Religion and State in Israel – April 19, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (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.

Old-Fashioned Discrimination, New-Style Battle

By Dr. Yifat Bitton April 6, 2010

The writer is Associate Professor of Law at Sha’arei Mishpatim Law College in Israel. Dr. Biton is co-founder of Tmura, The Israeli Anti-Discrimination Legal Center, which offers pro-bono legal assistance to victims of discrimination.

Yael is one of 180 Sephardic pupils attending the separate school for Sephardim in the city of Emanuel in Israel.

Her story sheds light on the shocking facts regarding segregation in education within Jewish communities in Israel.

I write this article to call attention to this segregation and to propose innovative ways to combat it, from my unique perspective as a public-interest attorney representing disenfranchised communities and as a legal scholar criticizing discriminatory mechanisms through the law.

Religious Girls’ School Fails To Integrate Ashkenazic and Sephardic Students

By Elana Sztokman Opinion April 12, 2010

“In the Emanuel case,” writes Ben Yefet, “Tmura and Achoti have, for the first time, been given permission by Sephardic rabbinical authorities to take this very disturbing issue to a secular court due to its severe circumstances.”

But the battle is hardly won, according to Ben Yefet: “The main problem in combating anti-Mizrahi discrimination in the education system is that this discrimination is largely hidden, and there is little or no public awareness of this issue.”

Teaching a lesson

By Edna Ullmann-Margalit Opinion April 14, 2010

The writer is a lecturer on law and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In light of the circuitous manner in which the ultra-Orthodox school systems have obtained funds from state coffers, the state comptroller should get into the picture.

He should make sure that taxes paid by law-abiding, working citizens who meet civic norms of respect and equality not be given to the leaders of an education system engaged in discrimination and humiliation – until this distortion is rectified.

Gedolim Shlita Decry High Court Involvement in Chareidi Chinuch

By Yechiel Spira April 12, 2010

Gedolei Yisrael Shlita are expressing their strong disapproval over the High Court of Justice’s interference in matters pertaining to chareidi education, specifically referring to the case of the Beis Yaakov in Emanuel and the dress code adopted by chareidi mosdos.

Emanuel: The Other Side of the Story

By Yaakov Menken April 13, 2010

The girls who attend the Beis Yacov Chasidi in Emanuel have their roots in the following countries: Iraq, Persia, Morocco, Kurdistan, Yemen, India, Egypt, The Old Yishuv here in Israel, Tunisia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Germany.

What makes this school different is its standards, in particular standards concerning tznius (length and tightness of dress), no makeup, no MP3s, exposure to media, etc. The parents who objected to the current standards of the city Beis Yakov either bussed their girls to Bnei Brak or tried to start another school.

…The formation of the Beis Yacov Chasidi was an effort by members of the original Chassidic population here to re-create the kind of Beis Yacov that they had a decade ago.

It was a stricter school – in terms of dress, exposure to media, even to some aspects of Haredi culture that they feel is not for them as in Haredi “rock music”, choice of careers, etc – and certainly NOT of an “Ashkenazic” school.

Spring Cleaning

By Rabbi Dovid Landesman Opinion April 12, 2010

Rabbi Dovid Landesman, a veteran mechanech, resides in Ramat Beit Shemesh and looks at the world outside his windows with increasing trepidation.

I find it extremely disconcerting that no one is denying that the story itself is true – which is a scandal in and of itself!

Please, spare me the specious arguments that the Ashkenazi parents are simply reluctant to have their children be confused by different pronunciations of Hebrew, varied nuschaot hatefillah or unfamiliar minhagim and halachot.

There is very real prejudice in the chareidi world and I have not heard about anyone trying to root it out.

Agudas Yisrael Rabbonim Convene in USA to Discuss Chinuch Atzmai

By Yechiel Spira April 13, 2010

Regarding allegations of discrimination in the school, [Deputy Minister of Education] Porush explained that the facts in the case are simple, and anyone willing to accept the rules and regulations of the school may attend — stating it is as simple as that.

He rejected any allegations of discrimination as alleged by the court.

NIS 5,000 Daily Chinuch Atzmai Fine Begins Today

By Yechiel Spira April 18, 2010

The NIS 5,000 daily fine imposed on Chinuch Atzmai by the High Court of Justice in the Emanuel Beis Yaakov segregation case begins today, Sunday, April 18, 2010.

New Israel Fund Linked to Emanuel Beis Yaakov Dispute?

By Yechiel Spira April 15, 2010

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Bar-Lev, the rav of Emanuel, spoke with the weekly BaKehilla newspaper regarding the ongoing conflict surrounding the city’s Beis Yaakov and alleged discrimination, and the recent Supreme Court ruling levying a NIS 5,000 daily fine on Chinuch Atzmai.


The Emanuel case has gone out of proportion. The matter has been publicized around the world, even in China and Japan. This seems to indicate someone has an interest in the matter – which addresses two things despised by the New Israel Fund, “settlers and chareidim”.

Each one is sufficient to compel them to invest their money. There are many signs pointing in this direction, that the non-profit and others who hate religion are using money and influence to wage the battle”.

PM: Construction to continue at original Barzilai ER site

By Barak Ravid, Dan Even and Yair Ettinger April 14, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman March 26, 2010

(PM Netanyahu returns to Israel from trip to U.S.)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the Health Ministry to prepare for the construction of a bomb-proof emergency ward at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon on the originally planned site.

Netanyahu’s move yesterday reverses a controversial decision by the cabinet that would have relocated the project because of objections by ultra-Orthodox parties in the governing coalition.

Ashkelon hospital ER will not be relocated, Netanyahu rules April 12, 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that the new emergency room at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center would not be relocated due to the finding of an ancient burial ground in the designated location, Channel 2 news reported.

PM: Barzilai Hospital’s ER location stands

By Roni Sofer April 12, 2010

The Deputy Health Minister’s Office released the following statement:

“The deputy minister’s opinion is well known – he is against relocating the graves. The deputy minister will call a United Torah Judaism faction meeting within the next few days in order to decide on future moves.”

Eda Haredit calls on public to protest Barzilai decision

By Jonah Mandel April 13, 2010

Members of the Eda Haredit Badatz (Court of Justice) convened on Tuesday evening for an emergency meeting in Jerusalem following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Monday reversal of the cabinet decision to relocate the planned construction of a fortified emergency department at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center due to the presence of ancient bones at the original site.

PM U-turns, approves Barzilai ER at original site

By Herb Keinon April 13, 2010

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on Monday leveled criticism at the haredi factors objecting the premier’s plan, during a joint visit with Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar to the Merhavya cemetery, where some 40 graves were desecrated last Thursday.

“It is a shame that the organizations involved in safeguarding the dignity of the dead, and threatening with demonstrations in the face of plans to build an emergency room designated to save lives, didn’t come here to protest the disgrace of the dead,” Metzger said.

Are They Jewish Bones? Battle for Separation of Synagogue & State in Israel

By Shalom Goldman

Shalom Goldman is Professor of Hebrew and Middle Eastern Studies at Emory University. His new book is Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land (UNC Press, January, 2010).

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman March 23, 2009

But the Barzilai affair again painted Haredim as anti-modern and reactionary. Those Haredi groups that have Web sites (and there are quite a few) are now calling on their rabbis to go against Litzman’s demands.

Last week’s Jerusalem Post quotes the Web site Kikar Hashabat as saying that Litzman “aggressively and disgracefully exploited his power in a way that turned the entire nation against us.”

The Unwelcome Mat

By Rabbi Allan Nadler April 16, 2010

Allan Nadler, an Orthodox-ordained rabbi and historian of eastern European Judaism, is a professor of Jewish studies and director of the program in Jewish studies at Drew University.

Only when the chief rabbis are stripped of their carte-blanche license recklessly to disenfranchise their Diaspora colleagues by introducing unheard-of stringencies and inventing new Jewish laws—rulings that overturn more than two generations of precedents set by Israel’s Chief Rabbinical courts—can sanity be restored to Israel’s posture toward potential converts, one that demands a decent embrace of all who yearn to join her people.

Conversion Controversy in Israel: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

By Jay Shofet Opinion April 15, 2010

Jay Shofet is the Coordinator of the Religious Pluralism Project in Shatil, and serves as Shatil’s Director of Resource Development Consultation. He is also a member of the Executive of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism.

A bill under consideration in Israel’s parliament […] would require city rabbis to utilize special rabbinical court “conversion judges”, not only obviating any ostensible liberalization, but actually enshrining into law the Chief Rabbinate’s exclusive and total control over conversion, which until now has been de facto but without explicit legal authority.

This would negate the hard-won successes by the Reform and Conservative movements, whose conversions performed abroad are currently recognized in Israel, and also bypass a Supreme Court decision instructing the Ministry of Interior to also recognize such conversions when performed in Israel.

Inglorious mamzerim

By Rivkah Lubitch Opinion April 13, 2010

Rivkah Lubitch works at the Center for Women’s Justice.

So long as the rabbinic court keeps a black list of mamzerim and it’s the only institution officially allowed to marry Jews in the State of Israel – we all partners in the crime of hurting persons who have committed no crime.

Don’t say that you didn’t know. Stop sticking your head in the ground.

The State of Israel and the halacha have collaborated to harm innocent people. We need to work together to solve the problem and get rid of the black list for good.

Why Israeli gays opt for US surrogate births

By Evan Pondel April 18, 2010

Depending on religious beliefs, the rules are so cumbersome that surrogacy falls out of favor for many couples.

For example, some religious leaders say that the birth mother must be single and Jewish to ensure the baby is Jewish. Same goes for the egg donor. The pendulum swings the other way, as some religious leaders say it is not necessary to have a Jewish birth mother.

Female Segregation for Religious Justifications: The Unfortunate Israeli Case

By Yossi Nehushtan

College of Management, Law School Droit et Religions, Vol. 4, pp. 441-459, 2009-2010

This paper discusses two cases of segregation between men and women in Israel. In both cases, the segregation was based on religious justifications and in both cases the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) either enforced the segregation (the ‘Women of the Wall’ case) or expressed a principled willingness to do so in the future, subject to certain formal conditions (the ‘segregation in buses’ case).

Do you want Mehadrin bus lines? Then, give Shabbat buses

[Google translator]

[original Hebrew article]

רוצים קווי מהדרין? תנו תחבורה בשבת

By Shahar Hazelkorn Opinion April 15, 2010

Unmarried teacher becomes pregnant – and is fired from religious school

[Google Translator]

[original Hebrew article] April 13, 2010

“The teacher was not fired because of her pregnancy, since it is a mitzvah to encourage birth in an institution – but for her choice to be single and pregnant.”

Praying Landed Her in Trouble

By Jan Jaben-Eilon April 14, 2010

Women of the Wall

Womenetics: Why were you arrested early this year (at the Western Wall) and what is happening with the case?

Anat Hoffman: I wasn’t arrested; I was detained. I was interrogated and warned. There’s an investigation under way to see if they can charge me.

This has made it difficult for me to go abroad; the Jerusalem police have to OK it each time.

The investigation is on whether I’ve broken the Regulation on Holy Places that says one can’t perform a religious act that upsets others at the Western Wall. There could be a 10,000 shekel ($3,300) fine or prison. What I did (to be detained) was wear a talit (prayer shawl), pray out loud, and carry a Torah.

Words from the Wall for Rosh Chodesh Iyar

By Liz Piper-Goldberg April 16, 2010

In a new development [Chief of Police of the Kotel, Raphael] Malichi did permit the thirty women in tallitot to wear them, but instructed them to conceal the tzitzit, or the fringes of the tallit.

Further, Malichi explained that the women were permitted to wear tallitot as long as they “were not black and white…if they were colorful and looked like scarves” then the women were permitted to wear them.

Man at the Wall

By Lim Wui Liang March 31, 2010

This audio slideshow profiles a religious man who has been praying at the Wall for 20 years.


Born-again seculars

By Gili Izikovich April 13, 2010

“Question Marks” which will air later this year on Channel Two (Reshet), deals with the world of those who leave the ultra-Orthodox life.

The show revolves around the secret apartment for those who are in the process of leaving or have left the ultra-Orthodox way of life, run by the fictitious Simanei She’ela organization (which is reminiscent of real organizations such as Hillel – the right to choose).

Land Grab at the Mikvah

By David Morris Opinion April 18, 2010

This past week, the control of the mikvah has entered the public arena again, with articles about this in all the local weekend newspapers.

Apparently, some Chareidi rabbis have now changed their minds about the building split, and are demanding the whole building for themselves on Nahal Dolev – and control of another Moetza mikva on Nahal Lachish.

Conspiracies of Silence: Violence against Women in Israel and the Palestinian Authorities

By Robyn Gordon April 13, 2010

I recently sat down with Estanne Abraham Fawer, Chairperson and Founder of Miklat, an Israeli non-profit organization committed to providing secure housing, legal aid, and counseling for battered religious women and their children in Israel, to discuss the current situation.

Fawer recounted the story of one Haredi woman in Miklat’s shelters: a sixty-five-year-old woman had entered the shelter after her mother had recently passed away. She was the victim of forty three years of abuse at the hands of her husband.

Because she did not want to shame her mother, she waited four decades until her mother died before leaving her husband and home and seeking refuge with Miklat.

The Religious Kibbutz April 15, 2010

Alongside the centennial of the kibbutz movement, another, humbler jubilee is being marked: the 80th anniversary of Ha-kibbutz Ha-dati, the religious-kibbutz movement.

A unique blend of nationalism, socialism, and religion, it has generated a legacy whose significance reaches well beyond its sixteen member communes.

Israel to play Euro 2012 games on Shabbat

By Simon Griver April 15, 2010

Israel will play some Euro 2012 qualifiers at Ramat Gan on Friday nights, angering the country’s religious community, the JC can reveal.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said: “This violates the status quo. The national team belongs to the nation.”

Religion and State in Israel

April 19, 2010 (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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