Religion and State in Israel – November 28, 2011 (Section 2)

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Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

By Moran Azulay November 22, 2011

Major-General Orna Barbivai, head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, said Tuesday that “women should sing on any stage and in any every ceremony.”

By Shmuel Rosner Opinion November 18, 2011

The truth, though, is that there is no simple way to balance these competing rights. Religious soldiers can’t be made to violate their faith. 

The military can’t be made to alienate its most motivated group of soldiers. And I can’t educate my daughter to serve in a military that would excise women from the public sphere to accommodate the radical demands of the super pious.

By Yaakov Katz Opinion November 25, 2011

[OC Manpower Directorate Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbava] has said that she is inclined to rule that soldiers need to remain in certain ceremonies but that she will leave room for consideration to the unit commanders.

It is not clear if this is the right move, since without an across-the-board ruling, the issue will not be put to rest and threatens to advance the already growing rift within the IDF and within Israeli society.

By Yoav Zitun November 25, 2011

The Israel Defense Forces is stepping up its war on young women falsely claiming to be religious in order to avoid military service. In the past year, the army has doubled the number of private investigation agencies checking up on women suspected of falsely seeking exemption from service.

Officials at the IDF Personnel Directorate believe that at least 8% of the young women claiming to be religious lied to the local rabbinical court, which recommends that they be exempt from service under three conditions – the girl must declare that she doesn’t travel on Shabbat, eats kosher food and cannot serve in the army on religious grounds.

By Yoav Zitun November 22, 2011

The haredi infantry battalion Netzah Yehuda in the Kfir Brigade may undergo dramatic changes next year, which will see the duration of military service extended from two to three years, similarly to other combat positions in the IDF.

According to the Manpower Directorate, some 450 haredi combat soldiers joined the battalion in 2011, and an additional 650 haredim were recruited to other IDF positions. The Directorate estimated that the numbers will continue to grow, reaching some 2,400 new haredi recruits in 2015.

By Tzipi Malkov November 28, 2011

The Jerusalem mayoral elections will only be held in about two years, but the capital’s ultra-Orthodox factions are already looking for a candidate to compete against current Mayor Nir Barkat.

Ynet’s local portal, Mynet, has learned that United Torah Judaism is searching for a secular rather than religious candidate to run on its behalf.

According to the [Shas] faction chairman, Deputy Mayor Eli Simhayoff, “We never promised that our candidate would have a beard.”

By Jeremy Sharon November 25, 2011

Yosef Meir Hazan, a member of the Sikrikim (Sicarii) extremist ultra-Orthodox group, was arrested this week in the capital’s Geula neighborhood as part of a special operation by the Jerusalem Police.

By Jeremy Sharon November 22, 2011

The Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Shmuel Veisfish, an activist in the extremist Sikrikim group, who was sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court in January this year to two years imprisonment for rioting, extortion, assault and grievous bodily harm.

By Shmarya Rosenberg November 23, 2011

This violence was and remains an outgrowth of fundamentalism that promises followers sole possession of truth and of the closed (or nearly closed) communities in which these Haredi fundamentalists live. 

Unless we provide a nonfundamentalist framework for Haredim to independently learn about the science and history that might cause them to question their absolutist beliefs, the violence will continue.

By Tomer Zarchin and Eli Ashkenazi November 22, 2011

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided Tuesday to open a criminal investigation against Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, for alleged incitement to racism.

The criminal investigation opened by Weinstein will not focus on “rabbis’ letter,” however, but rather on personal remarks made by Eliyahu.

By Aviad Glickman November 22, 2011

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein also mentioned that the rabbis would benefit from the protection the law provides in cases involving the use of quotes from the scriptures.

The AG said that in general he tries to avoid criminal proceedings when it comes to halachic rulings unless they sanction physical violence on the basis of race.

By Jeremy Sharon November 23, 2011

Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, coexecutive director of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, also welcomed the investigation, but called the failure to address the rabbis’ letter “problematic.”

“The decision not to investigate the rabbis’ letter implies that when a racist says and does racist things, he can justify it under the guise of ‘psak halacha,’” – issuing a legal ruling – Be’eri-Sulitzeanu told The Jerusalem Post.

“Failure to investigate the letter basically says that this is kosher, and we can’t accept this stance. We hope that the decision will be reviewed, but if not, we will have to weigh whether or not to appeal to the Supreme Court.”

By Jeremy Sharon November 24, 2011

In a hearing on Wednesday at the High Court of Justice, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch instructed the Attorney-General’s Office to inform the court within 60 days whether or not it will issue an indictment against Chief Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu for incitement to racism.

Anat Hoffman, the executive director of IRAC, said that they had used the request for a contempt-of-court order as a tool to force the A-G’s office to expedite its decision.

“We wanted to draw attention to the foot-dragging of the state in this matter, and the manner in which it has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to this issue,” she told the Post.

By Gideon Levy Opinion November 27, 2011

Recent religious controversies over issues such as women singing in public, separation of men and women on bus lines and the so-called Jewish Taliban women of the Lev Tahor ultra-Orthodox sect reflect insecurity and a lack of direction. If the religious camp had direction, it would not need such dangerous pranks.

By Meir Turgeman November 24, 2011

“We are looking into the possibility of industrial imports of goose,” the rabbi said during a culinary conference at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, tantalizing the taste buds of every kashrut observer in Israel.

By Jeremy Sharon November 25, 2011

If the dream of tasting pork – that most forbidden of forbidden foods – has always been yours, then dream no longer. And if you thought the idea of a rabbinically approved slice of swine was less likely than a flying pig, then think again.

AP November 23, 2011

Israel’s chief rabbi is bringing home the bacon.

By Eli Ashkenazi November 24, 2011

The Tiberias Municipality has been transplanting trees along Hayarden Street in order to enable cohanim, descendants of ancient Jewish priests, to use the street. According to Jewish tradition, cohanim are not allowed to enter cemeteries. 

The municipality undertook the project because of the concern that ancient cemeteries are buried under the street. The center of the city, where Hayarden Street is located, was the Jewish burial area of the town in Talmudic times. November 27, 2011

Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis, 34, has been appointed to serve as the new emissary for the Shavei Israel organization in Katowice, Poland.

Rabbi Ellis will work to expand Shavei Israel’s activities throughout Poland, which include: … providing assistance with the aliyah, conversion and absorption process for those members of the community in Poland who choose to immigrate to Israel.

By Ruth Eglash November 28, 2011

Up to 1,000 Ethiopian-born immigrants protested Sunday opposite the Immigrant Absorption Ministry over a recent government recommendation to reduce the number of new olim arriving each month.

…an interministerial commission made a recommendation this past summer to reduce the number of new immigrants from 200 per month to 110 per month, starting from November 15 this year until March 1, 2015.

By Revital Blumenfeld November 28, 2011

Ethiopian Jews won a four-year battle Sunday to commemorate the members of their community who died in Sudan during the long and dangerous journey to Israel. But the relatives of the dead will not receive government compensation as did relatives of Soviet Prisoners of Zion.

Ziva Mekonen, executive director of the Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jews:

“A country that knew how to bring in 15,000 Jews from Ethiopia in only 36 hours should know how to bring in the people who are left in Ethiopia. And they have to bring them in quickly.” November 24, 2011

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis gathered on the Haas Promenade in the capital’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on Thursday to celebrate Sigd, which has been observed for centuries to pray for the community’s return to Jerusalem.

By Nir Alon November 24, 2011

By Nir Hasson November 28, 2011

Soon to be published in the prestigious Dead Sea Discoveries journal, their conclusions will likely not put to rest the heated debate over the identity of the people who wrote the scrolls. 

But scholars who surmise that the ancient volumes were written by a separatist sect will find in the research support for their position.

By Nir Alon November 23, 2011

Coins dated 17/18 CE were discovered beneath the Western Wall of Temple Mount, providing scientific confirmation that the Western Wall and Robinson’s Arch construction were not completed in King Herod’s lifetime.

By Oz Rosenberg November 23, 2011

Last Friday, a group of Jewish public figures and intellectuals paid a visit to the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem with one simple goal in mind, asking for forgiveness. 

The group took the step following a report in Haaretz about two weeks ago describing the practice of some ultra-Orthodox Jewish young people of spitting when passing church clergy on the street.

By Tomer Zarchin November 23, 2011

The police commissioner recently asked for an investigation into a claim that Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III allegedly purchased recognition of his title with the assistance of former Pensioner Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan.

By Gili Izikovich November 28, 2011

Yesterday the council issued a call for public suggestions as to what the station should broadcast and how it can be geared to the religious, ultra-Orthodox, secular and traditional audiences.

By Eli Ashkenazi November 28, 2011

The cabinet Sunday decided to place the ancient tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai under the management of a special government company under the supervision of the tourism minister.

…It is believed that some NIS 3 million are contributed to the site annually, only NIS 1 million of which goes to the fund maintained by the state committee.

By Omri Efraim November 24, 2011

Some 1,500 worshippers led by Interior Minister Eli Yishai arrived at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus on Wednesday night. The visit was coordinated with the IDF and the police.

Minister Yishai said, “The visit here is important and I hope the impairments will be corrected. The answer to the Palestinian Authority is to act according to what we believe in.”

Editor – Joel Katz
Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.
All rights reserved.

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