Religion and State in Israel – May 17, 2010 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

May 17, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz

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

Barzilai dig completed; police still on alert

By Shmulik Hadad May 17, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman March 26, 2010

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

Israel Antiquities Authority workers completed their archaeological work Monday in the Barzilai Medical Center complex in Ashkelon.

Disinterment of the bones started Sunday, and provoked a wave of violent protest among extremist elements in the Eda Haharedit in Ashkelon, Jerusalem, and Jaffa.

The politics of coercion

Haaretz Editorial May 17, 2010

Yesterday the grave relocation came and went peaceably, quietly even. It was clear proof that the sane core of secular and traditionalist Israelis can, if it only tries, close the floodgates of coercion and choose its own way of life.

Haredim: Extreme protestors causing damage

By Ronen Medzini May 17, 2010

“The extreme protestors are definitely causing damage,” Knesset Member Uri Maklev (UTJ) told Ynet.

“They are dragging people to the margins and are unable to tell right from wrong. We are living in a democratic country and every person has the right to protest, but we are against rioting and any type of violence.”

Government: Graves in Ashkelon protest row are Byzantine, not Jewish

By Barak Ravid, Yair Ettinger, Yanir Yagna, Dan Even and Liel Kyzer May 16, 2010

The Israel Antiquities Authority on Sunday said preliminary findings from the excavation at the site of the planned emergency room in Ashkelon reveal that the ancient remains buried there are not Jewish, but from the Byzantine era.

Litzman buries Barzilai live feed May 16, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman March 23, 2009

Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman forbade the Israeli Antiquities Authority from broadcasting a live video feed from the Barzilai hospital in , where pagan graves are currently being moved in order to make room for a new, armored emergency room.

Barzilai officials unhappy with media blackout

By Dan Even May 17, 2010

The Health Ministry ordered the immediate removal of the live feed on the hospital’s Web site of the removal of the ancient graves from the compound, and forbade any interviews by any of the staff, including the doctors and the administration, to the media on the subject of the graves.

Eda Haredit to curse Netanyahu and D-G Gabbai at J’lem rally May 16, 2010

Leading figures of the extreme “Eda Haredit” haredi community are planning to lay a curse on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the director-general of his office, Eyal Gabbai on Sunday night.

Jerusalem cuts off services to Haredi neighborhoods due to violent protests

By Yair Ettinger, Nir Hasson, Yanir Yagna, Liel Kyzer and Dan Even May 17, 2010

The Jerusalem municipality halted all services to Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) neighborhoods last night, for fear that its workers would be targets of retribution from the violent protesters who rioted in those neighborhoods to protest the removal of ancient graves from the grounds of Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon earlier that day.

Haredim draw swastika at Barzilai

By Abe Selig and Judy Siegel-Itzkovich May 16, 2010

Haredi protesters drew a swastika on the walls of the improvised police holding area at Barzilai Hospital in which they were being detained on Sunday, Army Radio reported.

The graffiti reportedly read, “Barzilai hospital robs graves.”

Despite Barzilai squabble, Haredi parties may be better off in gov’t

By Yair Ettinger May 17, 2010

In private discussions, not only are Litzman and Gafni’s constituents tired of the Barzilai battle, so are the lawmakers themselves. They know they have become embroiled in a quarrel not of their own making, and now wish they could find a way out.

Haredim protest tomb removal

By Shmulik Grossman May 16, 2010

Vehicles with loud speakers traveled through haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem Friday and announced that senior rabbis were calling on the public to protest. However, members of the Eda Haredit conceded that their struggle is doomed for failure.

The battle for sensible government

By Dan Kosky Opinion May 14, 2010

The writer is a communications professional based in Tel Aviv.

It is no great revelation that small parties and narrow interest groups such as Litzman’s United Torah Judaism have long wielded disproportionate power in our fractious political system.

Yet the cabinet’s cowing and Netanyahu’s subsequent procrastination over such an illogical, unpopular and frankly dangerous plan expose the extent to which the government is held to ransom by those who do not represent the public interest.

That the government placed its own well-being above public safety must act as a wakeup call to review the very system of government which makes such negligence possible.

Jaffa: Haredim protest against construction claiming ancient graves

By Eli Senyor May 16, 2010

Some 20 ultra-Orthodox arrived at the Andromeda Hill area in Jaffa on Sunday to protest against infrastructure work taking place there.

Haredim riot in Jerusalem

By Shmulik Grossman May 11, 2010

The reason for the latest angry outburst is the arrest of neighborhood resident Fischel Greenfeld, suspected of organizing violent haredi protests about two years ago.

The demonstrations at the time were directed at an electronics chain that sold goods “banned” by rabbis to the Orthodox public, including MP4 players.

Plan: Incentives for hiring Haredim

By Haim Bior and Lior Dattel May 17, 2010

The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry is preparing a plan to introduce tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox men and women into the general workforce.

Today, only 26.5% of the Haredi population is employed outside of the ultra-Orthodox sector, says the ministry.

Ben-Eliezer presents plan to boost employment among haredim

By Jonah Mandel May 17, 2010

Upon presenting the program, Ben-Eliezer ordered the immediate appointment of a head of staff for haredi employment, to ensure the plan’s implementation.

Plans made to reduce Haredi unemployment

By Gil Kol May 16, 2010

Haredi leaders from various parties participated Wednesday in a discussion held at the behest of Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to find solutions for the bleak employment outlook in the sector ahead of the cabinet discussion on the matter next week.

“We are prepared to continue living in poverty if getting out of it necessitates a change in lifestyle,” said Minister Atias.

Modiin Illit Mayor Rabbi Yaakov Gutterman said, “Free daycare and nursery school must be provided for every haredi woman who wants to work.”

Deri: Haredim must develop better PR

By Kobi Nahshoni May 14, 2010

Deri went on to say that yeshiva students were “the people of Israel’s Sayeret Matkal”, (referring to the elite IDF unit) and that he was proud to represent them.

When asked whether the secular public had anything to fear he answered, “I promise them that when we are the majority and the regime is in our hands, we will be more democratic than they are towards us.”

Deri added, “The oppression that exists today is not religious but anti-religious.” In his vision of the future, he said, no one would tell anyone else how to live.

“The change will be in public. Education will not be haredi, but more Jewish. We want to tell you: we will not damage your lifestyle, and you will run your private lives any way you wish, but the character of the public sphere will be more Jewish.”

One Foot Out The Door

By Michele Chabin May 12, 2010

Anat Hoffman, director of the Reform Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) also criticizes the haredi school system, which does not teach secular subjects like math and science.

“I think in five years, a quarter of the haredi student body under 18 will not be employable adults. What will keep the city afloat?

Secular people have been very accommodating but they don’t want to be ‘friyerim,’” Hoffman said, using the Hebrew word for “suckers.”

O Jerusalem

By Liel Leibovitz Opinion May 13, 2010

One day, I pray, Jews will once again return to Jerusalem and rebuild it, Jews who have faith in the ancient traditions but also in the promise of a better future, Jews who feel as comfortable with Twitter as they do with their tefillin, Jews who are confident enough in their birthright to treat others with dignity and respect.

If they ever come back to Jerusalem, these Jews will make it the city Teddy Kollek fought for, both particularly Jewish and truly international, a city, in other words, I would very much love.

Welfare system could cause Israel to collapse, economist warns

By Edmund Sanders May 10, 2010

Interview with Dan Ben-David, executive director of Jerusalem-based Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel.

“We support a lifestyle of nonworking that is pretty unparalleled in the Western world,” said Ben-David, who is also a Tel Aviv University professor. “On the one hand, we have this state-of-the-art part of the economy. Then there is the rest of the country that is like a huge drag.”

What worries Ben-David most is that the nonproductive part of Israel’s population, which survives largely on welfare, is also the fastest growing.

There can never be too much Torah

By Jonathan Rosenblum Opinion May 14, 2010

The writer is the director of Jewish Media Resources.

(I’m not here addressing the practical issue of how many full-time Torah students are economically sustainable, which is a pressing internal issue for the haredi community as well as the broader society.)

Other works, even when they contain “accurate and valuable” information, have no potential to “incorporate any significance and excellence in the soul of the [reader and]… absolutely no power to rectify creation.”

From this perspective, there can never be too much Torah learning.

MK Meir Sheetrit, would you join the Netanyahu government to fight the ultra-Orthodox?

By Jonathan Lis May 17, 2010

“Currently, the government is surrendering entirely to the ultra-Orthodox. The problem began when the former education minister, Yuli Tamir, gave up on forcing them to teach the core curriculum in their schools. I was opposed to that.

Now a growing number of children do not get a Zionist education, and get education about working or army service.”

This style does not work

By Merav Michaeli Opinion May 1, 2010

Happy days are here again for secular politicians and journalists, with all the talk of a consensus against the ultra-Orthodox, who do not study a core curriculum and who go on to not join the workforce and not serve in the army.

But it is not that simple. There is no real link between core subjects and joining the labor force, and certainly not with military service. There are many jobs for which core subjects are not required.

Taking their licks to survive

By Tamar Rotem May 13, 2010

As a rule, the Haredi community is very sensitive when it comes to any food business, big or small, that has chairs and tables, which can encourage idleness, loitering and, of course, dangerous mingling of men and women.

Many people in the Haredi community are sure that the real cause of the confrontation between Zisalek and Mea Shearim residents is the rivalry among the various groups that grant kosher certification. They are competing for business that entails lots of prestige and money.

Boycott of Eida Chareidis Launched

By Yechiel Spira May 13, 2010

In a chain letter circulating around Eretz Yisrael, a letter estimated to have reached tens or even hundreds of thousands of people, the secular community is seeking to launch a boycott of products that bear the supervision of the Eida Chareidis.

Senior prosecutor: ‘Starving mother’ saved by fear of haredim May 14, 2010

The explanations provided Thursday by the State Prosecution regarding its decision to sign off on the “starving mother’s” plea bargain didn’t manage to convince many people in the legal system.

In a conversation with Ynet, a senior prosecutor leveled scathing criticism on the process and pointed an accusatory figure on the softened approach taken by enforcement bodies towards women when there is fear of renewed haredi riots in the capital.

The Mea She’arim mob

By Shahar Ilan Opinion May 11, 2010

The writer is deputy director for research and public relations at Hiddush

These are not isolated excesses – large crowds take part in the incidents. Mea She’arim is ruled by the rabbinical court of the Eda Haredit, the extreme ultra-Orthodox group that could stop the riotous behavior if it wanted to. But it doesn’t want to.

Haredim aren’t rightist

By Menachem Geshaid Opinion May 1, 2010

As absurd as this may sound, the ultra-Orthodox community is paying a price for daring to join rightist governments, especially if these are led by Benjamin Netanyahu.

The anti-haredi wave that had been sweeping through Israel in recent weeks is part of the overall animosity towards the Netanyahu government, which haredi parties are full partners in.

State Comptroller on Civil Service Rabbonim

By Yechiel Spira May 12, 2010

The comptroller cites that in too many cases, rabbonim are not required to give an accounting for their time and actions or inactions, and some hold additional jobs, part time and full time.

‘42% of Jews identify as secular’ May 16, 2010

42 percent of Israeli Jews aged over 20 describe themselves as ‘secular’ according to the Central Bureau of Statistics annual social survey, released on Sunday. An additional 25% of Jews defined themselves as ‘not very religious traditionalists’.

More haredi women than men are part of the workforce according to the data. Over 90% of non-haredi Jewish men were described as “belonging to the workforce” as against 52% of haredi men. Among women, the figures were 80% of non-haredi women compared with 61% of haredi women.

Israelis Believe in Themselves

By Doris Strub Epstein May 15, 2010

Professor Gabriel Ben Dor teaches political science at the University of Haifa, where he was formerly rector and is a Fellow at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs.

There is a “huge problem” with the approximately 400,000 non-Jewish Israelis from the Russian speaking immigrant community.

“They work, pay taxes, serve in the IDF, speak Hebrew but they are not considered as Jews.” Ben Dor calls this “outrageous”.

Ahead of Jerusalem Day, reports highlight extent of city’s poverty

By Asaf Shtull-Trauring May 11, 2010

The majority of Jerusalem’s Jewish residents (64 percent) believe relations between religious and secular people are not good, compared to 57 percent in the rest of Israel; 86 percent of Jerusalem’s secular residents share this view compared to 49 percent of religious Jerusalemites.

The students who matriculated in Jerusalem in 2008 made up only 33 percent of the city’s 12th graders, due to the large number of students in ultra-Orthodox schools, whose students do not take matriculation exams.

Report: 20% of Haredi kids have no providing parent

By Yael Branovsky May 17, 2010

About a fifth of the haredi children in Israel live in families without a providing parent, and some 37% of them have disabilities – especially learning disabilities, according to data presented on Monday by the Ministry of Social Affairs ahead of a convention about the Schmidt plan – a special plan for children at risk.

Moshavim illegally selling burial sites

By Shlomit Tzur May 1, 2010

Israel has a law regulating non-religious – civil – burial, but State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss reports that a number of agricultural cooperative moshavim have illegally been selling land for graves, in contravention of the law.

Lindenstrauss also found that neither the National Insurance Institute, the Israel Lands Administration nor the Ministry of Religious Services was taking care to enforce the law.

Has Israel abandoned the Mount of Olives? Editorial May 15, 2010

Lost among more sensational findings last week were the state comptroller’s lamentations over the sad state of the Mount of Olives Cemetery – the Jewish people’s most ancient burial ground and final resting place to a pantheon of religious, spiritual, cultural and national paragons, including even the prophets Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi.

Vandalism returns to Mount of Olives cemetery

By Shmulik Grossman May 12, 2010

In the shadow of harsh criticism from the state comptroller on the neglect of the Mount of Olives, 23 smashed headstones were discovered Wednesday in the ancient cemetery.

Machon Tal women’s college pushing for new J’lem campus

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich May 12, 2010

The 41-year-old Jerusalem College of Technology has donors ready to finance the building of a Jerusalem campus to turn religious women into engineers, computer programmers, industrial managers, accountants and nurses.

7th-Graders to Write an Entire Bible in One Day

By Hillel Fendel May 16, 2010

Monday, the day before Shavuot Eve – the holiday of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai – over 23,000 seventh-graders will take part in writing an entire Bible.

As far as can be ascertained, it will be the first time that the entire Bible (Tanach) will be written in one day.

Each of the participating schools throughout the country will be assigned a chapter, and each child above Bar or Bat-Mitzvah age (12 for girls, 13 for boys) will write a verse on a special page.

Group calls for restoration of Silwan synagogue

By Abe Selig May 12, 2010

Members of the Ateret Cohanim organization on Tuesday morning said that if Jerusalem Police continued to balk at a court order calling for the eviction of Arab residents currently living in a historic Yemenite synagogue inside the Silwan neighborhood, the organization would undertake the eviction on its own.

A glimpse of Redemption

By Michael Freund Opinion May 12, 2010

Onlookers stared in amazement as haredim and religious Zionists, “black hats” and “crocheted yarmulkes,” held onto each other and with a familial grip, revealing the brotherly instinct within.

Religion and State in Israel

May 17, 2010 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

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

All rights reserved.

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