Religion and State in Israel – December 27, 2010 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

December 27, 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.

Yeshiva students stipends: PM Netanyahu & Shas Yishai vs. Likud MK’s Sa’ar, Livnat, Erdan

No laughing matter

By Yossi Verter December 24, 2010

In dealing with the issue of income guarantees for ultra-Orthodox men, Netanyahu defied economic and social logic this week, and was opposed by a majority of the public – and of Likud members: Once again, he served the needs of Shas, and he defied a High Court of Justice ruling calling the income guarantees for yeshiva students illegal.

[Three Likud ministers, Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan and Limor Livnat, voted against…]

Inspection misdirection

By Ofer Matan December 24, 2010

State-funded yeshivas have well-oiled mechanisms for passing inspections and defrauding the government, by inflating the numbers of students enrolled in them. A former student explains how it works.

“The Haredi leadership’s desire that the avrekhim not work is motivated by ideology, not finances,” says Shahar Ilan, vice president of the organization Hiddush: For Religious Freedom and Equality, who used to cover the Haredi sector for Haaretz.

“They believe that study is the Jews’ mission. They want as many avrekhim as possible to stay in the kollel.

“The Haredi politicians, as opposed to the rabbis, have a clear interest, not an ideological one, to keep the avrekhim from working. Avrekhim are a poor, obedient and dominated group, and the politicians find them to be much more easy to deal with than a working, independent public.”

Knesset panel approves budget; ups funds for yeshiva students, but no extra funding for fire services

By Zvi Zrahiya December 23, 2010

Kadima issued a statement accusing Netanyahu of “favoring yeshiva students while abandoning the firefighters,” because the committee did approve an extra NIS 19 million for yeshivas and yeshiva students yesterday.

An anti-Zionist government

By Nehemia Shtrasler Opinion December 21, 2010

What do you call a secular person in Yiddish? Freier (sucker), the yeshiva students answer, and burst out laughing.

For really, it’s so easy to pull a fast one on the secular public and extract boundless government funding and special benefits from it – and all while complaining of discrimination.

…This will be the first government ever to place a legal seal of approval on the Israel Defense Forces’ demise as the people’s army. It’s a government that plans to give a kashrut certificate to the Haredi community’s cynical and cowardly evasion of military service.

The nation will thereby be divided in two: those who risk life and limb to defend the homeland, and those who sit at home and laugh at the freiers.

The State, the Rabbinate and the Prying

By Yitzhak Laor Opinion December 21, 2010

Religious Jews in Israel have no need for the Chief Rabbinate. Moreover, some of the Rabbinate’s staunchest followers have rabbis who are not connected to it, as well as their own kashrut inspectors.

The Rabbinate’s existence is so absurd we can only admit that its power relies, among other things, on the ignorance of the secular, at least in matters of halakha.

Netanyahu’s unacceptable deal with the ultra-Orthodox

Haaretz Editorial December 20, 2010

As finance minister he did not shrink from cutting allowances to Haredim, so that the overly generous system of entitlements would stop being an incentive for idleness. But now Netanyahu is willing to do anything so that he and his government can survive.

What do Gideon Sa’ar from Likud, Isaac Herzog from Labor, and journalist Yair Lapid have in common?

(The Tel Aviv Likudniks who stole Livni’s political positions)

By Aluf Benn December 22, 2010

Photo: Yair Lapid

All three oppose special allocations to the religious and want the ultra-Orthodox to find jobs, but they are wary of antagonism toward the religious.

Lapid: “The law for allocations to the Orthodox is a manifest fraud, but a discourse based on hatred of the Haredim will not move us forward.”

Herzog: “The allocations law is self-defeating and reverses the laudable, evolving trend by which the Orthodox are becoming integrated in the workplace.”

Vice PM Silvan Shalom, why shouldn’t we give yeshiva students stipends for another five years?

By Mazal Mualem December 21, 2010

Q: What was problematic about the plan, in your opinion?

A: Inequality. The government decided to give ultra-Orthodox men over the age of 29 a complete exemption from the stipend limitations. I told the prime minister: ‘I opposed the Wisconsin Plan and you are the one who implemented it. Why does the Wisconsin Plan obligate people over 50 to go out and work in order to receive a stipend, but a 29-year-old yeshiva student can’t work?

Cabinet okays limit to funding of yeshiva students

By Zvi Zrahiya, Mazal Mualem, Barak Ravid and Yair Ettinger December 20, 2010

The cabinet decided on Sunday to limit payments of stipends to married yeshiva students to five years. The decision will only be fully implemented, however, in another five years.

Under the proposal approved on Sunday, the government will provide a total of NIS 127 million a year in stipends to married yeshiva students, amounting to NIS 1,040 a month per student for four years. In the fifth year, the amount will be reduced to prepare the student for entry into the labor market.

Interview with Shahar Ilan, Hiddush on Israel Channel 2 TV (in Hebrew)

Click here for VIDEO (Hebrew)

Shas: We’ll pass mortgage subsidies even if gov’t objects

By Zvi Zrahiya December 20, 2010

Shas is pressing for the approval of a new law that would grant mortgage subsidies to young couples who buy their first home in peripheral parts of the country.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will vote on the bill this morning and thus decide whether the government will back it. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz opposes the legislation. Eyal Gabai, the director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, also said recently he objects to it.

United Torah Judaism MK Gafni: Probe those who keep Haredim from moving in

By Jonah Mandel December 20, 2010

United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni is asking the legal establishment to take action against what he calls widespread discrimination against haredim from secular Israelis who don’t want to let them live in their midst.

In a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Sunday, Gafni noted the “severe phenomenon of preventing haredim make their home in various locales” that has prevailed in the past years.

Tax advisers won’t need (bagrut) matriculation under bill favoring Haredim

By Zvi Zrahiya December 22, 2010

Tax advisers won’t be required to have a high school matriculation certificate (bagrut), under a change the Knesset Finance Committee made to the Economic Arrangements Bill.

The Finance Ministry relented to the amendment, which committee chairman Moshe Gafni pushed in an effort to ease requirements for ultra-Orthodox women looking to work as tax advisers. This includes graduates of the Beit Yaakov network of schools, which are aligned with Gafni’s United Torah Judaism party.

Protestors scatter cow dung outside PM’s Caesarea home

By Raanan Ben-Zur December 25, 2010

About 15 members of the National Left social movement protested near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Caesarea home on Saturday against the haredi stipend bill, which is meant to bypass a High Court of Justice ruling and allow the government to allocate funds to yeshiva students.

The wonders of statistics

Pointless posturing over home prices and imaginary radio shows

By Nehemia Shtrasler December 24, 2010

Why do you oppose it?” Shochat asked. “You’re dirt poor. You shouldn’t have any problem with these taxes.”

The delegates looked at him and said, “You know that all our young couples that get married receive an apartment from their parents?”

But, Shochat said, Haredi families are huge. How could parents buy apartments for all their kids?

“Ask not about things beyond your understanding,” the delegates said mysteriously, and left.

Jerusalem hassidic leader was held ‘captive for years’

By Jonah Mandel December 20, 2010

A scandal that is rocking the Breslov community of Shuvu Banim has taken another twist, with its spiritual leader Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s return to his Jerusalem home from his hiding place in the North on Saturday night, after breaking away from 10 years of captivity, during which he says he was little more than a marionette controlled by his son and grandson.

Residents of small central town fear ultra-Orthodox ‘takeover’

By Gili Cohen December 22, 2010

Some 150 residents of a small town between Hod Hasharon and Ra’anana are waging a battle against a feared Hasidic takeover of Ramot Hashavim.

“The problem is that Ramot Hashavim has become a Bratslav center,” one resident said. “They shout ‘Shabbes, Shabbes,'” he said, referring to the Yiddish pronunciation of Shabbat, which ultra-Orthodox Jews sometimes shout at anyone they consider to be violating the Sabbath.

Haaretz Cartoon by Eran Wolkowski December 22, 2010 – “Harmony”

Shas MK Atias; Rabbi Ovadia Yosef; Shas Minister Yishai

Shas infighting reaches as far as spiritual leader’s family

By Yair Ettinger December 24, 2010

The crisis in Shas is deepening and reaching the innermost circle of the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. A sharp argument erupted Tuesday at the synagogue adjacent to Yosef’s home between the rabbi’s personal secretary, Zvi Hakak, and his son, Rabbi David Yosef.

The latter is a close friend of Aryeh Deri, former chairman of Shas, whose name has recently been casting a shadow over the leadership of the party’s chairman, Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

Deri working to form new socioeconomic party

By Gil Hoffman December 24, 2010

Haaretz cartoon by Amos Biderman – December 26, 2010

Former Shas Minister Aryeh Deri vs. Shas Minister Eli Yishai & Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Former Shas chairman Arye Deri is working on establishing a new socioeconomic party that will be neither haredi nor Sephardi.

In an interview with Ma’ariv political analyst Shalom Yerushalmi to be published on Friday, Deri said he wants the party to act as a bridge across the many divides in Israeli society – between religious and secular, Right and Left, Ashkenazi and Sephardi and rich and poor. To that end, he said, he intends to draft well-known and respected people from all sectors.

Shas slammed for refunds to Haredim in housing bill

By Jonathan Lis December 26, 2010

Tens of thousands of housing units for ultra-Orthodox Jews will be built in the next few years in peripheral areas of the country, with significant discounts offered under the Shas party’s new housing bill, the Hiddush organization for religious freedom and equality said.

Rabbi Uri Regev, director of Hiddush:

“The new ultra-Orthodox invention is a mortgage for every voter. [Housing and Construction Minister Ariel] Atias is simply bringing back the income support for yeshiva students through these apartments,” he added.

Housing aid should be linked to earning ability, Regev continued, separating those who can’t work for a living from those who prefer not to work for a living.

Shas Housing Minister Atias’ call for mortgage subsidies draws cheers, jeers

By Zvi Zrahiya December 26, 2010

Housing Minister Ariel Atias’ call to subsidize mortgages for young couples in the country’s outskirts drew a mix of support and fire over the weekend, as proponents said the idea would indeed help its target audience.

Nostalgia Sunday – Arye Deri is back

By Rachel Neiman December 26, 2010

Click here for Photoshop cartoons

To mark the return of Deri, we’ve gone back to the archives of Yom HaShishi, a now-defunct weekly newspaper for the religious sector. Yom HaShishi made waves back in the 1990s for its bold use of photo-illustrated political cartoons on its covers — something that hadn’t been seen before.

The artworks were executed by Jonathan Sierra of Icons, a studio that pioneered the use of Photoshop and photo-montage in Israel.

Ariel Attias, Arye Deri gang up on Eli Yishai

By Gil Hoffman December 20, 2010

Shas chairman Eli Yishai faced criticism from a central figure inside his own party for the first time on Monday when his No. 2, Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias, delivered a scathing attack on him in the presence of Shas MKs.

Yishai has recently been criticized by Haim Amsalem, an unknown freshman MK in Shas, but until now, Attias has been careful not to attack Yishai publicly.

Shas has become scapegoat for Likud, charges party head Yishai

By Zvi Zrahiya, Mazal Mualem and Jonathan Lis December 21, 2010

Interior Minister Eli Yishai accused his coalition partners yesterday of inciting the public against Shas to make political gains.

“Likud is wary of Yair Lapid, Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu, so what’s most important for them now is to bring out of the closet anything that has to do with religion and state, and get a headline,” the Shas leader said at a press conference held in the Knesset.

Haredim Rally for Judea and Samaria

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu December 22, 2010

Thousands of hareidi religious Jews are expected to turn out at a Jerusalem rally Thursday in support of Judea and Samaria.

Support for nationalists by the hareidi religious community, which was less common several years ago, provides an additional and strong ally for Land of Israel activists.

Rabbis Ban Online News Site ‘’ December 22, 2010

See article for English translation of proclamation.

Click here for English translation by Rabbi Gordon Tucker

“Torah that is not accompanied by a worldly trade will in the end amount to nothing and will lead one into sin.”

(Mishnah Avot, chapter 2; Rulings on this basis are found in Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, “Laws Concerning Torah Study”, chapter 10, and in Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim #157)

VIDEO: Rabbis and Doctors Meet at Special Medicine and Halacha Conference in Jerusalem

Click here for VIDEO

Rabbis and Doctors Meet at Special Medicine and Halacha Conference in Jerusalem

Chief rabbis: Fight ‘abortion epidemic’ December 22, 2010

Firstly, the chief rabbis asked that with the help of their sermons and channels of information, the local rabbis encourage birth within the Jewish people and prevent unnecessary abortions.

Secondly, they asked that the rabbis hand out pamphlets “in preparation of a happy marriage” to any couple who is to be wed.

And thirdly, consult with a doctor regarding such activity.

Religious Zionist Rabbi Aviner: Don’t read talkbacks

By Kobi Nahshoni December 23, 2010

Shlomo Aviner, one of Religious Zionism’s leading rabbis, has stated that responses to articles on websites should not be read due to fears that doing so would lead to religious and moral transgressions.

A schedule fixed by the angel of death

By Abigail Klein Leichman December 21, 2010

In a special Knesset gathering in November, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz presented an award to ZAKA Rescue and Recovery Organization founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav for raising awareness and promoting road safety.

The moment was noteworthy not just because it acknowledged ZAKA’s role in responding to thousands of car accidents and encouraging safer driving, but also because it underlined the warm relationship between Israel’s secular officials and Meshi-Zahav, an ultra-Orthodox (haredi) former anti-Zionist agitator.

Two arrested for allegedly stealing 30 Torah scrolls

By Yaakov Lappin December 23, 2010

Two suspects from Jerusalem and Hadera are set to be indicted Friday on charges of stealing 30 Torah scrolls from synagogues across the South and the Central region.

U.S. rabbi gets rare permission to visit Yitzhak Hall at Tomb of Patriarchs

By Chaim Levinson December 23, 2010

There was an uncommon sight Saturday night at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron, when the religious site’s Yitzhak Hall, which is usually only open to Muslim worshippers, was also opened to Jews.

Rabbis: Don’t desecrate Shabbat in Mahane Yehuda market

By Ari Galahar December 21, 2010

The Committee for the Sanctity of Shabbat launched a new battle recently, focusing on Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market.

Ads published in ultra-Orthodox newspapers called on the haredi public not to visit the market on Fridays an hour before the beginning of Shabbat so as not to cause the merchants to desecrate the holy day.

Shabbat, easy style

By Shoshana Chen December 24, 2010

The “kosher lamp” is the kind of invention that is genius in its simplicity that makes you say “why didn’t they think of that sooner?” The lamp which has sold hundreds of thousands of units in the Jewish world, mostly in North America, but 20,000 units sold in Israel alone, has recently flourished and is considered an ideal gift in observant homes as it allows control over the strength of light.

Censoring of Temple Mount Report Causes Anger

By Hillel Fendel December 22, 2010

The State Comptroller has prepared a report on the wanton destruction caused by the Waqf on the Temple Mount, and on Israel’s response. The Committee to Prevent Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities is up in arms that the lion’s share of the report will not be publicized.

Haredi Kollel on the Temple Mount (Hebrew)

By Avraham Levi December 21, 2010

Religion and State in Israel

December 27, 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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