Religion and State in Israel – March 7, 2011 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

March 7, 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.

Drastic fall in yeshiva students getting state support

By Jonah Mandel March 4, 2011

A recent dramatic decrease in the number of haredi men enrolled in yeshivot is getting contradictory explanations from differing parties.

As of today, there are approximately 8,500 less yeshiva and kollel students receiving state stipends than there were at the end of 2010, a 6.5 percent drop that brings the number down from 130,000 to 121,500.

These numbers were revealed by Ynet on Thursday, and confirmed by the Education Ministry. The state is expected to save approximately NIS 70 million, which it would have otherwise spent on the yeshiva students.

Number of yeshiva students plummets

By Kobi Nahshoni March 4, 2011

The main reason for the smaller number of students is that many institutions have removed students who fail to attend classes regularly from their lists for fear that the entire institution would be disqualified.

In addition, there are institutions which have ceded budgetary support due to the tougher conditions, and several others which were disqualified in the latest reviews.

Rabbi Uri Regev, director of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality, said in response: “The fear of inspection has led to the ‘deletion’ of thousands of students and helped the State to save tens of millions of shekels.

VIDEO: Israel Channel 10 TV on Yeshiva student stipends (Hebrew)

Click here for VIDEO


It pays to be Haredi

By Michal Raz-Chaimovitz and Dafna Harel-Kfir February 27, 2011

Discounts on bank accounts, mobile phone rates, public transportation, psychometric exam course, and infant products are just a few of the benefits that companies offer haredim (ultra-orthodox) in Israel.

These discounts come on top of the government subsidies for day care, kindergarten, arnona (local property tax), yeshiva students, and more.

The benefits are based on companies’ marketing calculations to captureharedi consumers. In effect, ordinary consumers, who pay the full price, are subsidizing the haredim. In other words, religiosity pays.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Simhon reaches out to Haredi community

By Nadav Shemer March 1, 2011

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon on Tuesday toured haredi areas to investigate ways of integrating a larger percentage of the community into the labor force.

…Simhon said there was no reason why young haredim couldn’t combine a career with their religious studies, just as secular people combine their careers with other pursuits.

According to statistics from the National Council for Economics in the Prime Minister’s Office, about 37 percent of haredi men participate in the workforce, compared with 67% of the total male population, while 48% of haredi women participate, compared with 57% overall. The haredi population numbers about 700,000 people, close to 10% of Israel’s population.

Plan will pay yeshiva students NIS 15,000 salary in construction March 3, 2011

Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias agreed on a new plan with senior executives of the Association of Contractors and Builders in Israel to employ haredi (ultra orthodox) yeshiva students in the construction industry, “Yediot Ahronot” reports. The yeshiva students would earn a monthly salary of NIS 15,000.

New kids on the block

By Ofer Aderet March 6, 2011

They soon learned that the small neighborhood synagogue that once “barely drew 10 old men,” had turned into a yeshiva attended by dozens of loud young men that also had a kitchen and dining room.

…The yeshiva, it turned out, belonged to a right-wing religious organization called Sha’alei Torah, which has hundreds of members throughout the country.

Three months ago, Adler and Barak petitioned the administrative court to remove the yeshiva permanently.

…In response, the Ramat Hasharon municipality said that the yeshiva was established without a permit, and that it has closed its dining hall.

‘God is about connecting, not separating’

By Omri Efraim March 6, 2011

Parents in Jerusalem rallied on Sunday morning against the haredi separation barrier built between secular and religious kindergartens.

The parents of children who attend Pashosh kindergarten in Kiryat Hayovel protested against the separation fence established between the secular kindergarten and the haredi kindergarten Etz Hadaat next door.

Fence separates Haredi, secular Jerusalem kids

By Ronen Medzini March 4, 2011

The Jerusalem Municipality on Friday began constructing a separation fence between two kindergartens, an ultra-Orthodox and a secular one, highlighting the complex relations between the different communities living in the capital.

VIDEO: Israel Channel 10 TV Special – Segregation continues in Emmanuel school

Shas schools to take part in state testing again

By Jonah Mandel March 2, 2011

Shas’s Ma’ayan Hinuch Torani educational network will revert to taking part in the Meitzav achievement exams after a three-year hiatus, the Education Ministry informed the High Court of Justice on Monday.

The announcement was part of the ministry’s answer to a petition filed by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) last year, which charged that the state had failed to keep its promise to increase the supervision of the haredi schools regarding not only the core curriculum – which still applies to recognized but unofficial primary and secondary schools and “exempted” schools – but also other standards, such as the minimum number of visits by school supervisors each year, the number of teaching hours, the schoolbooks in the curriculum, the levels of learning achievement, and so on.

Students in Sephardic school network to take Meitzav exams

By Tomer Velmer February 28, 2011

The director of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality – Rabbi Uri Regev said: “Including the Meitzav tests in the Shas education system is a step forward in efforts to integrate general studies into the haredi education system, which will allow the state to follow up on the quality of education in the schools in a real and meaningful way.”

Knesset c’tee to gov’t: Fund Chabad activities overseas

By Rebecca Anna Stoil March 3, 2011

MKs called on the government to increase funding for Chabad educational institutions worldwide, and to restore the budget for Jewish education in the Diaspora, which has been reduced by nearly 80 percent in recent decades.

Rabbi Dichovsky appointed director of Rabbinic Courts

By Jonah Mandel March 2, 2011

The Committee for Appointing Rabbinical Judges on Tuesday chose Rabbi Shlomo Dichovsky as director of the Rabbinic Courts for four years.

Dichovsky, who retired from the Supreme Rabbinic Court two years ago, is a haredi rabbinic judge who is considered relatively open-minded and progressive, a combination that enabled the haredi and national-religious members of the committee to agree on his appointment.

Spat delays selection of Rabbinical Court judges

By Yair Ettinger March 2, 2011

Wrangling between Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman prevented yesterday’s planned appointment of a permanent chairman of the rabbinical court system and the selection of judges for the High Rabbinical Court.

Kadima MK Schneller calls for ways to fire unsuitable rabbis

By Jonah Mandel March 2, 2011

There should be a way to dismiss neighborhood rabbis who do not adequately serve their communities, Kadima MK Otniel Schneller said Tuesday, during a State Control Committee follow-up discussion on a recent scathing State Comptroller’s Report.

Petition: Katsav fans encourage abuse March 2, 2011

An Internet petition was launched over the weekend against a letter in support of former President Moshe Katsav, which was signed by dozens of rabbis and yeshiva heads.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner: Judge in Katsav trial a gentile, so it’s a gentiles’ court

By Kobi Nahshoni February 28, 2011

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the leading religious authorities who signed a letter in support of Moshe Katsav, explained to his students at the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva why he was so forgiving towards the former president, who was convicted of two counts of rape and sexual harassment.

The rabbi said his stance stemmed from one of the judges’ religious identities, the media pressure the court was subject to and the essence of Israeli law, which he believes does not allow for real justice.

The destroyers of the State

By Avirama Golan Opinion March 2, 2011

All these have a single goal: to show a population torn between Jewish law and the rabbis, one the one hand, and the state and its laws, on the other, that Jewish law – or at least the fanatic Haredi-religious Zionist version of it – has won, and the state has collapsed.

Justice, law, the army, the Knesset and the cabinet, and of course, freedom of speech and democracy in general are all as dust at the rabbis’ feet.

The era of the rabbis’ decline

By Dov Halbertal Opinion March 4, 2011

The writer is a lecturer in Hebrew law at the University of Haifa and previously headed the Chief Rabbi’s bureau.

We must act to ensure that this period in which Judaism is characterized by narrow-mindedness and isolation will be but a transient episode, not a new and threatening Jewish ethos.

Religious Israelis must rise up and exercise their moral Jewish voice, in a determined and decisive way, and exclaim: No to the rabbis!

The Forgotten Commandment

By Rabbi Donniel Hartman Opinion February 27, 2011

These rabbis, similar to political tyrants, forgot one of the commandments, a commandment which when absent makes religion in general and the leader, religious or secular, a destructive force.

It is a commandment which our tradition teaches is the only one for which there is no atonement in this world if violated. In the Jewish tradition, this commandment is called hillul hashem, the desecration of God’s name.

Top rabbi demands dialogue before West Bank outposts are demolished

By Chaim Levinson March 1, 2011

A top rabbi in the Religious-Zionist movement urged the prime minister on Tuesday to open dialogue before dismantling West Bank settlements. The comment came a day after police clashed with settlers after the demolishment of a West Bank outpost earlier in the day.

Rabbi Chaim Drukman sent a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that the “land is on fire” after Monday’s violent clashes.

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen: Boycott MK married to gentile

By Ari Galahar March 3, 2011

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, head of the Zomet Institute dedicated to merging Halachic Judaism with modern life, has launched a scathing attack on a Knesset Member of the Independence faction over her marriage to a non-Jewish man.

He made his statement following reports that Wilf would be appointed chairwoman of the Knesset’s Education Committee.

Halacha’s Moment of Truth

By Evelyn Gordon, Hadassah Levy Winter 5771 / 2011, no. 43

Evelyn Gordon is a journalist and commentator on public affairs. Hadassah Levy is website manager for Jewish Ideas Daily.

Halacha’s successful adaptation to the needs of exile preserved the Jews for 2,000 years. But by stymieing its readaptation to the needs of revived Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, its most zealous adherents are doing it a disservice.

Not only are they preventing it from fulfilling its original mission—i.e., providing Jewish solutions to the problems of a sovereign Jewish state—but they are also undervaluing the purpose of its exilic adaptation: The preservation of the Jewish people as a people.

“Long weekend” campaign promoted by Deputy PM Shalom

Only 150 join long weekend campaign on Facebook

By Lilach Weissman February 28, 2011

Shalom’s private member’s bill calls for an amendment to the Work Hours Law such that the workweek will run from Monday through Friday afternoon, with the workday extended by 30 minutes.

When daylight savings time is in effect, the workday on Friday will end at 2 pm, and during winter time, it will end at 1:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday will be defined as days of rest.

VIDEO: Interview – “Long weekend” campaign promoted by Deputy PM Shalom



By Yossi Verter March 4, 2011

Last Friday morning, I received a call from a senior Prime Minister’s Bureau official. He said that a special telephone called a “Shabbatphone,” invented by the Zomet Institute, which develops technologies for the religiously observant, has been installed in the homes of the Sabbath-observant officials.

A special mechanism lets a person place a call without desecrating the Sabbath. When the phone rings, it’s probably the prime minister, or someone on his behalf. All the religious officials talk on the Sabbath with the prime minister, and among themselves, as much as necessary, said the official.

New Pipeline Addresses Israeli Water Shortages Caused By Jewish Sabbath, Muslim Holy Day

By Michele Chabin, Religion News Service February 10, 2011

Israeli officials have installed an $11 million pipe to ease a weekly water shortage on Fridays as observant Jews prepare for the Sabbath and Muslims ritually wash themselves before weekly prayers.

Rabbi, let’s talk about it

By Akiva Novick March 6, 2011

A new course launched recently trains 30 “marriage counselors” – the modest equivalent of secular sexologists – who will combine halachic aspects in their discreet counseling.

The course is being held at the Puah Institute, which for the past 20 years has been specializing in giving consultation, direction and help to couples suffering from gynecological problems and infertility.

Self-proclaimed rabbi Elior Chen sentenced to 24 years in jail

By Aviad Glickman February 28, 2011

Self-proclaimed rabbi Elior Chen, who was convicted of severely abusing children in Jerusalem, was sentenced Monday to 24 years in prison.

Rabbi Avraham Froelich, who represents the Eda Haredit, also defended the convict. “Chen is a naïve and delicate soul. The evidence proves he did nothing. This is a Dreyfus plot,” he said.

Haredi ‘Rabbi’ Elior Chen sentenced to 24 years in prison for child abuse

By Nir Hasson February 28, 2011

Chen, who called himself a rabbi, told his disciples the abuse was necessary to “purify” the children, all members of one family.

Rabbi, how do you like my glasses?

By Ari Galahar February 28, 2011

Leaders of the Vizhnitz Hasidism have issued new instructions in regards to the purchase of eyeglasses, as part of their attempt to combat modernization.

In a special sermon to the young yeshiva students of the Hasidic dynasty, considered one of the biggest in the haredi sector, Rabbi Israel Hager, the successor of the Vizhnitz Hasidism’s founder, discussed the dangers inherent in modernizations on the secular street and urged the students not to wear metal glasses and contact lenses.

Jerusalem: Police disperse Haredi protest on Highway 1 March 6, 2011

Dozens of haredim attempted to block highway 1 at the entrance to Jerusalem Sunday night using burning garbage cans.

Shas threatens to quit coalition if housing shortage not addressed

By Lilach Weissman March 6, 2011

Shas chairman Minister of Interior Eli Yishai today threatened on “Voice of Israel Radio” that the party would quit the government if it did not approve a plan for addressing the housing shortage by increasing the supply of homes.

Shas Interior Minister threatens to quit government

Shas: UTJ’s Gafni holding funds from Religious Affairs Ministry March 3, 2011

Shas officials have accused the chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) of preventing funding for the Religious Affairs Ministry Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Yishai: Housing prices will cause a social catastrophe

By Raz Smolsky March 4, 2011

“There will be a social catastrophe here if we do not learn to provide land and address the horrible bureaucracy,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai told a conference on planning and construction yesterday.

Eli Yishai Prays for Rav Ovadiah Yosef’s Health

By Gil Ronen March 2, 2011

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef – the spiritual leader of the Shas movement, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi and a sage highly respected by both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews has taken ill, and has asked his followers to pray for his health.

Shas chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai did just that Wednesday, at the Tomb of Shimon HaTzaddik (Simon the Just) in Jerusalem.

Time on his side

By Tal Niv Opinion March 4, 2011

Yishai is holding on.

…He knows that anyone who doesn’t resign, who doesn’t accept responsibility, triumphs over decency. One can only imagine what would have happened had Netanyahu decided that the coalition could do without Shas.

From Ethiopia to the courtroom

By Margaret Stoner March 6, 2011

Despite such remote isolation, the village upheld Jewish practice for 2,000 years. And though much of the Ethiopian population has become more secularized, Leah maintains a strong connection.

“Being Jewish means everything to me,” she asserts.

Israel Revokes Anglican Bishop’s Residency Permit

By Judith Sudilovsky, Religion News Service March 3, 2011

Israel has declined to renew a residency permit for Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem, according to the leader of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Center (ICC).

The action took place several weeks ago but the bishop’s office was trying to resolve the issue without media attention, said ICC Executive Secretary Yusef Daher.

Religion and State in Israel

March 7, 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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