Religion and State in Israel – November 16, 2009 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

November 16, 2009 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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.

Haredi Protest against Intel in Jerusalem

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Thousands of ultra-Orthodox protest against Intel’s Shabbat opening

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman November 15, 2009

“The ultra-Orthodox move to Hi-Tech” (Carta Parking Lot –>Intel)

By Nir Hasson and Yair Ettinger November 15, 2009

Between 1,500 and 2,000 ultra-Orthodox, according to police estimates, gathered yesterday outside the Jerusalem plant of computer chip manufacturer Intel to protest the factory’s opening on Saturdays.

Intel’s security guards used pepper spray against protesters who attempted to break into the company’s offices.

Some 200 protesters threw stones at journalists, pushed and cursed them. No journalists were injured.

Haredim protest against Intel in J’lem

By Abe Selig November 15, 2009

Demonstrators assailed Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism) upon his arrival, complaining that he had failed to prevent the desecration of the holy day.

Jerusalem mayor ‘supports Intel’s activities’

By Ronen Medzini November 15, 2009

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat:

“I am a staunch supporter of the status quo and co-existence in the capital.

Intel has been operating in Jerusalem for the past 24 years under the same format,” said the mayor, “I will continue working for the company’s success and expansion, and towards bringing additional high-tech companies to the capital.”

Intel places barbed wire fence ahead of haredi protest

By Ronen Medzini November 12, 2009

Jerusalem city councilman Ofer Berkovitch (Awakening in Jerusalem) claims that in order to develop business in Jerusalem, the factory must be allowed to open on the weekends.

“If the private sector wants to work on Shabbat, they must be allowed to do so. Jerusalem, as a city that has proclaimed the advancement of economy and employment, has to fulfill these needs in order to allow flourishing and encourage the establishment of more companies in the city,” said Berkovitch.

“Awakening (in Jerusalem) movement believes that the needs of the large religious public in Jerusalem must be respected, however in this case, the location of the factory allows out-of- town commute, and is not near a haredi neighborhood.

“We must continue to adhere to the notion that each person should live according to their own wishes,” he added.

Haredim demonstrate against Intel

By Matthew Wagner November 15, 2009

Intel has had a factory in Jerusalem since 1985. About a year and a half ago, the existing factory was dismantled and revamped. This Sunday, there will be an official launching ceremony, to be attended by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Fassberg.

Computer chips produced in Intel’s Kiryat Gat factory are brought to the capital for the last stage of production, including cutting and packaging.

Sources in Intel told The Jerusalem Post that stopping the production process could cause severe damage to productivity and endanger the business feasibility of Intel’s operations in both Jerusalem and Kiryat Gat.

Intel Israel employs approximately 6,500 people, in addition to thousands of contractors and service-providers indirectly employed by the hi-tech mammoth.

Intel Demonstration: Troublemakers Are the At-Risk Youths

By Yechiel Spira November 15, 2009

It appears the at-risk youths, the delinquents if you may, were there, seeking action, stirring up the scene, as they frequently do.

The head of the Vaad L’maan Shabbos, Rabbi Yitzchak Goldknopfstressed that the fringe element responsible for the violence is not acting in accordance to the instructions of rabbonim and their actions are not welcome.

‘Intel protest reveals haredi hypocrisy’

By Abe Selig November 15, 2009

An NGO promoting religious freedom and equality in Israel published findings that 76 percent of Jewish Israelis – and 93% of secular Israelis – believe haredi rabbis are spearheading religion-inspired conflicts in an effort to advance partisan haredi interests, and only 24% believe the recent orthodox riots in the capital are inspired by love of Israel and the wellbeing of society.

In the Hiddush survey conducted in September, 500 adult Israeli Jews were polled. No margin of error was cited.

According to the survey, 53% said they believe police are being too soft on haredi rioters, whereas only 11% thought police were using excessive force.

Presented with the statement “Some believe religious battles led by haredi rabbis are essential for the preservation of Judaism, while others think these battles serve only one stream of Judaism and the haredi rabbis’ own interests,” 74% agreed with the second half of the statement, saying that Judaism unites Israelis but haredi rabbis bring about a splintering of society

Protests an outlet for Haredim who don’t work, join army, or go to college

By Hanoch Daum Opinion November 15, 2009

These young haredim are not really committed to the Shabbat.

Had they been truly devoted to it, they would not be holding protests that prompt hundreds of police officers to desecrate the Shabbat. They would also not be assaulting reporters and media personnel with such crude violence.

Finance Min.: Arabs, Haredim to blame for their poor economic state

By Haim Bior November 11, 2009

The Arab and ultra-Orthodox communities themselves are partly responsible for the high unemployment among their members, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told a conference on employment discrimination on Tuesday.

Steinitz said his ministry is currently discussing ways to encourage both communities to increase their work force participation rate, which is currently significantly lower than the Israeli norm. Partly as a result, these communities are also two of Israel’s poorest.

Steinitz urges Haredim to join workforce

By Tani Goldstein November 11, 2009

“I can cherish the fact that Israel is a global center of Torah studies… but I also think it is extremely important that a larger part of the haredi society integrates in work and creation.

“I recently visited New York and met the leaders of a haredi community. One of them told me, ‘We, the haredim in New York, are not like the haredim in Israel. We support ourselves.’ Hearing that brought up a lot of emotions in me.

“I, and senior Treasury officials, are holding these days a series of discussions and talks with the outstanding rabbis of this generation and are trying, through full cooperation with them, to encourage haredim to join the workforce.”

According to data presented during the conference, the haredi population’s participation in the workforce (as employers and job seekers) is among the lowest in the world, due to the phenomenon called “Torah is their profession” – ultra-Orthodox men studying Judaism all their life and not working.

According to data compiled by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, 80% of haredi men practice “Torah is their profession”

It doesn’t pay for Haredi men to work

By Meirav Arlosoroff Opinion November 13, 2009

The unhappy reality is that the Haredi aspiration to live a life of bare subsistence, coupled with Israel’s subsidies of ultra-Orthodox society, mean that many Haredi families can eke out an existence without working. Put otherwise, it doesn’t pay for them to work.

…Does Israel in its generosity actually disincentivize Haredim to work? Yes. The figures show that the allowances coupled with discounts enable Haredi families to eke out a living without work.

Employers reluctant to hire Ethiopians, haredim and Arabs, study shows

By Ron Friedman November 10, 2009

According to the study, which surveyed dozens of employers and potential employees in professions like banking, advertising, media, accounting, the public sector and law, most Israeli employers reported that they were hesitant to hire Ethiopians, haredim or Arabs, even if they met the academic qualifications for the job.

The findings showed that 83 per cent of employers preferred not to hire Arabs, 58% said no to haredim and 53% rejected Ethiopians.

The study also found that these populations had a tough time seeking advancement in the workplace, with 86% of employers tending not to promote haredim, 79% Arabs and 70% Ethiopians.

MK Gafni: Haredim want to work, but state doesn’t want them to

By Yair Ettinger November 13, 2009

Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) lashed out yesterday at Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz’s assertion Tuesday that ultra-Orthodox communities are themselves partly responsible for the high unemployment in their ranks.

“Haredi men want to work, Haredi women want to work,” he said. “The government doesn’t want to integrate them into the work force. This is an ideological battle.”

Gafni said the primary obstacles to ultra-Orthodox integration into the work force come from the government, not from private employers choosing not to hire Haredim.

A vital national challenge

Haaretz Editorial November 12, 2009

People who stay home or study Torah instead of being gainfully employed and who maintain themselves and their families using welfare payments instead of earning a living are a millstone around the Israeli economy’s neck.

They prevent it from reaching its true growth potential, and the problem will only get worse. Around half our first graders today are from the Arab or ultra-Orthodox communities, and the proportion of these communities in the population is expected to rise further.

Yeshiva Budget Cuts Avoided – Major Victory for Gafne

By Yechiel Spira November 10, 2009

MK (Yahadut HaTorah) R’ Moshe Gafne, who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee, is hailing a major victory, the elimination of a planned budget cuts for yeshivas as part of the government’s across-the-board spending cuts – a move required to increase defense spending and pay for swine flu vaccinations.

Health funds cut charges to match Haredi fees

By Shay Niv November 9, 2009

Only a week after “Globes” published its investigation, which showed that the health funds charged full price for nighttime or weekend visits to after-hours clinics in secular communities, while giving huge discounts for visits in Haredi, the health funds have decided on a one-price-for-all policy.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman: Death When One’s Heart Stops, Not Before

By Yechiel Spira November 9, 2009

Deputy Health Minister R’ Yitzchak Litzman has come out in no uncertain terms opposed to linking death to brain activity. Litzman stated gedolei torah have not changed their determination and death must be determined only by the cessation of one’s heartbeat.

Litzman’s statement is unwelcome in the medical community, since when one’s heart stops working, the time available to harvest organs is extremely limited according to medical experts.

Litzman’s position caused a stir at a recent medical community gathering discussing transplants, adding if the brain death determination is contrary to the hashkafa of the patient, the plug may not be pulled and nothing may be done to curtail his life. Death must be determined by the cessation of the patient’s heartbeat.

Rabbis’ dismay as transplant rules change

By Anshel Pfeffer November 12, 2009

Over two decades of patient negotiations, doctors in Israel managed to win a large number of rabbis over to their position.

However, an official rabbinical recognition of brain death as the point at which a transplant can be carried out was denied, since the doctors refused to have rabbis included in the process of pronouncing death before a transplant operation.

Still, many rabbis have privately endorsed transplants and encouraged religious Israelis to carry donor cards.

Last year, the Knesset passed the Organ Transplant Law, which necessitates a ruling by two senior doctors who are not involved in transplants on the death of a potential donor.

Following the legislation, the council of the Chief Rabbinate voted three months ago that brain death did indeed constitute the moment of death.

Leading Muslim clergy endorse lower brain death criterion for organ donation

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich November 10, 2009

Leading Muslim clergy from northern Israel have come out strongly in support of the recent law recognizing lower brain death as the criterion for removing donor organs for transplant.

The move follows the revelation on Sunday of a letter written by Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Ya’acov Litzman, in which he states his personal opposition to the brain death criterion.

School entrance locked ‘for modesty reasons’

By Ruth Margolin November 10, 2009

Teachers and students of the Rabin High School in the southern city of Kiryat Gat are being forced to enter the building through a side gate “for modesty reasons”.

According to the Israel Teachers Union, a security guard stationed at the school’s main entrance has been instructed by the municipality to lock the gate and inform visitors that they must enter the institution from its side gate.

Female teachers say they were told the main entrance is not safe, but they believe the real reason is pressures exerted by ultra-Orthodox elements.

Rabbi Elyashiv to authorize Shabbat elevators

By Kobi Nahshoni November 15, 2009

The Haredi grand adjudicator Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is expected to issue a modified halachic ruling on the issue of Shabbat elevators that will allow their use for the elderly, the sick and pregnant women.

This comes only a month and a half after the rabbi ruled that the Sabbath-designated elevators were not to be used for ascending or descending, saying it was a violation of religious laws pertaining to the holy day.

The Lithuanian leader changed his position after one of the Belz hassidic rabbis asked that an additional discussion be held on the topic during which Rabbi Elyashiv was convinced that allowances could be made for the aforementioned groups.

Too hot a topic

By Yair Ettinger November 15, 2009

Many veteran residents believe this tender will complete the process of turning Beit Shemesh into a Haredi town

Motti Cohen, an opposition city councilman:

“The government has to decide which way Beit Shemesh is going to go and whether it will turn into a second Bnei Brak.”

For the Haredim, there is no question about whether or not the new neighborhood should be ultra-Orthodox, and headlines in the Haredi press do not address the opposition’s arguments or the threat of a court case.

Pitching in

By Peggy Cidor November 12, 2009

The Toldot Aharon Hassidim have launched an appeal to finance (the) legal bills (of the mother who allegedly starved her son).

The goal is to raise at least NIS 100,000, and every family that belongs to the sect – which is not very wealthy to put it mildly – has been asked to contribute at least NIS 100, or better yet $100, to help “a member of our community in distress” as was written on the pashkevilim (billboards) in Mea She’arim.

25% of Elite chocolate sold in Haredi sector

By Shoshana Chen November 13, 2009

For the first time this winter, the Strauss-Elite food products manufacturer plans to introduce a new chocolate product both in the general and ultra-Orthodox markets.

The haredi market is responsible for about 25% of the company’s chocolate sales, and 52% of the company’s annual chocolate sales take place in the winter season.

Sects, allies and videotape

By Peggy Cidor November 12, 2009

In the framework of the struggle against “haredization” in Kiryat Hayovel, the neighborhood action committee has organized movie nights in the community center auditorium on Friday evenings.

As a result, the religious Zionist community, which so far has been a partner in the struggle, decided to protest and has threatened to withdraw its support.

Its city council representative, Deputy Mayor David Hadari, claims that the use of the auditorium is a breach of the religious status quo.

To date, Mayor Nir Barkat has refuted the argument, declaring that “screening films in a neighborhood auditorium for the residents of this neighborhood could not under any circumstances be considered a breach of the status quo.” For the moment.

Going up

By Peggy Cidor November 12, 2009

For those who are afraid that the Har Hamenuhot Cemetery is running out of room, fear no more. For Sephardim at least, modernity has offered a bold and quite efficient solution.

The local Sephardi Hevra Kadisha recently launched a new section, which will hold up to 2,700 graves (instead of the originally planned 700).

And this new section is very unusual: It is the first to offer burial plots on five levels, each one accessible via a special elevator.

The area will also include sophisticated lighting for those who want to visit their loved ones’ graves after sunset. Not that the decision was easy to make. After years of halachic debates, a ruling by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, with the support of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, allowed the cemetery to be used in such a way.

Hassidic Stories through both Spiritual and Academic Approaches

By Yoni Kempinski November 15, 2009

The Literature class of the Michlala-Jerusalem College held a special day of sessions and discussion regarding the Hassidic fables and stories. Teachers and Rabbis spoke about the uniqueness of the Hassidic stories, read several and discussed the messages they convey.

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Kosher comics prove hit with Israel’s haredi Jews

AFB November 11, 2009

A far cry from the thrills of Spiderman and the sexy glam of Lois Lane, chaste and religious comics have become a hit among ultra-Orthodox Jews determined not to pollute their children’s minds.

For the reclusive haredi society that shuns television, internet and video viewed as a source of moral corruption, the no-sex, no-violence comics offer benign entertainment and a fun way of teaching tradition to their children.

Book advocating killing gentiles who endanger Jews is hard to come by

By Matthew Wagner November 11, 2009

At Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, the flagship educational institution of Orthodox Zionism, there was a small sign in the entrance advertising the sale of Torat Hamelech: Dinei Nefashot Bein Yisrael Le’Amim (The King’s Torah: Laws of Life and Death between Jews and the Nations) at a price of NIS 30.

Those interested in buying the book were asked to place money in a small cup and take one.

But the books were gone.

Israeli Rabbi’s Guide to Killing Causes Firestorm November 13, 2009

Rabbi David Hartman, founder of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a philosopher of contemporary Judaism, said that the rabbis of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva were not taking into account the consequences of their teachings.

“Has the Jewish tradition ever created a distinction based on race, gender, etc? Of course, there is no doubt that there are serious Jewish sources that do not look at the non-Jew with full equality,” he told The Media Line. “But they have lots of sources they could use, and which sources you choose to read and don’t read is important.”

Jews raise millions to be ready for coming of the Messiah

By Jason Koutsoukis November 14, 2009

Yehuda Glick is a 44-year-old American-born Jew who spends most of every day preparing for the arrival of the Messiah in Jerusalem.

Since he became the executive director of the Temple Institute, Mr. Glick’s main task has been to supervise the manufacture of the utensils the high priests will need when the day arrives.

…”That is why we have engaged two architects,” Mr. Glick said. ”It will be a modern building, with car parks and elevators, but it will look very much like the Second Temple.”

The Temple Institute museum contains a large-scale model of what the Third Temple will look like, with its main building set to reach a height of 60 metres.

Religion and State in Israel

November 16, 2009 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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.

All rights reserved.

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