Religion and State in Israel – August 9, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

August 9, 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.

A hasty decision on draft-dodging

Haaretz Editorial August 4, 2010

The decision to eliminate the requirement of army service for Haredi yeshiva students aged 22 and older looks like another hasty, opportunistic move perpetrated by the current government with the goal of preventing thorough discussion of and decisions on controversial issues that threaten the coalition’s stability.

Henceforth, it will be even easier for some 60,000 yeshiva students who declare that “Torah is their profession” to evade service in the Israel Defense Forces.

A wrongheaded change on IDF exemptions for Haredim Editorial August 3, 2010

Ironically, the cabinet’s decision comes at a time when more haredim are being integrated into the IDF thanks to special programs tailored to the needs of the community. Many of these new IDF tracks also provide the haredi soldier with invaluable occupational training.

As long as mandatory conscription remains in place, wholesale exemption of an entire segment of society is not fair. It’s not too smart, either.

IDF blasts decision exempting Yeshiva students from army duty

By Anshel Pfeffer, Jonathan Lis and Yair Ettinger August 3, 2010

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday slammed the cabinet’s decision to cancel compulsory military service for ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students aged 22 and up, despite the IDF’s objections.

The Reform Movement said replacing military service with a year of national service would give a legal stamp of approval to an entire community’s evasion of its duties. Nothing is more destructive to society than the sense you’re being discriminated against, a representative said.

Move to exempt younger haredi men from army

By Jonah Mandel August 3, 2010

A clandestine cabinet decision made over two weeks ago to expand the Tal Law to exempt 22-year-old haredi men from military service and thereby promote their swifter entry into the workforce, was slammed this week by the Hiddush Organization for Equality and Freedom.

…While much of the economic arrangements bill needs to pass three readings on the Knesset floor, this clause is being put forth as an expansion of the defense minister’s authorities, rather than as a change to the Tal Law, which would necessitate a parliamentary vote, according to Hiddush.

Knesset to discuss draft exemption

By Rebecca Anna Stoil August 5, 2010

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced late Wednesday that he had agreed to an opposition move to call the Knesset plenum into special session [this] week.

Evidence supports Elon abuse case

By staff and Ben Hartman August 8, 2010

Police finished their investigation into Rabbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon Sunday, accused of child molestation several months ago, and found that there was sufficient evidence to connect him to the allegations.

The police submitted the case file to the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s office, and a hearing is expected before any indictment would be issued.

Evidence was found alleging Elon committed indecent acts with two minors, one of them by force.

Police recommend trying Rabbi Moti Elon for sex crimes

By Tomer Zarchin August 8, 2010

After additional investigation revealed evidence bolstering the boy’s claims, Weinstein recommended opening a criminal investigation against Elon. During the criminal investigation, police located another boy who also claimed that Elon allegedly sexually assaulted him when he was a minor.

Police: Charge Rabbi Elon with sexual abuse

By Eli Senyor August 8, 2010

A team working under the auspices of the police’s Lahav Unit succeeded in reaching a number of complainants, young boys who had allegedly been sexually assaulted by Elon. During the investigation, one of the witnesses agreed to give a full detailed testimony incriminating Rabbi Elon of committing indecent acts on him when he was a minor.

Rabbi Elon to face criminal probe after alleged victim comes forward

By Tomer Zarchin August 5, 2010

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has ordered the police to open a criminal investigation against Rabbi Mordechai Elon, one of Israel’s leading religious Zionist rabbis, on suspicion of sexual offenses against minors who consulted with him.

The decision was kept under wraps, but Haaretz has learned that Elon was questioned under caution by the police about a month ago.

Report: Police probing Rabbi Elon August 4, 2010

Police recently reopened criminal investigations based on sexual abuse allegations made against Rabbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon, it was reported Wednesday.

A former student of the charismatic rabbi accused him of sexual abuse, which sparked the new scrutiny. Police expect to present their findings to the state attorney within a few weeks.

IDF refuses to recruit intersexed haredi man

By Aviad Glickman August 2, 2010

A 30-year-old ultra-Orthodox man who was born with both female and male sex organs and was denied a request to join the Israel Defense Forces said Monday that the army was discriminating against him.

The man, who recently made aliyah and settled in Jerusalem after having surgery to remove his female genitalia overseas was born with a uterus, breasts, ovaries but no testicle sack.

Hesder Recruits Enlist, are Told ‘Be Torah Students in Combat’

By Maayana Miskin August 1, 2010

450 students in the IDF’s Hesder program, which combines active service and Torah study, enlisted this past week in their military service units. The majority – 260 – joined ground forces combat units.

Torn-up Judaism

By Rivka Lubitch Opinion August 5, 2010

Rivka Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women’s Justice

According to Yitzchak, the couple then presented the [pre-nuptial] agreement with its copies to the rabbi who was registering the marriage and asked him to certify it.

The rabbi started to read and sign the agreement and then stopped and asked: “Who drafted this agreement?”

Apparently, he did not like the couple’s answer and he said to them angrily, “I’m not signing this agreement. We don’t accept this agreement. It’s not in accordance with the halacha.” He then tore the agreement up in front of the eyes of the astonished couple and asked them to leave the room.

Rabbis: Call police even on Shabbat August 3, 2010

On Thursday, the rabbis of the Tzohar organization issued a clarification emphasizing the halachic aspect which allows, and even compels, the calling of the police on Shabbat.

The signatories include a long and distinguished list of rabbis, such as Yaacov Ariel, Aharon Lichtenstein, Haim Druckman, Shlomo Aviner, Ram Hacohen, Haim Navon, David Stav, Rafi Feyerstein, Shai Piron and Israel Rozen.

The Masculinization of All Things Religious

By Elana Maryles Sztokman Opinion August 4, 2010

Eleven women’s groups got together last week to challenge gender discrimination that is written into Israeli law. As it stands, the Law for Appointing Judges bans women from applying for the position of Executive Director of the Rabbinical Court.

Although such a law would have no doubt have been thrown out long ago from the American legal system, in Israel Version 2010, getting this law revoked is harder, it seems, than bringing the mountain to Moses, so to speak.

Last Wednesday, a group of women’s organizations, including the Israel Women’s Network, the Center for Women’s Justice, Naamat, WIZO, Kolech, ICAR, and several others, appealed to the Supreme Court in a suit against Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman, to repeal the law on the grounds that it violates the basic human rights of women and women’s freedom of employment.

Sa’ar, They Made You a Red-Riding Hood

By Roni Yavin August 4, 2010

Roni Yavin is the Director General of Beit Midrash Elul, a member of the Israeli network of Batei Midrash.

Originally published in YNet; translation provided to by the author.

A new morning, a new Minister of Education, and once again, a new Jewish heritage curriculum. Jewish heritage, paradoxically, turns out to be the most flexible and unstable subject in the public education system.

The Shenhar Commission delivered its recommendations on the subject over a decade ago (1994), yet the clause regarding “balanced criteria for the subject of modern education regarding Jewish culture in the framework of the core curriculum,” has been long forgotten.

Rabbinic group advocating for Israel

By Jonah Mandel August 3, 2010

A new grassroots movement of rabbis from all denominations in Israel and the Diaspora is voicing its concern over “the drift in much of world opinion that has made it legitimate to single out Israel for blame and censure in respect to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

Behind the initiative is Rabbi Michael Boyden, the English born head of Kehilat Yonatan Reform Congregation in Hod Hasharon and director of the National Rabbinic Court of the Israel Council of Progressive Rabbis.

Change the organ donation default

By Amalia Rosenblum August 5, 2010

A national plan was launched this week to reimburse living organ donors, with the goal of encouraging Israelis to donate a kidney or liver lobe.

Obviously, part of the reason for the high response in European countries is that not many of their citizens obey the Chief Rabbinate’s edicts, which demand adding a rabbi to the team determining brain death.

But even in Israel, changing the organ donation default from refusal to agreement would dramatically alter the situation of those waiting for an organ transplant. The benefits of such a change would certainly outweigh a plan to fund five meetings with a psychologist.

The problem is constitutional

By Dahlia Scheindlin Opinion August 6, 2010

The constitution can, however, determine that the Jewish identity of Israel resides in its spirit, not in its laws; in our national symbols, our anthem, our calendar. Jewish tradition and religion may be publicly embraced but not legislated and certainly not imposed.

This would require a great compromise on the part of the religious communities.

VIDEO: Rabbi Dances and Sings after Police Questioning

By Yoni Kempinski and Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu August 2, 2010

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg, head of the Od Yosef Chai (Joseph Still Lives) yeshiva in Samaria, danced and sang with his students Monday after he was questioned by police in central Israel over a book in which he wrote a preface.

Nefesh B’Nefesh brings largest number of future soldiers

By Bracha Kurtzer August 4, 2010

Two-hundred thirty-four new Israeli immigrants – including a record-breaking 85 young adults who have committed to joining the IDF – were welcomed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday by Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency.

Many of the young adults aboard the plane who plan to serve in the IDF are participating in Garin Tzabar, a course that provides a platform for lone soldiers to connect with their peers and serve their country in the most effective way possible.

Ahad Ha’Am At Last

By Wayne Firestone Opinion August 2, 2010

Wayne L. Firestone is the President and CEO of Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Life.

This article originally appeared in The Peoplehood Papers, vol.5, Jewish Peoplehood and Zionism.

Reprinted by with permission.

The new era of Israel-Diaspora relations isn’t a rejection of classical Zionism. Rather, it is the acceptance of a different model of classical Zionism, the one propounded by “cultural Zionist” Ahad Ha’Am.

And it is uniquely suited for the today’s generation of college-age Jews, the so-called Millennials that are the focus of the work of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

Social entrepreneurs make a difference in Israel

By Tamar Zmora August 8, 2010

Through grassroots initiatives and small business models, 16 fellows from the PresenTense organization presented their projects in a Launch Night in Jerusalem recently.

A budding organization founded in 2007, PresenTense promotes community outreach and fosters innovation in today’s youth. The organization hosts a six-week summer institute geared towards endorsing small business models in Jewish communities both in Israel and abroad.

Why Christian Zionists Love Jews and Other Notes from the End-Times

By Rachel Tabachnick August 4, 2010

The campaign for Jews to partner with Christian Zionists has intensified since the formation of Christians United for Israel in 2006, a powerful political entity which now claims 426,000 members, 40 events per month, a growing network on college campuses, and Hispanic and African American outreach.

African interfaith clergy in Israel to learn

By Jonah Mandel August 5, 2010

An interfaith mission of African clergy is in Israel to learn from one another and local experts about ways religion can contribute to and inspire community development projects.

The Foreign Ministry teamed up with the American Jewish Committee to bring together two Muslim imams, seven Christian clergy members and one rabbi from Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and South Africa.

Religion and State in Israel

August 9, 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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