Religion and State in Israel – June 28, 2010 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

June 28, 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.

*Articles on the Emmanuel Haredi school segregation case will be included in an upcoming special edition.

Callous, institutionalized, official discrimination

By Mendel Lopez Opinion June 24, 2010

Mendel Lopez is a pseudonym

As someone who was brought up on the Torah traditions of Sephardi Jewry and who aspires to move forward along the paths of holiness, I can see no other world in which my family and I can live.

In my view, the discrimination against Sephardi Jews that is so prevalent in the haredi community in Israel is not a sectoral issue that can simply be solved by concerted efforts at the community level.

…[A]n inability to accept the Other or Otherness is a built-in feature in the haredi outlook.

Class action

By Peggy Cidor June 25, 2010

Benny Cohen, then head of the Haredi Education Department at the Jerusalem Municipality:

“In Ashkenazi haredi families, when a member leaves the religion, the rest of the family ostracizes him. In some extreme cases, they will even sit shiva for him or her because they fear an eventual impact on the other children. They would rather sacrifice one child than jeopardize the rest.”

“But in Sephardi families,” he continued, “you can find a haredi son, a religious Zionist, a traditionalist and a totally secular child. They all respect their parents, share the same holiday or Shabbat meal and remain a rather close-knit family.

It may look warm and beautiful, but haredi Ashkenazi families look upon it differently. They are afraid of a girl who might visit an aunt who has a TV at home and perhaps dresses in a way that is too provocative in their eyes. So they will never accept a girl whose family has ‘a problem,’” he said.

Taking in order to give

By Shahar Ilan Opinion June 21, 2010

The writer is vice president of research and information for Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality.

The court’s really important ruling last week was its abolishment, as of the end of 2010, of welfare payments for married yeshiva students.

…the money that is saved should not be taken from the Haredim. Instead, it should be invested in vocational training for yeshiva students, in job creation, in small-business loans, and in salaries for more Haredi soldiers, including in the career army.

…It should be invested in rescuing Haredi society from poverty and creating a situation in which many fewer Haredim will need guaranteed income allowances. It is doubtful that there could be a better investment than this for the Israeli economy.

The Haredi Challenge

Forward Editorial June 23, 2010

The State of Israel is faced with so many existential challenges, from within and without, that it is foolhardy to privilege one above another, especially from afar. But the continued, passionate defiance of secular law and government authority by ultra-Orthodox Jews is quickly posing a serious threat to the very nature of Israeli democracy.

…The common thread, increasingly, however, is a mounting resistance to the rule of law, whether expressed through court decisions or government policy, and a determined willingness to separate from the norms of Israeli society.

The decline and fall of Haredi Judaism

By Michael Hirsch Opinion June 27, 2010

I survey the situation, I see a movement that has lost its way, forgotten its mission; most disturbing of all, the branch of Judaism which should be steering us in the right direction, the Orthodox (of which I myself am a member), is the one leading us astray.

Simply reading the daily newspapers or listening to the news on the broadcast media leaves one to wonder – whatever happened to Jewish religious/ethical principles?

The five-state solution

By Daniel Gordis Opinion June 24, 2010

The writer is senior vice president of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

Those who argue that the two-state solution will not work are right. We need not a two-state solution, but a five-state solution.


4. Haredia will be the ultra-Orthodox state. Based primarily in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Mea She’arim, Geula and Sanhedria, along with Bnei Brak and perhaps a few other localities, Haredia would be the country that last week’s 100,000 plus protesters clearly desire.

It would have a Supreme Council of Rabbinic Elders, not the vile secular Supreme Court that so offends them.

They would be free to do whatever they wished with their schools, and with their Sephardim.

They could impose a halachically based system of law as other countries have done with Shari’a.

They could virtually guarantee the exclusion of all the nefarious influences they so deeply object to in contemporary Israel.

They could impose whatever standards for conversion they wished, without causing a rift with the rest of the Jewish world, which would actually have more in common with Turkey than it will with Haredia.

In London, as opposed to Israel, most Haredim go to work

By Meirav Arlosoroff June 22, 2010

In Israel, the majority of Haredi men study in yeshivas and don’t work. In London, it’s the opposite.

Most Haredi men do work, even if their jobs are not particularly well-paid. An analysis by Hagay Levin of the Prime Minister’s Office’s National Economic Council, based on Gonen’s research, found that 18% of Haredi men in London study in a yeshiva their entire lives.

Most of these are the best students. But in Israel, the parallel percentage is between 60% and 75%.

Former Jerusalem deputy mayor Yosef ‘Pepe’ Alalu, should residents be afraid of Nir Barkat?

By Nir Hasson June 23, 2010

Interview with Yosef ‘Pepe’ Alalu:

Haredim are not stupid, they understand that without secular people and without a strong secular community they have nothing to do in Jerusalem. Without us there will be terrible poverty here, there won’t be roads and there won’t be parks.

Study: Faith in court system tumbles among Haredim, settlers

By Tomer Zarchin June 22, 2010

Among the ultra-Orthodox public, only 9 percent trust the court system, down from 14 percent last year and 15 percent in 2000.

Nevertheless, this community’s trust level does not seem to be particularly affected by any specific ruling; it has remained far below that of the general population throughout the decade, the study concluded.

Jerusalem: Haredim attack vehicle over Electra stickers

By Shmulik Grossman June 22, 2010

During Sunday’s incident, which occurred at around 7:30 pm, the two women inside the vehicle, who were on their way to visit a rabbi in Mea Shearim and receive his blessing, were surrounded by dozens of ultra-Orthodox who pelted the vehicle with stones.

The women alerted police, who arrived at the scene several minutes later and managed to rescue the women unharmed.

Haredi media: World Cup ‘waste of time’

By Ari Galahar June 23, 2010

The National Religious and the haredi sectors are not celebrating the World Cup. Despite thousands of haredi and National Religious yeshiva students who will occupy themselves in the coming months with the results of World Cup matches, nothing has been written of the international soccer tournament in the haredi press.

How Hasidism Went Astray

By Arthur Green June 23, 2010

Out of the Holocaust’s ashes, the community began to rebuild itself…

All of this happened with the support of other Jews, very prominently including the government of Israel. We were all deeply moved and impressed by the faith-energy displayed by this old-new Jewish community, committed to reconstituting itself in new and uncomfortable surroundings.

Impressive natural increase, in contrast to the rest of us remarkably infertile Jews, helped the postwar Hasidim regain significant numerical representation within world Jewry.

Israeli military draft exemption laws worked to create a huge society of largely idle Hasidic males, supposedly full-time Torah students, a phenomenon completely unlike anything in earlier Hasidic history.

Naturei Karta assault Haredi MKs in Jerusalem

By Yair Ettinger June 24, 2010

United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev were assaulted on Thursday both physically and verbally by extreme ultra-Orthodox members of the Naturei Karta movement in the religious Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea She’arim.

Discrimination Within Orthodoxy?

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz Opinion June 25, 2010

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, the Senior Jewish Educator at UCLA and a 5th year PhD candidate at Columbia University in Moral Psychology & Epistemology.

This case is not simply a remnant of old racial divides between Western and Eastern Jews, but rather is indicative of an insidious and expanding problem.

…As our vibrant Modern Orthodox culture remains fully committed to halakhah while increasingly embracing religious pluralism, halakhic egalitarianism, communal inclusiveness, and universal social justice, our leadership should no longer allow discriminatory Hareidi positions to be the global face of Orthodoxy.

At an Israeli Crossroads

By Bambi Sheleg Opinion June 24, 2010

The ultra-Orthodox educational system is supported by the state, but the latter is not invited to express its opinion regarding the content of studies and the values conveyed in its schools.

The state functions as a kind of automatic bank teller for the ultra-Orthodox community. In effect, the governments of Israel have erected a kind of “state within a state.” And now, this sub-state is threatening the primary state.

Shimon Peres on the ultra-Orthodox

The Los Angeles Times June 22, 2010

Q: Some ultra-Orthodox would agree that there is only one law, but they say it’s religious law that trumps the state.

President Shimon Peres: If they want to educate their children in a different way, they can make a private school. The state will not pay for it. The law of the land is that all schools that are supported by the state cannot have any discrimination or any separate system of education.

We need a constitution

By Mordechai Kremnitzer Opinion June 23, 2010

The Democracy Institute’s proposed constitution does not perpetuate rabbis’ control over marriage and divorce. It leaves this matter to a political decision. Only a person willing to risk breaking down the court entirely will support a decision by the judiciary on such a loaded issue.

The institute does, however, suggest establishing a separate body for registering civil partnerships.

Contractor bows to Haredi pressure to protect Muslim gravesite

By Yuval Azoulay June 24, 2010

In the face of pressure from ultra-Orthodox activists, a contractor in Yavne has agreed to pour a layer of concrete at his own expense – one million shekels – before constructing a building on a suspected gravesite.

“We don’t care if these are Jews, Muslims or Christians,” Atra Kadisha activist Arahle Yekter told Haaretz. “A tomb is like a home. The dead person purchased the land in which he will lie for his eternal rest, and this rest must never be interrupted in any way.”

Religion and State in Israel

June 28, 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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