly starved to death by his mother, according to a tape recording of the latest call released Monday.

The caller, who has phoned the Hadassah family member’s residence for four straight nights, went on to justify comparisons between Hadassah officials and the infamous Nazi known as Dr. Mengele who performed medical experiments on inmates.

Ultra-Orthodox children bused to demonstration in front of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem Deputy Director Dr. Yair Birnbaum’s home July 22, 2009




Initiative: Special hospital for haredim

By Nissan Shtrauchler July 23, 2009

The anti-Zionist Satmar Hasidic stream is considering buying the Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem and turning it into a medical center that will cater mainly to the ultra-Orthodox public, the Haredim website reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Satmar officials met in the United States at the beginning of the week to discuss the initiative.

Should the rift between Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center and the haredi public continue, said the report, a group of 25 businessmen is prepared to make a bid on the hospital.

Ultra-Orthodox children bused to demonstration in front of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem Deputy Director Dr. Yair Birnbaum’s home July 22, 2009

“Enough! Enough of their Viciousness!

Hadassah Hospital Takes Advantage of a Haredi Mother’s Innocence to do Terrible Experiments on Her Child

What Mengele did in Europe the Zionist Doctors are Doing in Eretz Yisroel”

Behind the burning trash bins

By Yair Sheleg July 27, 2009 Opinion

It seems that underneath it all we are observing yet another phase of ultra-Orthodox integration into Israeli society.

…now is the time to offer a new kind of relationship between secular Israel society and mainstream ultra-Orthodox society, one based on mutual respect.

The ultra-Orthodox would respect secular (and religious Zionist) wishes and join the national effort in military service, the labor market and core studies, while secular people would respect the ultra-Orthodox community’s desire to adhere to its religious concepts in the new frameworks to be formed.

…The secular public must remember that concessions to the ultra-Orthodox are precisely what allows them to breed contempt for the secular majority.

After all, only a spineless community would sell its essential values (such as sharing the military and national-service burden and education for all) for political survival.

How to Promote Baseless Hatred

By Rabbi Shafran Opinion July 24, 2009

Rabbi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America.

The recent rioters in Jerusalem may well have believed their hatred to have had ample basis.

But, whatever their rationalizations, their actions evoked disgust in Jews the world over, some of whom, tragically, will generalize from the rioters’ bad example and bear ill will toward haredim as a group.

And so, even if the violent protesters believe that they are innocent of baseless hatred, they should be made to confront the fact that they are deeply guilty of promoting it.

‘Starving mother’ undergoes psychiatric evaluation

Jerusalem hospital mulls releasing boy allegedly starved by Haredi mother

Judge demands abuse suspect report for psychiatric tests or be rearrested

Hadassah asks to move child to avoid boycott by Haredim

Haredim ‘bluff’ a boycott of Hadassah

A Haredi consensus?

By Jonathan Rosenblum July 23, 2009 Opinion

Those who make Torah Jews and Judaism appear as something ugly and violent guarantee that their fellow Jews who thirst for the word of God will seek it in foreign pastures.

…But the violent few do not represent the values of the Torah, or of the overwhelming majority of haredi Jews.

That is the only issue on which a haredi consensus exists.

Black is (also) beautiful

By Gideon Levy Opinion July 24, 2009

Abusive parents, whether they live in Geula or Ramat Aviv Gimmel, need to be dealt with; demonstrators who sometimes turn violent must be subject to the law, even if we feel sympathy for similar demonstrators in Iran or Thailand.

But we also need to be attentive to the waves of fury emanating from Mea Shearim these days.

We might also open the door to these people and try to understand what has made them so angry, instead of letting the mounted police trample them.

Rav Menachem Porush Shlita: Barkat Fails to Understand

By Yechiel Spira July 20, 2009

Following Monday’s historic kenos of Gedolei HaDor Shlita in Yerushalayim, Rav Menachem Porush Shlita spoke with Kol Chai Radio.

When asked about the decision of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat regarding the shabbos operation of the Karta parking lot,

Rav Porush stated “he simply does not understand Yerushalayim, the kedusha of the city, that it is a chareidi city.”

Rav Porush added that he sent a letter to the mayor expressing his pain over the chilul shabbos decision, adding that “if he does not understand this, he will be off the stage,” meaning his days in office are indeed numbered.

The end of the Third Temple

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion July 28, 2009

…the increasing rupture between the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel will be the end of us. This is a Greek tragedy with a foregone conclusion.

It’s a struggle between two contradictory worldviews that cannot exist side by side.

A struggle between the democratic worldview, which stands for individual privacy, humanism, equality and the value of work, on the one hand, and the ultra-Orthodox way of life, which requires every Jew to live according to religious law and despise the secular state, its laws and values, on the other.

Jerusalem yeshiva student convicted of running over woman

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Supreme Court convicts yeshiva student who ran over parking lot attendant

By Tomer Zarchin July 23, 2009

The Jerusalem Supreme Court on Thursday convicted a yeshiva student who was previously acquitted of attempting to run over a parking lot attendant of Ethiopian descent.

Itamar Biton had confessed to ramming his car into Noga Zoraish last year, yet the Jerusalem District Court judge who oversaw his case, Moshe Drori, elected to acquit him so as not to harm his chances of being named to the bench of the rabbinate’s court.

Driver in hit-and-run is son of Hadera Chief Rabbi

By Tomer Zarchin and Fadi Eyadat July 23, 2009

Rabbi Shimon Biton has served as the chief rabbi of Hadera for more than 30 years. The rabbi is considered Shas’ most important figure in the city and is sometimes called the Rabbi Ovadia Yosef of Hadera.

“Shas ministers who visit Hadera first come to see him,” said one local politician; Emanuel Biton, another of the rabbi’s sons, was elected to the city council in the last elections on the Shas slate.

“He is considered a [Torah] genius,” said a local official. “He is an admired figure, mediates disputes, helps families in need and is considered a giant in Torah learning,” he added.

The rabbi also runs a yeshiva in the Givat Olga neighborhood of the city.

Haredim approve new group to run education network, in slap to Gur Hasids

By Yair Ettinger July 22, 2009

Leaders of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community approved the establishment of a new association to run the independent Haredi education system, at a Jerusalem meeting yesterday. The new association would replace the current one, established by the Gur Hasidic sect decades ago.

…the conference may signify a new split in Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodoxy. It was a resounding slap in the face of the Gur Hasids, the largest Hasidic group in Israel.

Fischer to ultra-Orthodox: Get jobs to fight poverty

By Moti Bassok July 22, 2009

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer called on ultra-Orthodox leaders to increase employment rates among both men and women in order to address the widespread poverty within this community

In 2008, 60% of Haredim were living under the poverty line, and this number has been increasing, Fischer said.

The Haredi community contains an enormous cache of human resources. If put to work, this could serve as an additional economic growth engine while decreasing poverty rates, Fischer said.

Rogue modesty patrols target Netivot merchants sparking tension

By Yanir Yagna July 23 ,2009

Ultra-Orthodox modesty patrols in Netivot are threatening local business with boycotts unless they conform to strict religious standards. The group’s actions are stoking religious tensions in the normally calm southern town and police opened a criminal investigation into the matter Tuesday following a Haaretz Hebrew edition report.

“The guy came into my store and saw one of my female workers wearing a small shirt,” said the owner of a shoe store, “it wasn’t a tank top, just a small shirt. But he started shouting that if the worker did not dress appropriately, he would cause financial damage…”

Under Attack

By Peggy Cidor July 23, 2009

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, founder of ZAKA and a former active member of the Eda Haredit:

“Years of dialogue and quiet understanding between the Eda Haredit and the police have been destroyed in minutes…”

“There is no doubt that these incidents will leave a deep impact on all of us,” says Meshi-Zahav. “People should always be careful to understand the sensitivities of others. That was not the case, for sure.

As for the haredi members of the city council who are part of Barkat’s coalition, they are in trouble with our community. Nobody trusts them anymore. The least I can say is that they have not contributed or helped in any way. On the contrary.”

On riots, baby starving, and ways of Torah

By Rabbi Andrew Sacks Opinion July 20, 2009

The writer is the Director of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in Israel.

…the rabbis of these communities (not all of them, of course) while paying lip-service to the desire for a peaceful resolution to outstanding issues that trouble them, are not out on the streets demanding restraint on the part of their followers.

They do not turn the scofflaws over to the authorities. Quite the opposite, PR specialists are hired to defend and justify the actions of this wayward mob.

Belz Hasidim limit wedding spending

By Kobi Nahshoni July 24 ,2009

A special committee set up by the Belz Hasidic stream recently issued a special protocol limiting wedding spending among the community members, in a bid to ease the financial burden on couples’ parents.

J’lem: University withdraws tender that increased religious tensions

By Ronen Medzini July 27, 2009

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem cancelled a tender for the purchase of two of its buildings that currently serve as student dorms on Stern Street. The buildings have recently been at the center of a struggle between the ultra-Orthodox and secular residents over the neighborhood’s character.

…Meanwhile, the decision left the ultra-Orthodox residents enraged, and attorney Eklana Holzer, who represents the haredim of Kiryat Yovel told Ynet, “The Hebrew University is influenced by the current media frenzy regarding the religious and ultra-Orthodox communities in the city of Jerusalem.

A look at the growing population inside the West Bank’s ultra-Orthodox settlements of Modiin Illit and Beitar Illit

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Produced by Jaron Gilinsky July 26, 2009

In West Bank Settlements, Sign of Hope for a Deal

By Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner July 26, 2009

Modiin Illit and its sister community, Beitar Illit, are entirely ultra-Orthodox, a world apart, one of strict religious observance and study. They offer surprising potential for compromise.

…Without most Israelis noticing, Modiin Illit and Beitar Illit have turned into the Haredi towns of the future, cleaner and saner versions of their often decrepit and densely packed neighborhoods elsewhere.

They contain open space, even some greenery, and apartments with lots of bedrooms. Their young are shielded from secular Israel, and secular Israelis never see them, thereby reducing the tensions found in Jerusalem over driving on the Sabbath and sexy advertising at bus stops.

Hareidi Schools May Get Funding Boost

By Maayana Miskin July 21, 2009

The Knesset voted to approve the “Gafni Law” in a first vote on Monday. The law would provide additional municipal funding for private hareidi-religious schools.

The law received initial approval several days ago, but has been changed since. The proposal now would see municipalities providing services worth money, not cash, to boost the hareidi-religious school system.

51% of seculars don’t want Haredi neighbor July 21, 2009

When asked who they would least like to have as a neighbor – a haredi, secular, national-religious, or conservative/reformist Jew – 41% were impartial, 36% said they would not like to have a haredi neighbor, 12% answered conservative/reformist, 8% didn’t want a secular neighbor, and 3% answered national-religious.

The most tolerant sector to participate in the poll was that of traditional Jews, of which 58% were impartial. In contrast, 73% of ultra-Orthodox participants said they did not want a neighbor who was not an Orthodox Jew.

Haredi participants were also opposed to reform marriage, and 88% said they would boycott such an occasion. Of the seculars polled, 94% said they would attend the wedding, and 67% of traditional Jews concurred.

Will biometric database compromise modesty?

By Kobi Nahshoni July 27, 2009

The biometric database finds another adversary: New opposition to the biometric database bill had formed recently, this time from religious elements.

Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) asked the Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee to review the proposed requirements in order to prevent a situation in which observant women would be obligated to remove their [head covering], which is forbidden according to the Halacha, in order to be scanned into the system.

OU denies endorsing controversial booklet

By Raphael Ahren July 23, 2009

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America regrets its involvement in the publication of a booklet distributed to Israeli soldiers implying that the Vatican organizes tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members, in order to teach them how to kill Jews, the New York-based group said in a statement.

Saying the endorsement of the pamphlet was unauthorized, the organization “disavow[ed] any connection to the views expressed in it.”

‘US settlement policy contravenes Torah’

By Matthew Wagner July 21, 2009

In his first public declaration on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar called this week on American Jews to explain to the Obama administration the religious obligation of every Jew to live in every part of the Land of Israel.

…Oded Weiner, director-general of the Chief Rabbinate, who signed the letter along with Gold and other rabbis, sent it the Presidents’ Conference, the Orthodox Union, Young Israel and other Jewish organizations in the US.

Chief Rabbi of Haifa She’ar Yashuv Cohen said that preventing Jews from settling in the Land of Israel went against a long, illustrious history of famous rabbis settling here.

“Jews should be allowed to exercise their religious right to settle wherever they want in Israel,” Cohen said in an interview on Radio Kol Chai.

Veggies’ kashrut may be revoked for over-spraying

By Kobi Nahshoni July 21, 2009

The Chief Rabbinate is embarking on a new initiative to revoke kosher certificates from fruit and vegetable growers who overuse pesticides, according to a new effort pushed through by Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger.

“Such fruits truly endanger those who eat them. You cannot grant kashrut to poison,” he said.

Tnuva – A Deeper Look at Israel’s Largest Dairy

By Yechiel Spira July 28, 2009

This article intends to give an overview while addressing the practical application of buying Tnuva products.

500 Rabbis suing State for raises

By Haim Bior July 22, 2009

A group of 500 rabbis filed suit against the state and the Union of Local Authorities yesterday, demanding millions of shekels in raises for wage erosion over 2002-2004 and 2006-2008.

The rabbis, who belong to Histadrut labor federation, have asked the National Labor court to order the state and the ULA to pay compensation for withholding wages, along with interest and linkage to the consumer price index.

The group claims the treasury has not kept the collective bargaining agreement signed with the Histadrut in 1988, which requires evaluating every two years whether their salaries have eroded versus certain other groups of public employees.

PM delays discussion on Temple Mount project

By Roni Sofer July 23, 2009

On the backdrop of protests from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Waqf, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently postponed a decisive discussion aimed at setting a date for beginning the construction of the new Mugrabi Gate on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Ynet has learned.

Religion and State in Israel

July 27, 2009 (Section 2) (continued from Section 1)

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please 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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