Religion and State in Israel – November 7, 2011 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel
November 7, 2011 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

By Tamar Rotem November 6, 2011

In her speech at a city council meeting, Azaria spoke about segregation on “buses, streets, health clinics and supermarkets …. This doesn’t stay within the Haredi community; it seeps into our side very quickly, and it’s threatening to women.”

She says Barkat “acquiesced to the ultra-Orthodox in the name of dialogue. He is in favor of compromise, but he simply doesn’t understand the ultra-Orthodox method. There’s no way of forging compromise agreements with extremists; these people are making increasingly radical demands.”

Azaria opposes the secular concept of live and let live. As she sees it, “what happens here is that the majority needs to surrender its values to extremist groups.” She says there is no contradiction between her religious outlook and her campaign.

By Raphael Ahren November 4, 2011

Based on their interpretation of the 2001 Prevention of Stalking Law, about a dozen families, all with Anglo backgrounds, are demanding a restraining order against several extremist Haredim who protest regularly at the national-religious Orot Banot high school for girls.

The parents are also seeking to sue the extremists for damages, claiming their daughters suffer immensely from the constant harassment and require therapy.

By Chana Pinchasi November 4, 2011
Chana Pinchasi is a doctoral candidate at the department of gender studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Haredi society and its leaders must be forced to take part in an open, incisive public debate that will bring about an understanding: What is our common space? How do we want it to look? And after a great deal of anger, mark boundaries that we can accept together.
Until such a debate is initiated we must not keep silent. We must not allow these norms to spread to the heart of the city, a city that must never again have a wall dividing it.

Taking back the billboards

By Jeff Barak Opinion November 7, 2011

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

Just as women marchers at Take Back the Night rallies around the world don’t simply protest the issue of violence against women but also show that women united can resist fear and violence, a group of Jerusalem women are uniting to show that Israeli women can’t be airbrushed out of the capital’s advertising billboards.
In a guerrilla advertising campaign, six Jerusalem women have been photographed so that their pictures can be hung from balconies and windows throughout the capital with the slogan “Returning women to Jerusalem billboards.”
Over the past months, women have been steadily disappearing from street advertising in the capital, due in no small part to self-censorship on the part of secular advertisers scared of antagonizing the increasingly strident haredi community.

By Oz Rosenberg October 27, 2011
The Clalit health maintenance organization has recently issued stickers for children that completely exclude girls. The stickers, distributed in clinics in the Haredi community, are intended to be given to children as a prize for undergoing a medical treatment or examination. … Even the sticker saying “good girl” shows four smiling boys.

Shahar Ilan, Hiddush: 

“The exclusion of women from the Israeli landscape is spreading like a disease,” he added. “If the public doesn’t rise up against it and put an end to this abomination, it won’t be long before we find ourselves in a landscape without women.”

By Eliezer Yaari Opinion November 6, 2011
This time it seems that the conflict is different: it is not about a partition in Mea Shearim, it is not even about gender segregation in the army. It is about who will make the calls in our society.

By Nir Hasson November 2, 2011
“The idea is to return the city space to its natural state and turn the appearance of women into something boring, that no one notices,” one of the originators of the idea, Rabbi Uri Ayalon, a Conservative rabbi who created a Facebook page called “uncensored,” through which the women signed up to be photographed.
The women believe the problem lies with advertisers, who self-censor out of fear of the ultra-Orthodox. “Now we’ll see the skies won’t fall. I don’t say it will pass quietly, but people will breathe easier when they see pictures of women returning to billboards.”

By Renee Ghert-Zand November 3, 2011
Participants in the initiative emphasize that this is not about wanting to show skin in public. 

Scantily clothed female models disappeared from the Jerusalem streets long ago, and most residents do not have a problem with that. But they see no reason why “normal women in everyday situations” dressed in regular clothing should be eliminated from view.

By Bambi Sheleg Opinion October 31, 2011
The fight for Israel’s public sphere in general and for Jerusalem’s public sphere in particular has taken off in the past decade.
…One could expect Barkat, who was elected by a secular and Zionist-religious constituency, to consider his voters’ agenda; after all, it is thanks to them that he is currently the mayor of Israel’s capital.
It’s unimaginable that Barkat, who was elected thanks to his “secular” views, is in practice implementing the policy of radical haredim in Jerusalem in order to secure calm or anything else which the general public is unaware of

The battle of Bet Shemesh
By Harriet Sherwood October 31, 2011

[Rabbi Dov] Lipman sees the events at Orot Girls as “a microcosm of what could happen in this country. At some point they will become a majority; it’s a demographic fact. We can embrace the moderates or let the extremists run wild. We have to come down on [the extremists] hard, not let them have control.

“This is definitely a battle and we need to view it that way. It’s not just about the school, but the future of Bet Shemesh and the future of the state of Israel.”

VIDEO: Rabbi Dov Lipman interview on German TV – Beit Shemesh Girls School and ultra-Orthodox extremists


By Avirama Golan Opinion November 2, 2011
This is what should be done now: singing. Sing, girls. Face the heralds of darkness and sing. Everywhere. In the army, in the workplace, in the streets, in demonstrations, in marches, in the halls of the Rabbinate. Like Miriam, like Deborah, like the great women of yore.
Sing. Break through the sound barrier. That terrifies them. It disturbs them. They’ll cry out that your pure voices are sinful and that your unkempt hair arouses animal instincts. This wild democracy led by talented, brave women who are making a difference threatens them and their stifling order.
So break out in song, girls. How lovely is your voice. Speak in song.

By Gili Cohen and Ilan Lior November 1, 2011
The “women singer ban” phenomenon has reached Tel Aviv high schools.

By Naomi Zeveloff October 28, 2011

According to Gershom Gorenberg, author of the upcoming book “The Unmaking of Israel,” pressure for sex segregation in public spaces is part of a ramped-up religious vigilance in the Haredi world, caused in part by a lack of passed-down direct knowledge of how traditional Jews in earlier generations actually lived day to day.

Many such religious and cultural practices were obliterated during the Holocaust, he said, and in their absence, Haredi communities in Israel and beyond have adopted a “stricter is better” approach to Jewish, or halachic, law.
In fact, they are innovations, Gorenberg said. 
“What I think is remarkable about this is that it is taking place in a community which is declaredly conservative and anti-innovation,” he said.

By Nancy K. Kaufman Opinion November 3, 2011

So on November 3, 2011, we decided to accompany Anat Hoffman of IRAC and take a “freedom ride.” 

It made perfect sense for us to do this on our first day in Israel, for as Anat pointed out, “NCJW has been next to the cradle of every failed or successful feminist effort in Israel.” And here we were again, riding the buses in the front and taking action.

Saudi women, Israeli women both need social change

By Elana Maryles Sztokman Opinion October 23, 2011
But I think there are also warning signs here for Israel. The movement for greater gender segregation and female body cover that is infiltrating Israeli public life — including buses, planes, the light rail, the post office, streets, conferences, army events, municipal events and more — has sinister echoes of Saudi Arabian life.
It is a reminder that the culture of gender segregation is not about a particular religious ideology but rather about embedded ideas about gender that are given a stamp of approval by religious authorities.

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen November 2, 2011
The Haredi influence in society as a whole means they take liberties. They defy the Supreme Court decisions on separate busing. 

No political party can afford to offend the Haredim because it means they back out of a government and the government falls. That has a serious effect on women.

By Jeremy Sharon November 7, 2011
[Leading religious-Zionist Rabbi Dov Lior] also returned to the topic of religious soldiers listening to women singing in the army, and reiterated his stance that they should exempt themselves from any such events.

“Find a good excuse in order to leave before the women sing,” he told a student, adding however “you don’t have to explain to anyone why you need to suddenly leave.”

By Yair Ettinger November 4, 2011
The Katzes are part of a growing trend: couples seeking an alternative to the state’s religious courts for the purposes of marriage and divorce.
Even if it is hard to bypass the Chief Rabbinate’s authority altogether, more and more people are refraining from setting foot in its courts, opting instead for private ones. There they find the efficiency and creativity sometimes lacking in the rabbinical establishment.
Tzohar, an organization of religious Zionist rabbis, and Mavoi Satum ‏(“Dead End”‏), an advocacy group for women denied divorce, are preparing a draft bill of their own that would grant judicial powers to private batei din.
Mavoi Satum is weighing a petition to the High Court of Justice asking it to give private rabbinical courts the same rights as those of Badatz Ha’edah Haharedit and Badatz Karelitz.

By Jeremy Sharon November 2, 2011
The bill, proposed by MKs Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Zvulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), will require the courts to initiate a hearing within 30 days if the court hadpreviously ordered the husband to give a get to his wife through a “obligatory” or “coercive” decree, and within 90 days for an order which “recommended” or “commanded” that the get be given.
Batya Kehana, director of Mavoi Satum who helped draft the bill, expressed hope that the bill will help accelerate the process for women to be granted a get.

“We hope that the bill will help shorten the period of abuse and blackmail that women who are denied a get experience, and put an end to the foot-dragging that characterizes the rabbinical courts,” she told The Jerusalem Post.

By Tova Tzimuki November 3, 2011

“The law means to transfer the responsibility of enforcing sanctions to the courts without needing to involve the denied party,” Committee Chairman David Rotem explained.

By Kobi Nahshoni November 1, 2011
The flagship project of the Tzohar organization – performing thousands of wedding ceremonies a year – is in danger of shutting down because the chief rabbinate and Ministry of Religious Services have stopped providing the movement with marriage certificates, Ynet has learned.
In recent months, Religious Services Minister Yakov Margi has instructed his office to cease issuing additional wedding certificates to the Shoham rabbinate, beyond a quantity that is sufficient for residents of the local council. Needless to say, the number is much lower than the thousands of couples that do it with Tzohar.

By Lourdes Garcia-Navarro April 7, 2010

Women’s groups say these issues underscore the inherent contradiction between religious traditionalism and contemporary civil society in Israel — which was founded as a Jewish state but also a democratic, modern one.
Susan Weiss says nowhere is this more strikingly illustrated than in the so-called race to the courthouse.

“When you get divorced, you have to decide issues of custody, you have to decide issues of marital property, you have to decide issues of visitation rights — all sorts of … matters that are ancillary to the issue of divorce,” she says.

By Tomer Zarchin and Eli Ashkenazi November 4, 2011

Rabbi Mordechai Elon, who was indicted earlier this week for sexual assault and indecent behavior against two minors, denied the charges yesterday, calling them gossip, slander and lies.

“The charges are based on gossip and slander. Any claim that I confessed to these acts is a blatant, heinous lie,” Elon said at a meeting with some 100 supporters and students in a synagogue in the northern town Migdal.

“I have been tried in a kangaroo court, put before a firing squad. This is anti-democratic, anti-Torah and inhuman.”

By staff and Joanna Paraszczuk November 3, 2011
Following Elon’s comments, the Justice Ministry spokesman said in a statement that the State Attorney’s Office had not approached Elon’s attorney or made contact with Elon in order to come to any agreement with him.

By Yair Ettinger November 4, 2011
Since February 2010, when the Elon affair was exposed with a bang, many asked whether the charisma of some rabbis, like Elon, had given them too much power over the delicate souls of their students, and whether they used their power to subdue their students’ will.

By Jeremy Sharon and Joanna Paraszczuk November 2, 2011
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment on Wednesday afternoon against Rabbi Mordechai Elon, charging him with five counts of indecent assault, and indecent assault by force.
According to the indictment, which was filed in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Elon, 51, the former head of Yeshivat Hakotel and a leading figure in the religious-Zionist world, exploited his position as a revered figure in carrying out the offenses against two minors.

By Aviad Glickman November 2, 2011

Rabbi Motti Elon: “My behavior is apparently being construed in a different way to what actually happened. I never harassed anyone, let alone committed indecent acts. The indictment is baseless to the core and I shall prove my claims in court.”

By Leon Cohen November 6, 2011
A quiet “Jewish renaissance” is happening in Israel and has been growing for the last ten to 15 years in ways that were “unexpected in form and size.”
So contended Rabbi Benjamin Segal, 67, former president of Melitz-the Centers for Jewish and Zionist Education in Israel and former chair of the Masorti [Conservative] Movement in Israel.
…Above all, “this does not mean observance. The people are accepted as who they are,” Segal said. “That allows these people to learn, and sometimes choose” among observances.
And this movement is “wildly opposed” to religious compulsion or privilege, the products of the long-time mixing of religion and state in Israel, he said.

Shabbat Shalom: Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1–17:27)
By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Opinion November 4, 2011

Jewish law provides for conversion, and no ancient halachic authority demanded total compliance with “Orthodox” law as a necessary condition.

By Rabbi Micah Peltz Opinion November 6, 2011
There is a debate about Israel education. Some advocates teach Israel in black and white.
For these educators, Israel is a country of the halutzim (pioneers) who built the land from nothing, that always justly battles its enemies, and that is the fulfillment of the centuries old dream to return to Zion.
Others, however, prefer to portray Israel in shades of grey. They respond to the black and white approach by saying that “things are not so simple.”

By Jessica Steinberg October 12, 2011
Call it circumstantial Zionism.
There’s been a recent uptick in North American aliyah — of basketball players.
More than a dozen North American players have become Israeli citizens and joined professional Israeli basketball teams and second division squads in the past few years.
It’s not exactly a trend but the result of Israeli league rules, the NBA lockout and the dreams of one particular team owner.

Religion and State in Israel
November 7, 2011 (Section 1) (see also Section 2)
Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.

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