Religion and State in Israel – July 4, 2011 (Section 2)

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Religion and State in Israel

July 4, 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.

All rights reserved.

Special edition on arrests of Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef coming soon.

Planners split on where to build Haredi enclaves

By Ranit Nahum-Halevy July 4, 2011

Planners agree the current situation of high birth and overcrowding among the ultra-Orthodox is not sustainable. What to do about the issue, and specifically where to build homes for them, is still up in the air.

Though many town planners agree separate neighborhoods should be planned for the ultra-Orthodox, which are considered to have special needs – they are divided as to whether wholly separate towns for the population should be planned.

Town planner and lawyer Prof. Rachelle Alterman, head of the Technion Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning:

“At the end of the day combining a non-ultra-Orthodox population with an ultra-Orthodox population means subordination to the ultra-Orthodox way of life and the other populations are not interested in this.”

Separate tables

By Tamar Rotem July 1, 2011

Gender separation in schools and synagogues has always been an important facet of ultra-Orthodox life and is generally not contested.

But the Hasidic members of the ultra-Orthodox community are now determined to extend gender separation to other venues in the public domain, such as banquet halls, buses, health clinics, and even some sidewalks in Jerusalem on certain days of the Jewish calendar.

Among the various Hasidic sects, the Gur Hasidim are known to be most vigilant, going so far as to keep tabs on the activities of families and couples to ensure that the rules of gender separation are not violated.

Tel Aviv locals win appeal against Chabad ‘infiltration’

By Ilan Lior June 30, 2011

Secular residents of Tel Aviv’s prestigious Ramat Aviv neighborhood have won an appeal against the continued long-term operation of a day care center run by the Chabad Hasidic movement, which they said was meant to draw ultra-Orthodox residents to the largely secular neighborhood.

VIDEO: Tzipi Livni on Why Israel Needs a Constitution

Click here for embedded VIDEO

The rabbis and the army

By Nahum Barnea Opinion July 4, 2011

The entire notion of an IDF Rabbinate is mistaken. The army chief would have done well if instead of a chief IDF rabbi he would have appointed a chief religion rabbi.

Just like the chief artillery officer is responsible for artillery, the chief religion officer would be responsible for religious services. His job would be to provide religious services to any soldier who seeks them, and there are many fine troops who seek this.

There should have no interest in educating all the rest, indoctrinating them, pushing soldiers to become religious, or training them.

Benny Gantz cannot separate religion from the IDF. He has no mandate for this. Yet he can stop the politruk invasion into the army. There is no need to set up a committee: Just wake up on time.

Israel’s Army Becoming God’s Army

By Arieh O’Sullivan June 28, 2011

The transformation has seen the deeply religious Jews filling leadership positions in numbers far beyond their proportion in the general population.

Since religious Israelis tend to have more hawkish views, some are concerned the army may face mass insubordination if asked to carry out any controversial moves to implement a future peace deal with the Palestinians, such as dismantling Jewish communities.

The IDF Spokesman’s Unit claims it cannot supply figures on religious soldiers. “The IDF does not differentiate between religious and secular soldiers,” an army spokesman said.

However, a recent edition of the defense journal Maarachot cited that in recent years some 30% of infantry officer course graduates identify themselves as “Zionist-religious,” up from just a mere 2.5% two decades ago. In comparison, only about 12% of the general public place themselves in this category.

We Will, We Will Rock You

By Philologos June 22, 2011

The dispute that has recently arisen in Israel concerning the wording of the Yizkor prayer for fallen soldiers, said on the country’s annual Yom ha-Zikaron, or Memorial Day, reminds one of nothing so much as a similar quarrel that nearly delayed the Jewish state’s declaration of independence more than 60 years ago.

For a higher purpose

By Matan Tzuri June 30, 2011

One cadet stood out among the others at Tuesday’s Israeli Air Force cadet course graduation ceremony – a young woman wearing a long skirt. T., 20 is set to be the first religious woman to complete the prestigious course.

While she could have received an exemption from military service on religious grounds, she chose instead to undergo the grueling and demanding Israeli Air Force cadet course.

Hesder Yeshiva Budget to Education Ministry? June 24, 2011

Former Member of Knesset Nissan Slomiansky expressed concern Thursday over a proposal to transfer funding of the Hesder Yeshiva program from the Defense Ministry to the Education Ministry.

‘Interior Ministry nixing Evangelical visas’

By Jonah Mandel June 28, 2011

The Interior Ministry has started revoking and denying visas to employees of local Evangelical organizations, the outgoing executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) charged.

Rev. Malcolm Hedding, who has run the ICEJ for the last decade, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post last week that over the last three years, he has noticed a new ministry policy toward Evangelical foreign agencies, which has “decimated their organizations in terms of their ability to hold professional staff, significantly impacting our ability to operate.”

Glenn Beck to address Knesset Immigration, Absorption, Diaspora Affairs panel in July

By Lahav Harkov June 28, 2011

The event, called “Restoring Courage,” will take place at the Southern Wall excavation site in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Fox News commentator’s website states the event will “unite the people of the world in standing with Israel and remind us of the need to have faith, honor and courage in our own lives.”

Haredi group takes on Christian converts

By Kobi Nahshoni June 27, 2011

Haredi organization Yad L’Achim is launching a struggle against 1,000 Christians’ intent to convert to Judaism, make aliyah, establish cooperative kibbutzim beyond the 1967 lines – and settle there.

Following the publication of a Ynet article outlining the initiative, the organization’s chairman Rabbi Sholom Ber Lifshitz claims that those involved in the initiative are missionaries whose goal is to bring Jews closer to the Christian faith and belief in Jesus, and called on the government to fend off the attempt.

7,300 Bnei Menashe to make aliyah

By Itamar Eichner June 28, 2011

The Ministerial Committee on Immigrant Absorption, led by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, reached a historic decision in principle several days ago: To bring to Israel the 7,300 members of Bnei Menashe – a northeastern Indian community claiming decent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

The committee decided to appoint an inter-ministerial team of director-generals to prepare an operative plan of action to bring all Bnei Menashe to Israel. The plan will be brought to the government’s approval next month.

Rabbi: Mayor Trying to Turn Jerusalem into Goa

By David Lev June 21, 2011

A “beach party” that was to be held outside the Old City of Jerusalem is to be moved to the Malha neighborhood, but the incident has left a bitter taste among religious and hareidi residents of the city, who accused Mayor Nir Barkat of gross insensitivity to Jerusalem’s religious heritage.

Rabbi Holzberg called on Barkat to think hard and long about his policies. “He wants to turn Jerusalem into Goa. Young people will go wild at these parties, losing all control. Instead of spreading holiness from here to other cities, they are seeking to bring unholiness to Jerusalem.

“The mayor is bringing the Judgment of Heaven down on us, G-d forbid,” he added. “One day it’s a gay parade, another day it’s a beach party. What’s next?”

Masses attend Rabbi Lefkowitz’ funeral

By Kobi Nahshoni June 28, 2011

Tens of thousands of haredim flocked to the central city of Bnei Brak on Tuesday morning to take part in the funeral of Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, one of the leaders of the Lithuanian-Orthodox faction and head of Ponovezh Yeshiva.

Photo Gallery: Huge crowds gather in Bnei Barak for rabbi’s funeral

By Jonah Mandel June 28, 2011

Haredim: Let us smoke in peace

By Ari Galahar July 3, 2011

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman is being criticized from within his own public, after the government approved a national plan to help reduce smoking in Israel.

In recent days, the deputy minister’s office received many complaints from members of the ultra-Orthodox sector over the decision to raise cigarette prices.

Livni schmoozes famed rabbi in move to improve image in sector

By Chaim Levinson June 29, 2011

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni and her husband Naftali Spitzer met last month with popular rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto at his Ashdod home, in a bid to repair Livni’s image as anti-ultra-Orthodox.

During the meetings, Livni assured Pinto that she feels a deep connection to the tradition she’s witnessed at her parents’ home, and that Judaism was part of her Israeliness. She said that some people, presumably her political opponents, were trying to change that reality.

Rabbi promotes ‘modesty wounds’

By Ari Galahar July 4, 2011

What should a girl do if she wishes to dress modestly but her parents won’t let her? According to Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein she can injure herself in order to use it as an excuse for dressing modestly.

Religious Zionism rabbis protest gay singer’s gig

By Kobi Nahshoni July 2, 2011

Ynet has learned that rabbis, right-wing activists and National Service girls are protesting a decision to invite singer Harel Skaat to perform at an event honoring National-Civilian Service volunteers. Some of them are even threatening to boycott the event.

According to the protestors, the majority of the event’s participants are religious girls, who are certain to be offended by having to listen to an open homosexual sing.

Isn’t New York’s take on same-sex marriage a major step?

By Tomer Zarchin June 27, 2011

Attorney Irit Rosenblum, the founder and chairperson of the New Family:

“I think that the institution of marriage should be privatized and not part of the state’s jurisdiction.

The desire for marriage mediated by the state only perpetuates the state’s control over private life. It is contrary to the worldwide process of social activism to separate church and state, and the family from religion and the establishment.

Over the years, the state has taken over the family unit and determined its shape in a way that severely hurt groups that do not meet the criteria determined by the system.

Not only partners of the same sex, but also partners who do not have the same religion or partners who chose to marry abroad in a civil ceremony.”

Israel yet to act against Safed rabbis who warned against renting to Arabs

By Tomer Zarchin June 29, 2011

It has been more than six months and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has still not decided whether there should be a criminal investigation against the municipal rabbis who called on homeowners not to rent apartments to Arabs.

Israeli group urges Yellow Pages to boot businesses advertising Jewish-only labor

By Ilan Lior June 27, 2011

Israel’s version of the Yellow Pages allows businesses to advertise Jewish-only labor in its phone directories, according to a complaint filed by a local umbrella group for civil rights organizations.

The group, Shutafut-Sharakah, approached the Israel Golden Pages (Dapey Zahav ) CEO, Nir Lampert, with a request to remove from the directory businesses that advertise “avodah Ivrit” or Hebrew labor, and to refrain from letting them advertise in the future.

Tel Aviv University won’t hold tests during other religions’ holidays

By Lital Levin June 27, 2011

Non-Jewish students at Tel Aviv University will no longer have to take tests on their major religious holidays, the school has announced.

The guidelines, which were set in response to a request by the student union, are primarily geared toward giving the university’s 1,500 Arab students – 6 percent of the student body – a greater sense of belonging on campus, said Noam Furer, who heads the student union’s academic affairs department.

Meretz: Jerusalem Municipality commits to oppose gender separation during public events

By Ronen Medzini June 27, 2011

According to Meretz sources, the municipality has also committed to oppose gender separation during public events.

770 Comes To Mitzpe Ramon June 24, 2011

Now, Mitzpe Ramon will soon be able to boast its own reproduction of 770 Eastern Parkway, as the new Chabad House here is nearing completion after some years of building and remodeling.

Researchers Confirm 2,000 Year Old Ossuary Discovery June 29, 2011

Researchers from Bar Ilan University and Tel Aviv University published results of a study that was done for the Israel Antiquities Authority, which summarizes the importance of the find and confirms its authenticity

ZAKA files US restraining order over cremation of Israeli

By Mackenzie Green June 29, 2011

The emergency response and disaster relief organization ZAKA has successfully filed a restraining order in the US to prevent an Israeli mother from having her son cremated.

Aaron Tabachnik, a Jewish Israeli teen, recently committed suicide while at a Florida shooting range. Because the young man did not have a will, the disposal of his remains has been left to the discretion of his mother, who opted for cremation and planned to scatter the ashes in Arad, where the family is originally from.

Sides agree to end Schechter Institute strike

By Raphael Ahren June 27, 2011

The seven-week strike at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies ended Friday, the Jerusalem-based institution announced yesterday.

“After intensive negotiations between management and workers, an agreement was signed on Friday, June 24 and the workers returned to work today,” management said in a statement. The summer semester will open as planned on July 3.

Israel furious with Jordan over condemnation of Jerusalem’s Old City renovation

By Danna Harman June 28, 2011

Israel is furious with Jordan, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO said yesterday. Nimrod Barkan said Israel is shocked that Amman had led a successful effort within the international body to condemn Israel over the renovations planned for the Mughrabi Gate Bridge – after signing an agreement with Israel to allow the work to go ahead.

Wait until September to build bridge, police advise

By Chaim Levinson June 28, 2011

Police officials are recommending that a permanent bridge to the Mughrabi Gate adjacent to the Western Wall be built in September, while the world’s attention is focused on the Palestinians’ statehood bid in the UN General Assembly.

The Mikveh Ladies in Israel

By Ellyse Borghi Opinion June 30, 2011

We also discussed (briefly in the meeting but also outside of it) religious coercion in the mikvaot. All Jewish women getting married have to visit the mikva before they are permitted to marry in this country.

This means that no matter if you have blue hair, a million piercing and tattoos, eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and have already 3 children outside of marriage, if you want to get married in Israel you have to go the mikva.

What happened to freedom of conscience?

Shas Eli Yishai, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef urge Obama to free Pollard

By Gil Hoffman and staff June 30, 2011

Interior Minister Eli Yishai delivered a message from Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to US ambassador James Cunningham on Thursday, urging him to persuade US President Barack Obama to commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

The rabbi wrote the president that Pollard’s case was one of Pikuach Nefesh (saving a life) and that he should release him as a “humanitarian gesture.”

Chief UK Rabbi Jonathan Sacks warns of racism risk in Israel

By John Lyons July 2, 2011

Lord Sacks watched from London as 50 of Israel’s leading rabbis – 39 who were on, and remain on, government payrolls – urged Jews not to rent properties to non-Jews.

“I was distressed by it, seriously,” he says. “And I think a people who have been subjected over the centuries to racism have to be doubly careful never to practise it themselves.”

VIDEO: Maintaining Jewish life in Israel’s ‘Sin City’

By Sivan Raviv June 30, 2011

For the purpose of revitalizing community, a hidden synagogue on 126 Ben Yehuda Street was chosen by a young group of Tel Avivians.

Tel Aviv 100-year-old synagogue defiled June 27, 2011

Chevrat Shas Synagogue in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood celebrated its 100th anniversary recently. The site underwent an extensive renovation in the past few years and resumed its activity after being shut down for a long time.

Worshippers say the site is at the center of a real estate dispute, which likely promoted the acts of vandalism.

See what’s blooming at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

By Abigail Klein Leichman June 27, 2011

A newly upgraded Bible Path, punctuated by new plantings, outdoor classrooms, interpretational aids and innovative programming, is aimed at bringing in religiously oriented visitors, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

Orthodox Jewish student teachers will soon be invited to workshops relating to the many botanical and agricultural references in the Bible, so that they can share this information with their future students.

Pagan Rituals In Haifa’s Hadar Neighborhood June 22, 2011

A pagan ritual took place last Shabbat at the Binyamin park in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa. The ultra-orthodox community was astonished and offended that workers from Sudan, India and Nepal were allowed to conduct pagan services near their homes.

Thousands to visit Joseph’s Tomb

By Yair Altman July 4, 2011

Thousands of worshipers are expected to visit Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus Sunday night, to mark the anniversary of the biblical Joseph’s death.

Though the visit was duly coordinated with security forces, a disagreement over the number of buses allowed in the compound has resulted in Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, chief rabbi of the Samaria Regional Council, to boycott the event, following what was called “the disgraceful and humiliating conduct of the defense establishment.”

Haredi Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman rules out trips to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus

By Chaim Levinson June 29, 2011

Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, one of the leading Haredi adjudicators, ruled yesterday that it is forbidden to visit Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus even in coordination with the security forces, and called people who did so suicidal.

Jewish-Druze religious celebration planned

By Akiva Novick July 1, 2011

A unique religious event will be held in northern Israel next week: A joint Jewish-Druze celebration.

It will be held in the Druze town of Sajur in the Galilee region, in honor of the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha, who was considered a righteous man both among the Druze and the Jews.

Religion and State in Israel

July 4, 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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