Religion and State in Israel – August 16, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

August 16, 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.

Ministers back away from support for Haredi draft exemption

By Rebecca Anna Stoil August 10, 2010

Government ministers actively distanced themselves on Monday from last week’s cabinet decision to expand haredi draft exemptions, with ministers refusing to defend their act on the Knesset floor and calling on the government to hold a second hearing on the exemption.

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima), head of the Knesset team tasked with examining the application of the Tal Law:

“It turns out that every year the oversight of Education Ministry discovers hundreds of students who don’t uphold the criteria – who are supposed to go to the yeshivas and don’t go. There is a concern that many of these are those who have received deferments by declaring that Torah study is their vocation.”

Haredi draft to top Knesset agenda

By Rebecca Anna Stoil August 9, 2010

The “Equal Burden” organization plans a military-style stretcher march outside the Knesset an hour before the Monday debate.

In addition, MK Yochanan Plessner (Kadima), who leads the subcommittee probing the efficacy of the Tal Law to expand haredi national service, has scheduled a rare televised session of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee subcommittee to discuss problems with the controversial law…

Petition: Cancel army exemption for young Haredim

By Aviad Glickman August 9, 2010

The Movement for Quality Government has filed a petition Monday with the High Court of Justice against the government, finance minister and defense minister, demanding to revoke the automatic IDF service exemption for haredi men over the age of 22.

The petitioners claim that the government’s decision on the matter takes away the defense minister’s authority to make the call on the issue, contradicts a law postponing IDF service to yeshiva students, and forces the minister to approve civil service.

‘Haredim must be allowed to educate their children as they see fit’

By Yair Ettinger August 9, 2010

A Haredi education is no different than a state one, and even gives the students tools to enter the job market, a number of ultra-Orthodox students told the High Court yesterday in response to a petition against exempting Haredi schools from the national core curriculum.

The response, authored by a several former and current yeshiva students, led by attorney Aviad Hacohen, made pragmatic and principled arguments that there is no difference between Haredi and secular core curricula, and ultra-Orthodox parents should be able to educate their children as they see fit.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on State school education

(‘Haredim must be allowed to educate their children as they see fit’)

By Yair Ettinger August 9, 2010

Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said in his weekly sermon that graduates of state schools were “fools and Shabbat desecrators.”

“People worry about matriculation exams, they want their son to have a job,” the rabbi told his followers.

“Why, are rabbis starving? God provides, provides any living being. What’s the matter? He’ll have a living, he’ll have everything. He’ll be a rabbi, a Torah scholar, a rabbinical judge, they’ll give him lots of money. Yes. Why should he think of other things?”

The boycott of the secular

By Na’ama Sheffi Opinion August 11, 2010

The ultra-Orthodox insistence on avoiding exposure to core studies in the Israeli education system entrenches a single truth: They are not interested in being part of the society around them.

…In the Diaspora they accepted the law of the kingdom. In the Holy Land the rules of the game are different. One may reject outright the majority society and even demand what the ultra-Orthodox themselves are denying from that society and the minorities living in its midst – acceptance from within, openness and liberalism.

Emanuel – What Now?

By Rabbi S. Aisenstark Opinion August 11, 2010

Rabbi S. Aisenstark is Dean of Bais Yaakov Bnos Raizel Seminary in Montreal

Following the debacle in the city of Emanuel, we of the Orthodox world, must take a good hard look at what really happened there and why. We must evaluate our needs for the future and what we have to do in order to improve our Torah way of life.

…I am not, by any means, advocating that our children should be friends and play with non-Jewish children. However, I am strongly advocating that no fence should ever be erected to separate two Bais Yaakov girls.

Rabbinical forum says indictment doesn’t affect Elon review

By Ben Hartman August 10, 2010

The police’s announcement on Sunday that there was enough evidence to pursue sex crimes charges against Rabbi Mordechai “Moti” Elon was greeted with a measured response by members of a rabbinical forum that fights sexual abuse by religious leaders, a member of the forum told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Rabbi David Stav said the Takana forum does not review allegations of sexual impropriety on a criminal or legal level, and therefore the police announcement would have no impact on its recommendations regarding Elon.

Amid sexual abuse claims, synagogue revokes invite to Rabbi Elon

By Yair Ettinger August 10, 2010

A Tel Aviv synagogue yesterday withdrew its invitation to Rabbi Mordechai Elon to teach a class, a day after police recommended indicting Elon on charges of sexual abuse.

Elon was scheduled to teach a class at the Heichal Meir synagogue on Thursday. He planned to discuss the teachings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, regarded as religious Zionism’s founding father.

Child Abuse: Rav Motti Elon and Komemiyut

By Rabbi David Morris Opinion August 9, 2010

The incentive for close communities, whether National Religious or Ultra-Orthodox, to contain scandal by trying to control the behaviour of alleged pedophiles, without recourse to the police, social services and mental health professionals, is a hazardous policy – which indeed, in both cases, seems to have back-fired with terrible costs to the safety of children (and, in Rabbi Elon’s case, over 18 year old youths).

Mass support rally planned for defiant rabbis

By Akiva Novick August 15, 2010

Rabbi Dov Lior

The summoning of Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef for police questioning stirred outrage among the religious and haredi public, and now the Religious Zionist Movement plans to hold a large gathering in support of the two, with the attendance of hundreds of rabbis.

Head of Yeshivat Or Etzion Rabbi Chaim Drukman, who is among the moderate leaders of the Religious Zionist rabbis and Chairman of the Union of Hesder Yeshivot, addressed Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein over the weekend and urged him to cancel the investigation summons.

Rabbis fail to report to police

By Aviad Magnezi August 10, 2010

Rabbis Yaakov Yosef and Dov Lior were summoned for questioning in the case of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira’s book, “Torat Hamelech,” but Lior failed to appear to the meeting scheduled Monday while Yosef announced he did not intend to come to the meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

The two have expressed their support for the book and are suspected of incitement.

Rabbis refuse to be questioned on incitement to kill non-Jews August 9, 2010

In a written statement that aired on Channel 2 on Monday, Lior and Yosef wrote: “The investigation is contrary to the laws of the Torah – therefore we will not take part in it.”

Rabbis refuse questioning over war book

By Yaakov Lappin August 10, 2010

‘Our holy Torah will not be subject to interrogation!” the statement read.

“The attempt to prevent the rabbis of Israel from expressing their opinion, the opinion of the Torah, through intimidation and threats is a most severe act and will not succeed. Authorities that act this way join the authorities of evil that have banned the study of Torah and lifted up their hand against the Torah of Israel.”

Rightist rabbis: Let ‘one of our women’ probe raid

By Kobi Nahshoni August 15, 2010

Dozens of rightist rabbis drafted a list of women candidates to be appointed to the Turkel Commission, investigating the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla raid, and are calling upon the government to include at least one of them on the investigating body.

Among those included on the list are: Shulamit Melamed, Esther Lior, Dr. Sara Druckman, Esther Levanon (the wives of Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Haim Druckman, and Rabbi Elyakim Levanon respectively), and author Emunah Elon.

New emissary to crypto-Jews of Portugal named August 11, 2010

Beginning this week, Rabbi Elisha Salas will be Shavei Israel’s new emissary to the Bnei Anousim, or crypto-Jews of North Portugal.

As Shavei Israel’s emissary in Portugal, Rabbi Salas will teach Torah, Jewish culture and Jewish tradition to Bnei Anousim (whom historians refer to by the derogatory term “Marranos”), conducting a wide range of social and educational activities in the process.

The rabbi’s work will focus mainly in the Belmonte community, where a number of Bnei Anousim returned to Judaism in recent decades and now live as a traditional, thriving Jewish community.

Israel’s Keenest Yeshiva Students

By Nathan Jeffay August 10, 2010

A year ago they were living by the bank of China’s Yellow River. Now, the seven yarmulke-and-tzitzit-clad young men, sitting in central Jerusalem and chatting about their lives, are Israel’s keenest yeshiva students.

…The latest arrivals spent their first six months in Israel on Sde Eliyahu, a religious kibbutz in the north of the country. They took Hebrew-language classes in the morning and worked in the afternoon.

For one month, they then lived in an apartment in Jerusalem and studied at the Machon Meir yeshiva.

And since the beginning of July they have been studying in a program that Shavei compiled especially for them at Hamivtar yeshiva in Efrat, which is headed by the founding rabbi of New York’s Lincoln Square Synagogue, Shlomo Riskin.

After such intensive preparations for conversion, all of Israel’s local rabbinates — even the strictest ones, which in recent years have controversially contested some conversions — are expected to accept the students’ Jewishness.

The Days That Are About To Come

By Bezalel Cohen Opinion August 12, 2010

It is now widely recognized among the members of a large segment of the haredi community that the maintenance of the present situation at any price could prove more dangerous than the introduction of a change in the haredi way of life and might even lead many Jews to leave the haredi and modern Orthodox worlds.

The immense success of the construction of the haredi Torah world over the past few decades is now being seriously threatened. In order to prevent large numbers of Jews from leaving the haredi and modern Orthodox worlds, new tools will be needed for dealing with the situation.

‘Shabbat nightmare’ in Bnei Brak

By Akiva Novick August 11, 2010

Hundreds of residents in the haredi enclave of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, remained with no electricity over the weekend, after the Israel Electric company refrained from repairing a malfunction as not to offend Shabbat observers, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

…The Electric Company said that most of its customers asked that the malfunction not be repaired as not to desecrate the Shabbat.

Previous repair work undertaken in Bnei Brak on Shabbat prompted great anger among local residents, the company said.

Dozens of Haredim protest in Petah Tikva against mixed-seating concert

By Raanan Ben-Zur August 9, 2010

Dozens of haredim protested outside Petah Tivka’s cultural center in demonstration against singer Tzion Golan’s plans to perform in front of an audience of about 800 men and women.

Golan, who was forced to cancel the performance due to the protest, asked forgiveness from his fans.

Angry rabbi launches ‘go-kart war’

By Aviel Magnezi August 9, 2010

An Emmanuel rabbi upset at the sight of go-karting girls stormed the course and caused damage to the facility; the rabbi’s vehicle was later vandalized in apparent retaliation for the incident.

…The rabbi’s assistant, Ophir Shlush, said Gadasi and his followers shut down the facility only after the violation of an agreement whereby only boys would be allowed to drive the go-karts.

Throw Away the Rabbi

By Tamar Rotem (print edition only) August 6, 2010

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg fights against Haredi child sexual abuse

Jewish hardliners crack down on fun in Israel

By Catrina Stewat August 9, 2010

It is the time of the year when school is out for Israel’s ultraorthodox students. But this year, a Jewish morality police is patrolling in force to make sure they do not have too much fun.

Leading rabbis and heads of religious colleges, or the yeshivas, have warned students to continue their studies of the Torah, dress appropriately and avoid “the great danger, spiritually and concretely, of hitchhiking”.

…But Rabbi Mordechai Blau, leader of the group, Guardians of Sanctity and Education, feared that some temptations would simply prove too much, and deployed an army of snoopers to photograph members of the ultra-orthodox community, also known as Haredi, at a mixed-sex pop concert.

Haredi staff say Partner Communications won’t let them organize

By Ido Solomon August 10, 2010

Workers at the Haredi customer service hotline in Jerusalem claim Partner Communications is harassing them because of their attempts to organize.

Partner opened its “Haredi hotline” four years ago. It employs 180 men and women, mostly (but not all ) Haredim.

Israel Museum has new look at history of Holy Land

Reuters August 11, 2010

The scientifically minded can point to a set of 1.5 million year old bull horns on display around the corner, by far predating Earth’s creation as described by the book of Genesis.

One museum employee told how an ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple touring the museum was confused by the discrepancies.

“They asked why we dated the objects as being so old since according to the Bible, the world was created just 6,000 years ago,” she said.

Rabbi who removed girls from go-karts latest symptom of Jewish women’s exclusion

By Esther Hertzog Opinion August 11, 2010

Professor Esther Hertzog heads the Anthropology Department at Beit Berl College and coordinates the Women’s Parliament

[N]obody around here gets overly excited when some “cheeky” girls are being thrown out of a go-karting facility. The secular public and media outlets that lead it perceive the event as a sort of amusing, trivial episode; after all, if it happens in the distant haredi town of Emmanuel it’s not our problem.

Yet make no mistake about it – this is gradually becoming a problem that is not reserved for religious and haredi women, who have been facing this reality for a while now, but also for the secular State of Israel, which reconciles itself to segregation, racism, and backwardness across society.

Rabbis fail to report sexual harassment

By Ronen Medzini August 12, 2010

A Jerusalem resident Gil Dvash, 45, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually harassing and sodomizing 10 minors over the past few years, after offering them money at a local synagogue.

A police representative…added that the community rabbis were aware of the acts but failed to inform the police. Instead, they decided to keep his away from the synagogue.

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox a growing burden on the state

By Jason Koutsoukis August 14, 2010

Dan Ben-David, executive director of the Taub Centre for Social Policy Research and professor of economics at Tel Aviv University:

“What we actually need is for them to become the next generation of doctors, physicists, computer scientists, engineers – the sort of people that can help Israel to keep growing as a First World economy.”

Shahar Ilan, vice-president of research at Hiddush:

“We are the only state in the world that finances an education system that does not make it compulsory for everyone to learn a core curriculum of subjects and does not provide every student with the basic tools to live in a modern world.”

Hareidi Soldiers Say Commanders Lied to Them

By Hillel Fendel August 10, 2010

Soldiers of the Nachal Haredi regiment – a heretofore successful experiment in integrating hareidi-religious soldiers in the IDF – write of a “mortal blow” to their trust in the IDF command.

The soldiers say their commanders lied to them during the recent (July 26th) destruction of a large house in Givat Ronen (Ronen Hill) outside the Jewish town of Har Bracha in Shomron (Samaria). The Nachal Haredi soldiers were sent to replace the Border Guard forces, after being falsely told that the latter had gone southward for police work.

Israeli soldiers get Shabbat Bluetooth phone

By Nathan Jeffay August 12, 2010

Inventors have come up with a Bluetooth device for the Israeli Defense Forces, which can make any soldier’s mobile phone permissible for use on Shabbat.

Where lives are at risk, such as in the army and in hospitals, special Sabbath innovations are permitted that are not allowed in other contexts.

The new phone device will eliminate the main transgressions associated with telephoning on Shabbat, making it permissible in the army and in hospitals. But the inventors stress that it does not make telephoning for normal social or business purposes acceptable.

Hesder Student Back in Jail, Mother Calls to End the Battle

By Maayana Miskin August 14, 2010

Young soldier Chaim Yehudah Greenwold has been sent to jail for a third time over his refusal to leave Har Bracha yeshiva. His mother, Rivka Greenwold, spoke to Arutz Sheva‘s Hebrew-language news service and called on the IDF to put an end to the Har Bracha battle and release her son.

Rivka Greenwald said her son had been offered a chance to enlist in a different yeshiva, or to leave the hesder program and complete his IDF service in a different track, but that he is sticking to principle.

Mixing it up

By Raphael Ahren August 13, 2010

Former music executive Ronny Vance had made the unusual transition from hosting the likes of Axl Rose and the late rap superstar Tupac Shakur in his Los Angeles office to young Diaspora Jews in his Jerusalem Old City home without abandoning his former world. The soft-spoken father of a seven-year-old son, who sports a more salt-than-pepper beard, says he wants to show young Jews that a career in show biz and an Orthodox lifestyle are not mutually exclusive.

No fear: Trekking with 60 religious women

By Or Shukrun August 13, 2010

I embarked on the Queens of the Desert jeep expedition to Lapland with 60 women this year, totally unprepared.

The others were all observant Jews, and I wanted to arrive cleansed of prejudice, despite the fact that the words “tradition” and “me” are never seen in the same sentence.

Company to pay for rejecting religious woman

By Haim Bior August 9, 2010 (print edition only)

The Tel Aviv Labor Court ordered Hashmira, one of the country’s largest security service companies, to pay a job applicant NIS 5, 000 for refusing to hire her because she is a religious woman.

Rabbi rules against overdrawing money

By Kobi Nahshoni August 9, 2010

Those who do not have a credit balance in their bank account – should not overdraw, ruled Ramat Gan’s Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, who is a senior member of the Religious Zionism movement.

According to Rabbi Ariel, the “transaction permit” – a halachic solution that prohibits collection of interest, is ineffective in cases of overdrafts created due to consumption needs. Ariel noted that those who find themselves facing this dilemma should consult their rabbis.

When a bar mitzvah is a mitzva

By Alex Rimberg August 15, 2010

Nearly every month, a dozen underprivileged children celebrate their bar mitzvahs, free of charge. For these children, what may have been only a dream becomes a reality thanks to Hazon Yeshaya, a humanitarian network in Jerusalem.

VIDEO & PHOTOS: Cave of the Patriarchs, Hevron, Opened Entirely for Jews Monday

By Yoni Kempinski August 9, 2010

On Monday, in honor of the day, the entire vicinity of the Cave of the Patriarchs (Ma’arat HaMachpela) in Hevron was opened for Jews. During most of the year a large portion of the site is open only to Muslims, and many Jews from throughout the country took the opportunity to visit the heritage site and pray.

30 arrested in march to Jericho-area synagogue

By Anshel Pfeffer and Chaim Levinson August 11, 2010

Israeli security forces yesterday arrested 30 right-wing activists seeking to establish an outpost near an ancient synagogue in Na’aran, near Jericho. During the arrest, the activists clashed with police officers and soldiers who had been sent to the area.

Religion and State in Israel

August 16, 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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