Religion and State in Israel – December 6, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

December 6, 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.

Haaretz cartoon by Amos Biderman – November 29, 2010

Infiltrator detention center

Shas Minister Eli Yishai: “When can I send you the first inmate?”

[newspapaper: Yom L’Yom – Amalek!] (Shas MK Chaim Amsallem)

MK Amsellem’s daring

By Yair Sheleg Opinion December 5, 2010

[Shas MK Chaim] Amsellem is not only defying Yishai and Rabbi Yosef, he is challenging the entire framework by which the Sephardi Torah world is subordinate to the Ashkenazi rabbinate – subordination that Shas’ formation was supposed to end.

…Amsellem also puts into focus the question of the essential difference between the worlds of Sephardi and Ashkenazi religious sages.

…In a spirit of respect for what Amsellem is doing, it can be said that his hanging onto the altar does not suit his daring stand. He should nobly quit a club that does not want him and vie in the next Knesset elections for a place he deserves.

Yishai: Amsalem is no Amalek, ‘Yom Leyom’ will correct

By Jonah Mandel November 29, 2010

Interior Minister Eli Yishai stressed on Monday morning that maverick Shas MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem is no Amalek, the biblical nemesis to the Jewish people Amsalem was compared to in the recent edition of Shas newspaper Yom Leyom.

“No Jew should be called Amalek; such sayings are not acceptable,” Yishai told Israel Radio, adding that at his request, the newspaper would make a correction.

Shas MK Haim Amsalem: A bête noire and a hero

By Jeff Barak Opinion November 29, 2010

The writer is a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post.

[MK Chaim] Amsalem’s criticism of Shas is not just an internal party matter; the direction Shas takes influences the wider society. Three decades ago, before the establishment of Shas, 21 percent of haredi men did not work.

Since then, that number has jumped to a staggering 65 percent. Such a figure is economically unsustainable, not just for the haredi community, but for the country as a whole.

Neither can the country afford to continue kowtowing to the narrowest of narrow haredi perspectives on other matters affecting the nation’s social fabric.

A New Low For Shas

The Jewish Week Editorial November 30, 2010

Rabbi Amsalem has set forth his views in a thoughtful and dignified manner, based on the goal of unifying his country. Let those who disagree with his positions assert theirs rather than stoop to ad hominem attacks. And let the people decide.

The first Hebrew Amalekite

By Yossi Sarid Opinion December 3, 2010

Haaretz Cartoon by Amos Biderman June 25, 2010

Chaim Amsalem, Eli Yishai, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: “Get Out”

With all due respect, [Chaim Amsallem] is not the first Hebrew Amalekite in our generation. He was preceded by someone else, and that “someone else” is me.

Not only Amalek, but Amalek and Haman in the same breath, at the same appearance of Ovadia Yosef among the Yazidi: “Cursed be Amalek, cursed be Haman, cursed be Yossi Sarid,” went his speech, accompanied by wishes for a strange, unusual death; another prayer that was not immediately answered.

Rabbi Ovadia’s son blames renegade MK for drought

By Yair Ettinger November 29, 2010

One of the sons of Shas’ spiritual leader accused renegade MK Chaim Amsellem of causing Israel’s drought due to his “worldly” views.

“The Rambam [Maimonides] shows us how to bring rain, and the Rambam writes that faith is not only to correct a person’s wrong acts, but also wrong views, the thoughts that lead him to be carried away by false views,” said Rabbi Avraham Yosef, the chief rabbi of Holon, in an interview on the ultra-Orthodox radio station, Kol Hai.

Sacked Shas MK vows to run new party

By Anshel Pfeffer December 2, 2010

Rabbi Chaim Amsellem, the Knesset member banished last week by his party Shas for his “heretical” views, is now threatening to form a new party for “traditional” Sephardi voters.

…Rabbi Amsellem publicly refused to follow party chairman Eli Yishai’s instructions and desist from interviews. By this stage, the Council ruling, which amounts to a virtual excommunication, was a certainty.

But Rabbi Amsellem announced he was forming a new party. “I am a new Charedi who speaks to the entire nation,” he said.

Shas and the Geek

By Benny Ziffer Opinion December 3, 2010

Since God-fearing folk are not allowed to become addicted to television, certainly not to frivolous programs such as “Big Brother” or the abominable “Beauty and the Geek,” the Yosef rabbinical dynasty has come up with pretty good alternatives for this audience.

Electoral disaster

By Yossi Verter December 3, 2010

At the meeting, an argument broke out between Likud ministers Limor Livnat and Gilad Erdan, and Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi of Shas.

“You should be ashamed of what you are doing to MK [Chaim] Amsellem,” Livni charged Margi angrily.

“We are nostalgic for the Olmert government,” mourned Margi.

“Maybe you will leave the coalition,” said Erdan.

Hesder Yeshiva: Has it outlived its usefulness?

By Rabbi Eric Yoffie Opinion November 29, 2010

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

There were reasons for the hesder program to come into being in its current form, but they no longer apply. I suggest that the time has come to eliminate it. Such a step would be good for Israel and Israel’s army and would bring honor to Torah and its students everywhere.

Hanukah: Hesder Soldiers Facilitate Miracles

By Rabbi Shalom Hammer Opinion December 2, 2010

What Yoffe does not understand is that the one place where there is co-existence and a sense of harmony in Israeli society today is in the army…

This respect is mutual as there are many Yeshivot Hesder today which encourage their students to serve in mixed units together with secular soldiers, actively promoting tolerance while simultaneously sanctifying the name of Hashem by way of their exemplary behavior and wholehearted commitment to Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael.

Woman detained for ‘draft-dodging’ despite national service

By Rebecca Anna Stoil November 29, 2010

Fanny Yitzhak may have completed her national service, but for the past two months, as far as the IDF was concerned, she was nothing but another draft-dodger.

…Yitzhak, a religiously observant girl from a religious family, had decided as a high school student that “the framework of national service was more appropriate for me, because I’m religious and… the environment would be better.”

No time for nonsense

By Yair Ettinger December 3, 2010

Haredim in America are too busy working to follow developments among their brethren in Israel.

Solomon, the owner of a kosher grocery store on 13th Avenue in Borough Park:

“Only if you don’t work, like in Israel, is there time for nonsense, for demonstrations, for burning garbage cans, for talk about government allowances. Here there is no time for nonsense – people get up in the morning for work.”

World Wide Web

By Yair Ettinger December 3, 2010

Report from the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries in New York

But doesn’t Chabad also have a hidden agenda? Isn’t the movement engaged in Jewish proselytizing, as the Chabad activists in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Aviv are suspected of doing? Emissaries I spoke with in Crown Heights, all of whom are active in the United States, were amazed at the question.

“We have no hidden agenda, and therein lies the strength of Chabad, especially in the United States,” said one emissary.

“Possibly Israelis are more suspicious, but we have no conspiracy beyond helping every Jew everywhere, unconditionally. We aspire to bring every Jew a degree closer to the Torah and to the Holy One than he is today, and that includes people who are defined as religious. There is no conspiracy to steal anyone’s children away from him.”

Getting to the heart of Chabad

By Anshel Pfeffer Opinion December 3, 2010

The movement has been less active in Israeli politics in more recent years; the vocal rabbis active on the far-right are minor figures within Chabad, but their influence in many Jewish communities around the world continues to grow.

If the leadership decides to harness that energy toward achieving a political or ideological goal, it will have a major impact.

Ultra-Orthodox Yeshivas and Secular Universities

By Dennis Prager Opinion December 1, 2010

Few Jews, inside or outside of Israel, would oppose continuing this policy for a handful of scholars. But for hundreds of thousands of able-bodied Jews to demand to be supported — and protected — by other Jews (and, for that matter, the non-Jewish citizens of Israel as well) is entirely different.

Rabbonim Urge Public to Block ‘Chareidi News Lines’

By Yated Ne’eman staff November 25, 2010

Gedolei Yisroel, including Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv shlita, are promoting a “tikkun godol” in response to one of the stumbling blocks of our day and age: home phone lines with access to numbers that have a corrupting impact and have claimed many victims.

Theocratic Democracy – The Social Construction of Religious and Secular Extremism November 29, 2010

Nachman Ben-Yehuda is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Book Review:

Ben-Yehuda shows how the political structure that accommodates the strong theocratic and secular pressures Israel faces is effectively a theocratic democracy.

Characterized by chronic negotiations, tensions, and accommodations, it is by nature an unstable structure. However, in his fascinating and lively account, Nachman Ben-Yehuda demonstrates how it allows citizens with different worldviews to live under one umbrella of a nation-state without tearing the social fabric apart.

Give me children or give me death

By Sarit Rosenblum December 2, 2010

M., 25, is about to die. The young haredi woman, who resides in an isolated community in Jerusalem, has been refusing to undergo an urgent hysterectomy to remove a tumor that has spread in her uterus because it will mean losing her ability to give birth.

…An ethics committee including legal councils, doctors, social workers and the Chief Rabbi of Clalit HMO Menachem Rosenberg reviewed M’s medical file and decided to approach the rabbi of the community where M. resides, despite her and her family’s refusal to do during her hospitalization.

Recently, Rabbi Rosenberg met with the aforementioned rabbi, who requested a second opinion from a doctor affiliated with another hospital.

UTJ threatens government over housing support

By Lilach Weisman Globes December 6, 2010

Even as the coalition crisis over stipends for yeshiva students remains unresolved, a new crisis is brewing over United Torah Judaism’s threat not to support the budget unless housing benefits which primarily aid haredi families are included.

The Housing Ministry is simultaneously promoting the construction of 20,000- 30,000 housing units in haredi towns and neighborhoods in the periphery.

The prices of these apartments will be less than NIS 500,000, so that the government will finance between a quarter and a third of the cost.

Satmar couple are held over daughter ‘kidnap’

By Anshel Pfeffer December 2, 2010

A man and woman from the Satmar community in Stamford Hill were arrested last week at Ben Gurion Airport on suspicion that they were trying to take their 21-year-old daughter out of the country against her will. The pair were charged on Sunday at Tel Aviv District Court with attempted kidnap.

A Kosher Street for Cohanim in Tiberias

By Miriam Woelke December 1, 2010

Tiberias, the town at the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) is now building an entire street leading from Hayarden Street (at the Central Bus Station) a few meters around the corner to the grave of the Rambam (Maimonides, 1135 – 1204).

PA removes controversial Kotel report from website

By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jordana Horn and Hilary Krei December 1, 2010

The “study” was prepared by Al-Mutawakel Taha, a senior official with the Ministry of Information in Ramallah and a renowned poet and writer with close ties to the PA leadership.

Taha’s paper claimed that the Western Wall, or Al-Buraq Wall as it is known to Muslims, is Wakf trust property owned by an Algerian-Moroccan Muslim family.

Western Wall Rabbi Rabinovitch praises US condemnation of PA Kotel study December 1, 2010

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch on Wednesday praised the comments made by the US in response to the Palestinian Authority denial of a Jewish connection to the Western Wall.

Thousands Gather at Kotel to Pray for Rain

Click here for VIDEO

Secular Tel Aviv’s very own ‘messiah’

AFP November 29, 2010

Calling himself only “The Messiah of Tel Aviv”, this 31-year-old Russian-born immigrant has become a fixture in a neighborhood more accustomed to beggars and bohemians before he announced he was a prophet, bringing dark warnings of the approaching apocalypse.

When Workplace Sexual Harassment Charges Are Ignored

By Elana Maryles Sztokman December 3, 2010

A new investigative report in the Hebrew-language version of Yediot Ahronot provides an account of what it says is Bar-Ilan University’s attempt to hide recent charges of sexual harassment.

…This story, which continues to unfold, reflects a growing awareness in the religious community about the problem of sexual abuse, and an increasing refusal to stay silent. Bar-Ilan University, which is the only expressly religious university in Israel, is the latest organization to confront this issue.

Ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak moves to evict migrant workers

By Ilan Lior November 30, 2010

Illegal immigrants living in the Pardes Katz neighborhood of Bnei Brak say they have been ordered to leave town immediately.

Religion and State in Israel

December 6, 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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