Religion and State in Israel – December 7, 2009 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

December 7, 2009 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Hesder officials: IDF can’t censure us

By Matthew Wagner and Yaakov Lappin December 7, 2009

Hesder yeshiva heads declared Sunday night they would fight any attempts by the IDF to penalize the Har Bracha Yeshiva, whose head, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, has called on soldiers to refuse to act against settlers and settlements.

Har Bracha is a hesder yeshiva, which maintains a program that combines Torah study with military service.

Former OC Southern Command urges IDF to look into ‘hesder’ arrangements December 7, 2009

Former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yom Tov Samia has urged the IDF to look into arrangements it has with hesder yeshivot in order to put a stop to the phenomenon of insubordination.

“If a program needs to be dismantled then let it be dismantled,” said Samia during a conference at Netanya Academic College.

Minister Hershkowitz: Don’t close hesder yeshiva

By Roni Sofer December 7, 2009

Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, chairman of the Habayit Hayehudi party, sent a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak Monday in which he protests an appeal to close down the Har Bracha yeshiva because its rabbis preached insubordination in the army.

“The closing down of a yeshiva may fan the flames of this dangerous phenomenon and have disastrous effects on the IDF and the state of Israel,” Hershkowitz wrote in his letter.

Women lying about religious lifestyle allowed to appeal

By Anshel Pfeffer and Jonathan Lis December 7, 2009

The government yesterday decided to restrict the Israel Defense Forces’ ability to enlist women who falsely claim to be religiously observant so as to avoid military service.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation has declared that even if the IDF finds that a young woman was lying when she said she was leading an observant lifestyle, she cannot be recruited immediately, but instead must embark on a process of appeal, in which her case will be debated by representatives from the army and the Chief Rabbinate.

Women accused of evading IDF service may appeal to Rabbinate

By Roni Sofer December 6, 2009

The committee formulated a final draft accepted by all parties, which states that women who profess false religious affiliation must be enlisted to the IDF within two years, or by the age of 20. If the woman is caught at age 21 or later she cannot be drafted according to the law.

Haredi national service program misses its mark

By Yair Ettinger December 3, 2009

A program to recruit Haredi yeshiva students to volunteer for national service will grow more slowly than expected, Haaretz has learned.

An internal document prepared by the Civilian Service Administration says it now expects to reach 2,000 Haredi volunteers by 2014 – and not by 2012, as the administration told the High Court of Justice less than three months ago.

IDF chief wants to enlist Arabs, Haredim in national service

By Anshel Pfeffer December 2, 2009

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi expressed support on Tuesday for a national service system that would draft all Israelis, some of whom the Israel Defense Forces would select to serve in the army.

The army is also trying to recruit more ultra-Orthodox soldiers, about 1,000 of whom have taken on technology-related jobs in the army this year.

From Mishnah to Military Intelligence: Haredi yeshiva graduates enlist in IDF

By Anshel Pfeffer December 3, 2009

A group of 70 Haredi yeshiva students have been conscripted to the first course of the Binah Beyarok (“Intelligence in Green”) program whose objective is to absorb young ultra-Orthodox men into the ranks of army intelligence.

The project began when the commander of the corps, Major General Amos Yadlin, gave instructions to absorb 300 young, ultra-Orthodox men after the success the Air Force had in absorbing Haredi soldiers in its technical side.

…The first task was to define the target population – yeshiva students aged 22 and older, married with children, who needed to leave the yeshiva to make a living.

Thus, they were different from the Haredi Nahal unit, Netzah Yehuda in the Kfir Brigade, which from the outset was for youngsters who left yeshivas for lack of suitability.

How does the U.S. help fund pro-settler IDF troops?

By Akiva Eldar and Chaim Levinson December 1, 2009

The Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land, the organization that offered every soldier refusing to evacuate a settlement, and the Kfir Brigade soldiers who publicly demonstrated their opposition to evacuation, NIS 1,000 for every day they spend in military prison, is a registered non-profit organization and has a license to operate.

The Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land is headed by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, a Chabad Hassid of the messianic stream.

Nahal Haredi Reserve Battalion Established December 1, 2009

A reserve unit for soldiers from the Netzach Yehuda (Nahal Haredi) battalion of the Kfir Brigade came together for the first time on Sunday in Givat Ze’ev.

Soldier sent to detention for cooking on Shabbat after cat ate his meal

By Hanan Greenberg December 2, 2009

A combat soldier from the Nahshon battalion was sentenced to 20 days in detention, after he found out a stray cat “tasted” his Shabbat meal and decided to cook a new meal, despite IDF’s strict orders that forbid cooking on the holy day.

Watchdog calls to clarify criteria for city rabbi appointments

By Matthew Wagner December 3, 2009

In a move to reduce the mixing of politics with religious appointments, a legal issues watchdog threatened this week to petition the High Court of Justice against the Religious Services Ministry unless the ministry publishes clear criteria for the appointment of Sephardi and Ashkenazi city rabbis.

In a letter to Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi (Shas), the Movement for Fairness in Government demanded an immediate freeze in all rabbinic appointments until the ministry explained the criteria it used for deciding when to appoint a Sephardi or an Ashkenazi rabbi or both.

NRP says Shas has taken control of Petah Tikva religious institutions

By Yair Ettinger December 4, 2009

Petah Tikva is one of several cities – including Ramat Gan and Haifa – where religious Zionist parties like the National Religious Party and Habayit Hayehudi have lost control of the religious councils.

Many Shas members have become members or heads of religious councils in communities throughout the country, apparently due to efforts by Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi.

The minister, a Shas member, has taken advantage of a new regulation that lets him make appointments if, a year after elections, a local authority has failed to agree on religious council members.

MK calls for probe of Shas religious appointments

By Jonathan Lis and Yair Ettinger December 1, 2009

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said yesterday he wants the State Control Committee to order a comptroller’s investigation into appointments made by Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi.

The announcement came as Haaretz reported that many members of Margi’s Shas party have recently become members and heads of religious councils around the country, apparently due to the minister’s efforts.

Hebron rabbi permits gentile Shabbat construction in settlements

By Matthew Wagner December 6, 2009

Rabbi Dov Lior, the rabbi of Hebron-Kiryat Arba, issued a halachic ruling last week that it was permitted to employ non-Jews on Shabbat to build in Judea and Samaria during the present construction freeze.

The rationale behind the ruling is that inspectors who report building activity do not work on Shabbat. Therefore, building on settlements can continue unhindered on Shabbat.

Litzman to PM: Allow construction in Haredi settlements

By Ronen Medzini December 2, 2009

The freeze of construction in settlements served a harsh blow to the ultra-Orthodox settlements of Beitar Illit and Modi’in Illit, which attract residents due to the housing crisis in the haredi sector, and the relatively affordable prices compared to haredi neighborhoods in central Israel.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and requested he consider the needs of the ultra-Orthodox, and approve construction in the two settlements.

‘Haredi school discrimination continues’

By Matthew Wagner December 4, 2009

Sephardi girls are still being discriminated against by a haredi school in Immanuel despite a three-month-old High Court decision forcing the school to stop separation based on Sephardi/Ashkenazi criteria, according to a petition brought to the High Court on Thursday.

New committee for billboard modesty in Tel Aviv

By Yoav Zeitun December 12, 2009

City Councilman Rabbi Naftali Lubert, one of the prominent activists in recent years for making billboards more modest…recently contacted Menachem Leibe, the director-general of the Tel Aviv Municipality, with a petition that any such billboard receive authorization from the city’s spokesperson prior to being published.

The stated objected is to prevent the publication of billboards of a sexual nature that are only made more modest after the municipality contacts the advertising agency.

…The city was quick to take action. Legal advisor Attorney Uzi Salman sent a letter to the advertising agencies saying from here forth no billboards would go up without prior authorization from the advisory council to the municipality.

Messiah in the neighborhood

By Avirama Golan December 3, 2009

Ramat Aviv has recently been the scene of well-publicized clashes that are often erroneously described as a cultural and communal struggle between secular and Haredi Jews.

…What is crucial to understand is that the new residents of this neighborhood – a neighborhood whose overall character is secular even if religious people also live there – are not just Haredim who happen to have moved house

…This is not a local, secular Ramat Aviv issue. This is a war over the nature of Israeli society. The people to blame for the retreat of humanism, culture and knowledge in the face of ignorance and idol worship are not the ignorant, but the public figures who fawn over them, betray their own values and leave our children alone at the front.

Seculars use God’s name against Haredim in Jerusalem fight

By Nir Hasson December 1, 2009

Under the boxes, on the street, someone had spray painted the name of God…The boxes had been placed on top of the graffiti as a holy roadblock by an anonymous group of secular Jerusalemites who have taken upon themselves to act lawfully and creatively against the Haredim.

The tactics the group uses aim to create confusion among the ultra-Orthodox by turning their own mores and mindset against them.

Haredi Mayor: ‘Obama, leave us out of the freeze’

By Matthew Wagner December 7, 2009

The mayor of the Haredi town Beitar Illit appealed Sunday to the Obama administration to leave his town out of the building freeze since it was not an ideologically motivated settlement.

Beitar is populated primarily by haredi families who came out of a desire to escape the cramped quarters and high prices in the traditional haredi centers of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.

Poll: 61% believe secular exodus threat to Jerusalem unity December 7, 2009

The secular-haredi battle over the character of Jerusalem is perceived as the largest threat to the unity of the city, according to a joint Ynet-Gesher poll conducted on the backdrop of recent clashes in the capital.

Examining the answers according to religious affiliation shows that the secular exodus from the city is the most potent threat in the eyes of secular and traditional Israelis (75% and 56% respectively).

How would the average Israeli respond to a group of haredi families moving into his neighborhood? Fifty-six percent would be concerned that the neighborhood would become haredi.

An analysis of the results according to religious affiliation shows that the sentiment most popular among secular, traditional, and even religious Israelis is the fear of the neighborhood becoming haredi (61%, 55%, and 46% respectively).

Former MK to seculars: Instead of protesting, have babies

By Kobi Nahshoni November 30, 2009

Former Agudath Yisrael Member of Knesset Rabbi Menahem Porush

“All those who are fomenting (opposition) are a very small group of young people consumed by hatred. It’s nothing. We have no reason to be intimidated by them. We are growing bigger and will continue to do so. Nothing will stop it.”

“All of this hatred is out of jealousy,” said Rabbi Porush. “They (the seculars) just need to show that they are still here, but they barely exist at all.”

“We aren’t to blame. We have a grandfather, a father, a son, a grandson, and a great-grandson – all together. What do they have? Everywhere we open a yeshiva, a seminar; they fill up immediately while the secular schools stand empty.”

Religious weekly allows women’s pictures to protest Shalit deal

By Kobi Nahshoni December 1, 2009

Rightist rabbis opposed to releasing Shalit in exchange for hundreds of terrorists are willing to bend some unwritten rules to thwart the swap.

The Religious Zionist movement “Mayanei Hayeshua,” which has an in-house rabbanit, has dedicated the front cover of its weekly publication to the cause. In addition, dozens of pictures of terror victims, most of them women, were published in the weekend edition.

In so doing, the movement strayed from the haredi codes it has taken upon itself that stipulate that no pictures of women be published in the magazine.

…Since the launch of the “Mayanei Hayeshua” magazine six years ago, the editorial staff has strictly followed the prohibition against publishing images of women in any form at their rabbis’ instruction.

In many instances, the publication even turned down advertisement slots even though they would have brought in more revenues for the magazine.

One of the volumes published this year showed pictures of the movement’s activists with female activists’ faces blacked out in a feat of graphic work that drew criticism from the liberal religious spheres.

New-Pharm still not kosher enough for some in Bnei Brak

By Matthew Wagner December 7, 2009

On Saturday night, dozens of Bnei Brak residents converged on the store, which opened six months ago, and demanded that it close its doors due to the negative influence the store’s cosmetics and perfume departments might have on the town’s young people

The demonstrations, which were not organized by mainstream elements, came as a surprise to New-Pharm management, which had consulted with Bnei Brak Chief Rabbi Ya’acov Landau via PR firm McCann Erickson’s haredi department.

Chareidi Youths Working with Dogs in Search & Rescue

By Yechiel Spira November 29, 2009

Students affiliated with the Netivei Noam Yeshiva will be working in concert with ZAKA search & rescue officials, training as the new handlers of dogs that will assist in such life-saving efforts.

The announced move brings an end to another stereotype, that dogs and chareidim are not synonymous. It appears when the issue at hand is pikuach nefesh; anything towards achieving the goal is acceptable.

Letter to the Editor December 6, 2009

In response to “It doesn’t pay for Haredi men to work,” November 12, 2009

Meirav Arlozorov falsely claims that I – as a kollel student – have no incentive to enter the workforce. She asserts that I receive special tax breaks and free day care, which I don’t.

Has she ever met a kollel couple? I’m afraid not. Thus, she is unfamiliar with the story of their very real struggle to make ends meet. It’s a harsh battle they fight for the sake of Torah study…

Yehuda Goldman, Jerusalem

Haredim continue Jerusalem protests

By Efrat Weiss December 5, 2009

Some 200 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators are protesting in Jerusalem against the opening of the Karta parking lot on Saturdays. Earlier, hundreds demonstrated in the road leading to the Intel plant in Har Hotzvim to protest Shabbat desecration.

Israel’s rabbis rail against epidemic of ‘abomination’ – internet use

By Ben Lynfield December 7, 2009

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Jerusalem have launched a crackdown on the use of the internet, on the grounds it is filled with “abomination” and is leading believers astray.

The rabbis have called on the public to report to them anyone engaging in religiously proscribed use of the web.

Posters have sprung up in the ultra-orthodox Mea Shearim area, signed by the “Committee for the Purity of the Neighborhood”.

The posters voice alarm at growing surreptitious use of the net by rabbinical seminary students who live in rented flats.

“To our dismay, there have been found in the unsupervised apartments computers with all sorts of abomination,” say the posters. “Possession of a computer has been forbidden by the great sages of Israel and its results cannot be estimated.”

Jewish Agency drops El Al as exclusive carrier for olim

By Cnaan Liphshiz December 1, 2009

The Jewish Agency and El Al took another step toward divorce yesterday, when the agency for the first time signed a deal for bringing new immigrants to Israel with El Al’s local competitor, Arkia.

In so doing, the agency – whose $2.5-billion contract with El Al expired this month – effectively ended the national carrier’s 60-year exclusivity in transporting newcomers immigrating via the organization to Israel.

NBN, JDate team up to match olim, sabras

By Raphael Ahren December 2, 2009

Nefesh B’Nefesh has teamed up with the local branch of JDate to help connect new immigrants with potential dates, the aliyah assistance group said yesterday.

Ahead of next month’s arrival of some 100 North American singles, JDate Israel will set up a special section on its homepage, inviting Israeli singles to create profiles and immigrants to browse through them. Interest in singles flights, and the singles on them, has risen since 100 singles immigrated together in September.

Initially, the special section will be accessible only to immigrants arriving December 29, but Nefesh B’Nefesh said it plans to expand the service.

Taking it up a notch

By Mitchell Bard Opinion December 5, 2009

The writer is the author of more than 20 books includingWill Israel Survive?and Executive Director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.

Birthright Israel is probably the most important project to be created for the strengthening of Jewish identity and Diaspora-Israel relations since Israel Bonds and the United Jewish Appeal.

That said, most if not everyone agrees that the program has not reached its full potential. We would like to see more of the participants become committed to Judaism and Israel and active participants in Jewish life on campus and in the wider community.

…Given the economic situation, birthright has been cutting back, but this is not the time for retrenchment. It is time to take birthright to the next level.

Ministry bans student Jewish Agency trips to U.S. during school year

By Or Kashti December 7, 2009

As of next month, elementary and high schools will no longer be allowed to send students and teachers on delegations outside Israel during the school year, the Education Ministry recently said.

The decision – which does not apply to trips to Poland and international competitions – is expected to affect the Partnership 2000 exchange program, in which dozens of delegations of Israeli pupils visit the United States through a cooperation between the Jewish Agency and various Jewish federations.

‘Stimulus’ earmarked for immigrants

By Haviv Rettig Gur December 1, 2009

A growing budget crisis that threatened to upend many crucial programs for absorbing new immigrants has been reversed with the addition of some NIS 172m. to the Absorption Ministry’s coffers for fiscal year 2009.

Religion and State in Israel

December 7, 2009 (Section 2) (see also Section 1)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.

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