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Religion, State, and the New Government

Religion, State, and the New Government

Writing about this subject raises the known question as to what we should be looking at: the half-full cup, or the half-empty cup?


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Joint statement protesting desecration of siddurim at the Kotel

Joint statement protesting desecration of siddurim at the Kotel

Dozens of ultra-Orthodox extremists harassed Women of the Wall worshipers at their monthly service at the Western Wall on Friday, June 11, 2021. Following this hateful incident, JPLAN (the Jewish Pluralism Legal Action Network), and RUACH HIDDUSH (Rabbis and Cantors for Religious Freedom and Equality in Israel) called for charges to be brought against those responsible.

What else is important RE: the Meron tragedy investigation?

What else is important RE: the Meron tragedy investigation?

The political and rabbinical ultra-Orthodox leadership are still preventing the appointment of a state investigation commission. Their objections are anchored, to a great degree, in an offhand rejection of the legitimacy of the civil judicial system in general and of the Supreme Justices in particular, as we have repeatedly outlined here.

59% of Israeli public opposes ultra-Orthodox parties in coalition

59% of Israeli public opposes ultra-Orthodox parties in coalition

Against the background of the “change government” that is taking shape and news regarding Bennet and Lapid hoping to add the ultra-Orthodox to their coalition, the question as to whether the ultra-Orthodox parties should be included in the coalition arises again.

73% support State recognition of same-sex couplehood

73% support State recognition of same-sex couplehood

3 out of 4 Israelis support same-sex couples receiving all the rights other couples get; 73% of the adult Jewish public in Israel support recognition of same-sex marriage (54%) or civil unions for same-sex couples (19%).

Hiddush in the legal trenches

Hiddush in the legal trenches

Last week, Hiddush filed a petition in the Supreme Court on behalf of itself; the Israel Women’s Network; NA’AMAT; the Rackman Center; and Women Lawyers for Social Justice to ensure adequate gender representation for women on Religious Councils and senior oversight appointments.

Only 40% support leaving conversion under Chief Rabbinate

Only 40% support leaving conversion under Chief Rabbinate

In honor of the Jewish festival of Shavuot, Hiddush - for Freedom of Religion and Equality commissioned a public opinion survey to examine the attitudes of Israel’s adult Jewish public on the matter of conversion.

Beware of fighting words!

Beware of fighting words!

A group of Christian leading clergy recently published a proclamation, calling upon the leaders of the Democratic Party to “be careful about appointing Jewish politicians to the Biden Administration, for they have nationalistic Jewish loyalty and affinity for the State of Israel.”

Israel Independence Day according to Haredi media

Israel Independence Day according to Haredi media

Two front page pictures, that of the front page of Yaded Ne’eman and of Yediot Aharonot, on Israel’s Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers, which is also the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut, tell the whole story. A government that prides itself as being Zionistic, relies on ultra-Orthodox politicians that are cynical and anti-Zionistic, aiming to extort State funds, enforce religious coercion and undermine Zionism.

So, who owns Judaism?

So, who owns Judaism?

MK Israel Eichler [United Torah Judaism] had this to say yesterday about the new Labor MK, Rabbi Gilad Kariv when the new MKs were sworn in and the new Knesset launched its anticipated stormy, possibly short lived, term. Kariv was, until recently, the Executive Director of the Israeli Reform Movement, and Eichler’s vitriol is not directed against him personally, but rather against all Judaism’s liberal streams:

The elections and the Jewish-Arab and secular-Haredi tensions

The elections and the Jewish-Arab and secular-Haredi tensions

A survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute several days after the election revealed the depth of dissatisfaction of the majority of the Israeli public with the election results. Two-thirds of the public is dissatisfied with the results [including the majority of Jewish voters for the right, left and center parties] and 80% believe that Israel is facing its fifth round of elections in the coming year.

The Court conversion ruling and the elections

The Court conversion ruling and the elections

Non-Orthodox conversion and the Supreme Court are playing a key role in these elections, especially in the election propaganda of the ultra-Orthodox parties.

Hiddush files petition against Minister Aryeh Deri

Hiddush files petition against Minister Aryeh Deri

An administrative petition was filed at the Jerusalem District Court this week against the Interior Minister, the Population Authority, and the Attorney General, who refuse to register some 150 Israeli couples who have been legally married via web conferencing in Utah County, Utah, USA. The petition was filed by Hiddush – For Religious Freedom & Equality, 9 of the couples married online via Utah County, and 2 Utah rabbis, Samuel Spector and Dr. David Levinsky.

What they said about the landmark Court ruling

What they said about the landmark Court ruling

The Supreme Court was kind to Israel in issuing its ruling this week on the matter of the eligibility under the Law of Return for Reform and Conservative Conversions performed in Israel. Opponents of recognizing non-Orthodox converts rushed to condemn the Court and criticize it for not waiting another few weeks or months, after having waited 15 years, until after the next Knesset elections. However, the truth is that the ruling is of great importance in helping the public decide whom to vote for and what direction it wants the State of Israel to grow. It wasn’t the the verdict itself, which is important, but rather the violent [verbal] reactions , not yet physical] that erupted from the very moment it was published and the political demarcations that divide the responding camps.

The friend of my enemy is my enemy

The friend of my enemy is my enemy

Most people are familiar with the expression “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” – it dates back to the 4th century BCE, and one compelling example of its relevance is the case of the USSR partnering with the Western European nations and United States to defeat the Nazis. A more recent compelling example is the increasing closeness of the Gulf States to Israel, as Iran, a common enemy, threatens them both.

A glimpse through the eyes of the English media

A glimpse through the eyes of the English media

There is not a day that the media in Israel does not deal with the meeting points Between the ultra-Orthodox and the secular, as well as between religion and politics in the context of the pandemic.

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