Religion and State in Israel – January 10, 2011 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

January 10, 2011 (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.

Israel Supreme Court scraps ‘mehadrin’ buses

By Dan Izenberg and Jonah Mandel January 6, 2011

Haaretz Cartoon by Erin Wolkovski October 28, 2009 (“Jews, Save Us!”)

The High Court of Justice on Thursday officially abolished the so-called “mehadrin” public buses operated by the Egged bus company, but it is far from clear that the ruling will put an end to the gender separation arrangement in which female passengers are frequently forced to sit at the back of the bus.

Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) attorney Einat Horowitz, praised the court decision which “for the first time determines… that separation is unacceptable discrimination, prohibited by law.

“The verdict anchors what is obvious. Every woman is free to choose her seat on a public bus and is entitled to egalitarian treatment that respects her choice.”

‘Court verdict reflects women’s right to choose bus seat’

‘Sexual abuse of women on mehadrin lines will continue

Seeking Haredi Rosa Parks

By Ariana Melamed Opinion January 7, 2011

I hope that it would stimulate renewed thinking among haredi women that would prompt the emergence of the first backdoor refusenik – a haredi Rosa Parks who would say that this can’t go on and whose actions would encourage more and more women like her, with all of them entering through doors as equal human beings, without fear and terror.

Yet until this Rosa emerges, haredi women are expected to face more and more oppression within their own community, with the High Court’s approval.

Court allows gender segregation on buses, but only with consent

By Tomer Zarchin January 7, 2011

Justice Rubinstein said this was not a question of a liberal multicultural attitude toward a “non-liberal” group with discriminating practices, but rather the imposing of a cultural practice on groups and individuals who were not interested in it.

Jerusalem council member Rachel Azaria, one of the leaders of the campaign against the segregated lines, lauded “the court’s upholding of the values of equality and the banning of gender discrimination.”

She said she would ensure that the ruling was enforced “and women are treated with dignity in any public area.”

High Court: Gender segregation legal on Israeli buses – but only with passenger consent

By Yair Ettinger January 6, 2011

“A public transportation operator, like any other person, does not have the right to order, request or tell women where they may sit simply because they are women,” Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in his ruling. “They must sit wherever they like.”

Supreme Ct allows voluntary mehadrin bus lines January 6, 2011

“Ladies prefer to travel only with Egged”

The court also said that the Transportation Ministry must track the “mehadrin” buses’ activity, “including every claim of violence or coercion of any kind and fulfill the necessary supervision according to instructions.”

Israel Supreme Court: Segregation only upon consent

By Shahar Haselkorn January 6, 2011

The court ordered the Transportation Ministry to place signs in all ‘kosher’ buses saying that passengers are free to sit wherever they choose.

“Harassing a passenger on this matter may constitute a criminal violation,” the signs must say. The ministry must also instruct drivers to make sure the orders are respected.

Masorti Movement: Struggle over mehadrin bus lines not over

By Jonah Manel January 6, 2011

“It is important to remember that the ‘separate but equal’ equation is usually refuted, since the side that pays the price is the weak one. Not only women are excluded in the mehadrin lines,” the statement said. “It is human dignity that diminishes.”

Meretz MK Horowitz praises mehadrin bus ruling: ‘Israel is not Iran’

By Jonah Mandel January 6, 2011

“Everyone has the right to sit wherever he or she chooses on the bus, and it is the responsibility of the bus line operators to prevent harassment, coercion or violence against any passengers on the bases of gender separation.”

REPORT: Gender segregation in the public sphere in Israel

November 2010 Written by Attorney Ricky Shapira-Rosenberg

Consultation by Attorney Einat Hurvitz, Attorney Ruth Carmi, Attorney Orly Erez-Lihovski, English translation: Shaul Vardi

The goal of this report is to raise public awareness on the subject of gender segregation.

The report documents the phenomenon of segregation in public space and the manner in which it is imposed, exposing the issue to Israeli society in order to compel the population to address this policy in a deliberate manner and to facilitate public discussion.

A further goal of the report is to propose policy guidelines which reflect the nature of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and which are consistent with Israeli law.

Government exempts married Haredim from IDF

By Yair Ettinger and Barak Ravid January 10, 2011

The cabinet approved on Sunday the reform in the draft of Haredim into the Israel Defense Forces. While the reform exempts married yeshiva students from the draft in exchange for one year of duty in the emergency services, it attempts to increase significantly the number of ultra-Orthodox who are conscripted into the army.

Currently, a married yeshiva student with children can do non-military service instead of being conscripted into the military at age 22.

A married yeshiva student who does not have children is allowed to do such service only from age 26 onward, instead of serving in the army. The reform will allow the childless yeshiva students to do non-military service at 22.

Gov’t approves reform to increase haredi IDF enlistment

By Herb Keinon January 9, 2011

Under the program approved Sunday there will be four tracks for haredim:

• A track for haredim who are not in a yeshiva framework – they will do a year’s preparatory course, and go into the army at 18 for three years.

• Nahal Haredi, for those aged 18-22, who will serve two years in the army, and then spend their third year in training for civilian employment.

• Haredim aged 22–25 who will serve 24 months in Shahar, and also receive training to enter the civilian workforce; or do a year of national service in organizations such as the police, Prisons Service, Fire and Rescue Services and Magen David Adom.

• Those above 26 will do three months of national service, and then be placed in the reserves and trained for national emergencies

‘No government will get me out of yeshiva’

By Kobi Nahshoni January 10, 2011

The government has approved a program for recruiting ultra-Orthodox youths and the opposition warns the move will merely legitimize draft-dodging, but what do the yeshiva and kollel students themselves say?

The haredim say the “real” Torah scholars, who devote their whole lives to their studies, will not be tempted to leave the yeshiva benches despite the incentives to sign up to military or National Service.

Draft reform: One step forward, two steps back

By Amos Harel January 10, 2011

In practice, the program approved by the cabinet will permit thousands of Haredi men to easily skip IDF service.

In essence, the state is making an enticing offer to the ultra-Orthodox: Do one year of civilian national service and gain total exemption from the military – including an exemption from all reserve duty, unlike the vast majority of non-Haredi citizens your age.

Other holes in the system: The program automatically exempts 12,000 yeshiva students from any type of national service, because the age limit was lowered

Government approves Haredi military recruitment reform plan

By Attila Somfalvi January 9, 2011

The Masorti movement expressed its condemnation in light of the government’s approval of the plan. “There is no limit to the shame and cynicism,” said Yizhar Hess, executive director and CEO of the Masorti Movement.

“This is a brilliant trick meant to convince everyone that within five years more haredim will be going to the military and receive less public funding. There is no validity to political decisions in the State of Israel and this just an attempt to scatter dust in the public’s eyes,” he added.

Masorti Movement: Cabinet decision smacks of hypocrisy

By Jonah Mandel January 10, 2011

Israel Reform movement leader Rabbi Gilad Kariv:

“So long as the government continues to support yeshiva students with hundreds of millions of shekels, prevents the placement of core curriculum studies in haredi schools and exempts them from military service, the public will remain detached from the Israeli society.”

Kadima lawmaker accuses Netanyahu of trying to mislead High Court on Tal Law

By Jonathan Lis January 9, 2011

MK Yohanan Plesner of Kadima, who chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s task force on reviewing the implementation of the Tal Law, has slammed the plan due to be presented in the cabinet today.

Plesner spoke out yesterday about the plan for extending the draft to the ultra-Orthodox community and said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resolution is about “misleading the High Court.”

Do you welcome the call to double Haredi IDF enlistment? January 10, 2011

Interview with Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner

I have no doubt that, contrary to what many people think, it’s possible to get the rabbis and political leaders of the Haredi community to support many of the required changes.

The difficulties in earning a living and welfare problems in the Haredi community are so significant that it’s necessary to create frameworks that will enable them to integrate into the workforce.

IDF source: Married Haredi women with children to serve January 10, 2011

The IDF Intelligence Corps has increased its enlistment pool to include haredi women as well as haredi men, Israel Radio reported Monday morning.

Military Intelligence has decided to recruit 10 married haredi women with children. The soldiers will be able to combine a career and family life, and bring their young children or babies to the base.

Shas seeks law against ethnic bias in Haredi schools

By Jonah Mandel January 4, 2011

After a long period of handwringing, Shas has decided to take the ethnic discrimination in schools head-on, with party chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai festively yet solemnly announcing on Monday that a solution for the problem is in the works, in the form of legislation combined with a rabbinic committee.

According to an adviser to MK Margi, the planned legislation will divide the neighborhoods into zones, and give girls automatic priority for admission to the school in their vicinity, exactly like the public school system.

Daylight saving time bill ‘torpedoed’

By Ronen Medzini January 10, 2011

The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs was all set Monday to discuss a bill presented by Knesset Member Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), which would make sure that daylight saving time wouldn’t give way to standard (winter) time before October 10 of each year.

Tirosh stated that if the committee promised by the Prime Minister’s Office wasn’t established, she wouldn’t remain silent. The MK’s bill was, she said, was coordinated with Tzohar organization rabbis and sources within the Shas party.

Industry, Trade & Labor Minister: ‘Political power barring haredi integration’

By Tani Goldstein January 5, 2011

The ultra-Orthodox public’s political power is interfering with their integration in the job market, said Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer Tuesday after presenting the annual Ono Report on the integration of haredim, Arabs and people with disabilities in the workforce.

We don’t hate Haredim

By Assaf Wohl Opinion January 3, 2011

The haredim should also realize that all their excuses about “charity” and their plethora of associations that help the needy merely boost the sense of anger.

Who needs charity? Only those who are involuntarily disabled. And what about voluntarism? One should volunteer in his free time, and not in order to be rewarded. The haredim can go ahead and volunteer after they fulfill all their duties – not instead of them

Survey: Employers don’t want Arabs, Haredim, disabled

By Ido Solomon January 5, 2011

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer:

“If the government had made integrating the Haredim into the labor force a national goal, things would have looked different.

The heads of the Haredi community understand that the hardship and poverty cannot continue, and they need to provide answers,” he said, adding: “In the United States, the ultra-Orthodox work. In Europe they work. Why not in Israel? Just because of political problems.”

Integrating ultra-Orthodox sector into Israeli economy & labor force January 5, 2011

How can members of the ultra-Orthodox sector most effectively become integrated into Israel’s labor market?

Participating in the discussion from the Institute are Channa Pinchasi, Shraga Bar-On, and Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi

Knesset approves preliminary reading of Housing Law January 5, 2011

Rabbi Uri Regev, the head of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality said in reaction to the decision that “under the guise of a social law, the haredi parties are trying to pass a law to give ‘free mortgages to Yeshiva students.'”

“This law will not reduce poverty, instead it will create a poverty trap for haredim in the periphery,” he continued.

Haredization – In Israel, gentrification is about religion, not class

By Shoshana Kordova January 7, 2011

But while the word “Haredization” makes sense in English, too (at least to those who have heard of haredim), its meaning in English tends to be limited to the rightward tendencies of Orthodox Judaism.

In Hebrew, “hithardut” has broader connotations, partly because of the extent to which religious and civil society—synagogue and state—are intertwined.

The Pashkevil War January 6, 2011

The Pashkevil says that the Ashkenazi Rabbanim should not preach to the Sephardim Rabbanim regarding conversions since they on a regular basis convert women for money.

Investigative report by Israel TV program “Mabat Sheni” on “Haredization” of Bet Shemesh (Hebrew)

YU ethics expert censures rabbis over brain-stem death

By Jonah Mandel January 5, 2011

Regarding the recent case of Avi Cohen, [Rabbi] Tendler mused that “when people die, they all become haredim.”

The unobservant soccer star’s family decided to not donate his organs, despite a green light to do so from Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

What swayed the family’s initial intention to live up to Cohen’s will, evident in his bearing an ADI organ donor card, were threats from a former soccer player turned haredi and his rabbi – that they would be murdering the father if they donated his organs

Untenable Position

By Rabbi Yuval Cherlow Opinion December 21, 2010

…But I find it impossible and halachically untenable for the Rabbinical Council of America rabbis to conclude that one can reject brain death and organ donation yet benefit from them.

If it’s prohibited, then the RCA should announce that people should die and not try to save their life by taking someone else’s.

Otherwise it is not halachic, not moral and not acceptable.

US rabbis avoid clear stance on brain-stem death

By Jonah Mandel January 10, 2011

“The sense of tragedy on Avi Cohen is that an individual,” [Rabbi] Tendler said of the unidentified rabbi, “decided that he could be an adjudicator on the lives of seven-eight people,” who might have been able to receive Cohen’s organs, “and decided that they can die, because he wanted to support a minority opinion on this issue.”

Soccer legend’s death puts organ donation debate in center field

By Batsheva Sobelman January 5, 2011

Now, lawmaker Ilan Gilon is advancing legislation to give donor cards people sign the legal validity of a will. This will free families from the dilemma and protect them from pressure from “charlatans and magi.”

Dr. Gil Siegal, who chairs the Center for Health Law and Bioethics at the Ono Academic College, believes consent to organ donation must become the legal default. Families may refuse, but should understand the connection between giving and getting. After all, few would turn down receiving a donation.

Rabbi Menachem Froman diagnosed with cancer

אהוד בנאי שר לרפואתו של הרב פרומן

Ehud Banai sings for Rabbi Froman’s recovery

Click here for VIDEO


Don’t expect religious leaders to shun ex-president; after all, he’s a rapist, not an Arab

By Assaf Wohl Opinion January 4, 2011

Eli Yishai’s associates, for example, won’t be referring to Katsav as Amalek, as they did to Rabbi Amsalem. After all, Katsav is just a rapist, unlike Amsalem, who urged Mizrahi haredim to contribute to the state.

FILM: “Secular Quarter”

The International Animation Contest “Jerusalem 2111”

Click here for VIDEO


Study: What (religious) women want

By Tzofia Hirschfeld January 4, 2011

In a study carried out by Audrey Leiman, a couples’ councilor, in her thesis on Being Single in Religious Society for Lesley University, Leiman discovered that for religious women, the process of searching for a partner is even more difficult.

Study probes religious teens’ sexual guilt

By Tzofia Hirschfeld January 5, 2011

The research, which strives to depict the conflicting ways in which religious teens perceive sexuality, was presented at an international conference on “challenges in Jewish education” held at the university on Tuesday.

Bad boy rapper Shyne goes kosher

Click here for VIDEO

Ma’aleh – A Jewish Film School!?

By Rachel Marder January 10, 2011

The burgeoning Israeli film and television industry draws in large part on Ma’aleh graduates, says Harold Berman, the school’s Development Director, citing for example Ma’aleh graduates Chava Divon and Eliezer Shapiro, creators of the popularly penned “Modern Orthodox Friends” series Srugim.

The show reaches religious and secular, Israeli and American, and touches on conflicts within Israeli society and in the Jewish community. Berman says the show is a great example of what Ma’aleh aims to do: use the medium of film to delve deeply into Jewish and Israeli issues and break down boundaries between segments of society.

Watch full-feature films online at Omanoot

Click here for films in the “religion” genre

Rabbis take a stand on road safety

By Kobi Nahshoni January 6, 2011

Chief Rabbinate Committee members held Monday a meeting on the endless carnage on Israel’s roads and highways during which they decided that Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar would draft a special prayer – which will be recited by local rabbis at locations in their area which have witnessed road accidents.

Chabad’s new logo heralds changing times

By Akiva Novick January 6, 2011

Some 500 Chabad officials met in the Carmel this week in an effort to create a single, solid image for their organization. For the first time in Hasidic history, public relations experts have been employed to market the group’s spiritual product.

Dr. Tomer Baklash, of Advantage, was pleased with the endeavor. “There is no difference between a company selling soft-drinks – in need of marketing to differentiate itself from all the other soft-drink companies out there – and the need of a Hassidic organization such as Chabad, which is interested in convincing the public to study Judaism and perform good deeds,” he says.

Eating disorders a problem among Haredim

AP January 3, 2011

Israel has one of the highest rates of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating in the world, said Dr. Yael Latter of the University of Haifa.

No organization tracks the numbers of eating disorders among Jewish women, which experts say is partly because of a cultural reluctance to divulge the illness. Studies in different countries and Latzer’s research, however, indicate a high rate in Israel.

Initiative: Put Chief Rabbi Eliyahu on banknote

By Gad Lior January 4, 2011

After women’s organizations and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz demanded to include a woman’s image on Israel’s new banknotes, politicians and representatives of social movements are now calling for an image of a Sephardic and religious figure.

Haredi divorcees tell their story

By Liron Nagler-Cohen January 9, 2011

Click here for VIDEO

Three haredi women, separated or divorced, have agreed to expose their lives in a new film dealing with the difficult and painful issue of divorce among haredim.

The women, in their 20s and 30s, talk about the hardships haredi women face when choosing to separate from their spouses, how society treats them because of it, and the process of dismantling the family.


Shas blames deceased Haifa police chief Ahuva Tomer for Carmel fire deaths

By Yair Ettinger, Fadi Eyadat and Gili Cohen January 7, 2011

MK Nissim Zeev (Shas) and Netivot kabbalist Rabbi Baba Baruch also came to Yishai’s defense yesterday. “His crime and sin was being an ultra-Orthodox Sephardi Jew,” Baba Baruch said.

The tragedy, in Zeev’s opinion, had nothing to do with Yishai. “Even new fire trucks couldn’t have prevented [the disaster],” he said.

Religion and State in Israel

January 10, 2011 (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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