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August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Haredi’

Reports: Haredi Establishment Using MikvahCams to Prevent Scandals

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Following an increase in reported sex scandals in the Haredi community, rabbis and Mikvah managers have increased supervision in ritual baths using guards, compulsory modesty aprons in the saunas, and even cameras, Mosher Heller reported Sunday in Yedioth Jerusalem. According to Heller, mikvahcams and daytime supervisors have already been installed in Jerusalem baths.

Enhanced supervision of mikvahs is one of the ways the ultra-Orthodox establishment is dealing with reports of scandals in Jerusalem, both in and out of the mikvahs.

A source in the Haredi establishment who requested to maintain his anonymity has confirmed to JNi.media that just about every mikvah has a hidden camera. “No one cares about these pictures,” the source said, “they’re only there in case something happens, and then the value of having a record of the event far outweighs the issues of privacy.”

Apparently the mikvahcams are hidden from sight, using technology similar to nannycams that monitor how your babysitter treats your children when you’re away.

According to the Heller story, in the Shomrey Hakhomot mikvah in the Beit Israel neighborhood there are hidden cameras in the locker rooms, outside the showers, in the saunas and in the hallways. In many mikvahs the cameras are hidden over the dipping pools as well.

Access to the video records is restricted to certified rabbis, who may only watch the material in groups of three, and must verify their identities using their fingerprints.

A source told Heller that many regulars were upset to discover that they were being taped in their birthday suits. There was an outcry in Meah Shearim after a mikvah there announced that it had installed cameras “to maintain the sanctity of our camp.”

The most troublesome issue in daytime dipping in the mikvah, which is for men only, is the potential contact between unaccompanied children and adults. To this end the Skver mikvah in the Geula neighborhood in Jerusalem has hired a special daytime supervisor who walks in and out the small pool enclosures, monitoring the unsupervised children and “keeping an eye” on suspicious adults.

The reason for the intense involvement of the Haredi establishment in preventing sex scandals can be attributed to the proliferation of Haredi news websites, which over the past decade have been exposing numerous cases of sexual misconduct of every flavor, in a community that until recently maintained a code of silence over such crimes. The Haredi websites avoid vulgar language and stay away from lurid pictures — they use code words, innuendo, even scriptural citations, to wink and nudge at their readers who have no problem understanding the full message. In the past three years intense competition among more than five such websites has pushed the reports of Haredi scandals to levels of exposure they never received since the prophet Nathan rebuked King David over the “poor man’s sheep.”

And that archaic scandal also began at the bath, you’ll recall…

JNi.Media

Coalition Kills Core Curriculum Prerequisite for Haredi Schools

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

After the previous Netanyahu cabinet set a prerequisite requirement for all Haredi educational institutions to teach core curriculum subjects such as English and Math, a new bill will change the rules to absolve the same institutions of those requirements, Israel’s Channel 10 News revealed Wednesday.

During the coalition negotiations for the current Netanyahu government, United Torah Judaism and Likud agreed that the core curriculum law would be revoked. Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) has objected to this move earlier this year.

According to Channel 10, the elimination of the obligation to teach core curriculum subjects will not result in reducing the budgets of Haredi yeshivas who pass on the extra material. This way these institutions will get more money but will not incur new expenses.

The current law sets three prerequisites for declaring Haredi educational institutions as eligible for state funding: teaching core curriculum subjects, testing to measure growth and effectiveness, and eliminating discrimination against students from non-Ashkenazi ethnic groups.

According to the emerging legislation, advanced by Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ), Haredi institutions will be absolved of having to teach any foreign language at all. They will also not be obliged to teach math if they don’t want to. These same institutions will also be absolved of participation in testing.

The only change the new legislation introduces is stronger controls on the prevention of discrimination in Haredi yeshivas.

David Israel

Reform Insulted by Haredi Walkout in Knesset Committee

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

The Reform movement in Israel has launched a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee against United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni, Israel Eichler, Uri Maklev and Yakov Asher, for walking out of a Knesset Interior Committee room during a debate over the Mikvahs Law. The Ethics Committee has forwarded the complaint to the UTJ faction, requesting an explanation.

The complaint was sent by attorney Gilad Kariv, who serves as Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, said: “In the name of the Movement for Progressive Judaism in israel we’d like to launch a complaint against the Knesset Members from the UTJ and Shas factions over their repeated behavior of leaving in a demonstrative manner Knesset committee debates whenever a speaker associated with Reform or Conservative Judaism gets the floor.”

“This behavior has been going on for several years,” Kariv wrote, “and it was most recently exposed in a debate of the Interior and Environmental Protection Committee, June 13, 2016. The debate revolved around the proposed Religious Jewish Services bill (Regulation of Intended Use of Ritual Bath amendment) 5776-2016, which directly touches on these two movements, their rabbis and members. As yours truly received the floor from Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem, MKS Moshe Gafni, Israel Eichler, akov Asher and Uri Maklev left the room in a demonstrative manner.”

Kariv argued that the departure was particularly egregious since these four MKs were among the endorsers of the bill, and their refusal to attend a hearing with citizens about the new legislation is an affront to the parliamentary process and to democracy. After all, Kariv argued, “this is why the legislator has decided on committee hearings airing a variety of opinions, including those which contradict the position of the one who proposes the bill.”

Kariv called the MKs’ behavior vulgar and said it undermines the principles of the legislative process, as well as the public and ethical obligations of MKs.

The website Bhol.co.il which reported the complaint noted that Haredi MKs have been for many years in the habit of leaving the room whenever a Reform speaker gets the floor.

David Israel

Haredi Party Spearheading Effort to Protect Israeli Religious Charities from US Tax Authorities

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

The heads of charity organizations in the ultra-Orthodox society, commonly known as Gemachim, received at least a temporary measure of relief from the Knesset Finance Committee, chaired by MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), ahead of a new amendment of the Income Tax Act that takes effect in September and compels Israeli financial institutions to report through the local tax authorities on the Israeli financial affairs of US citizens. The amendment is the result of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance (FATCA) agreement between Israel and the US, which was a prerequisite for continued cooperation between Israeli and American financial institutions.

It’s not much, but MK Gafni demanded that the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Israel order the banks to give the Gemachim time until the end of June to resolve their status as public institutions, which he hopes would allow them to exclude themselves from the FATCA rules. Gafni envisions a tweaking of the amendment to exclude groups with deposits of less than $50 thousand, or holdings worth less than $50 million.

According to Chairman Gafni, the new regulations could bring the collapse of the Gemachim. “The Israeli government signed an agreement with the US government without considering the disastrous consequences for one of the most important enterprises of the Jewish people that has existed for millennia — the charity and mutual aid societies,” Gafni said, explaining that the Gemachim are “the only means at the disposal of a person under financial duress to receive an interest-free loan to get back on his feet.”

MK Israel Eichler (UTJ), Chairman of the Public Petitions, summoned Dr. Ilan Steiner, Director of the Bank of Israel Currency Department, to his committee hearing, to warn him against another aspect of the US attack on these charity institutions. According to Eichler, banks are being forced under pressure from foreign governments to close the accounts of Gemachim accounts, “in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ and stopping money laundering, the IRS and the American government have become supervisors of all bank accounts around the world including in Israel. Everyone has to go through their inspection, so the Gemachim have received a letter that they will not be able to keep their bank accounts anymore.”

MK Eichler told Dr. Steiner: “I hope that the Bank of Israel find a way to abide by the agreements with the US while not mixing up the Gemachim with the war on terror. The banks must not become a burden and a restriction on associations and charity organizations who want to help people and do not engage in terrorism. There are limits to the madness of the banking system. We must not allow the charity organizations and Gemachim to be paralyzed by American pressures.”

The issues of compliance regarding money laundering and the war on terror stem from the side benefits of an IRS act that was intended to make sure US citizens who make money abroad share some of it with Uncle Sam. According to the IRS, FATCA targets tax non-compliance by US taxpayers with foreign accounts, focusing on individuals’ reporting about foreign financial accounts and offshore assets, as well as by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

Using the US’ enormous economic clout, FATCA bullies the world’s financial institutions into reporting on their American clients to Uncle Sam. Under FATCA, to avoid being withheld upon, foreign financial institutions must register with the IRS and agree to report to the IRS about their US accounts, including accounts of foreign entities with a substantial US ownership. Foreign institutions that enter into an agreement with the IRS to report on their account holders may be required to withhold 30% on certain payments to foreign payees if such payees do not comply with FATCA.

Talk about working for the Yankee dollar.

According to The Marker, Gemachim stand to suffer three different ways from the new law: instead of permitting a Gemach to transfer money into their accounts, they could now be questioned regarding the source of the funds and whether or not tax was paid on them in the US; each deposit could be subject to harassment by the bank, in order to verify that it is not part of a money laundering scheme; and the Gemach could be saddled with a new definition as a financial institution, and as such would be compelled to report on its fund sources to the IRS or face criminal sanctions.

JNi.Media

Dozens of Haredi Rabbis Call on Israel to Kill Every Terrorist ‘As Soon As He Leaves the House’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Several dozen rabbis, many of them Haredi and Hasidic, on Sunday attended an emergency conference at the study hall of the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Meir Alter Horowitz, in the neighborhood of Har Nof in Jerusalem, Kippa reported. Dubbed “emergency conference for the security of Israel in the Holy Land,” the assembly ended with a uniform call against a national unity government with the Zionist Camp (Labor) or with any other politicians who declare openly that they want to hand over areas of historic Israel.

Besides the host, the Bostoner Rebbe, the conference included Haredi “celebrities” such as the Chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Moshe Landau, the Chief Rabbi of Tsfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and the head of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel.

The statement the assembled rabbis issued after their conference said in no uncertain terms that there must be no negotiations over territory across the “green line,” nor any mention of the “two state solution.” The announcement suggested that “the only way to uproot the wave of terror by Arab murderers in the Holy Land would by through a firm stand of the Israeli government that there will never be a negotiation over parts of the Holy Land, by expressing regret for past withdrawals and regret for the ‘miserable declaration’ of two states for two peoples.”

The assembled Haredi rabbis also said that “the areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem are all part of the Land of Israel and we must continue to build there in accordance with the needs of the population without interruption. The rabbis have ruled according to Halakha that maintaining the security forces’ deterrence is more important than any holy object.”

The Haredi rabbis also mentioned what they called “stupid” statements by senior officials in government and the military which, they said, dishonor the nation of Israel and the IDF soldiers—referring to Deputy Chief of Staff General Yair Golan who compared the behavior of some IDF soldiers to that of German Nazis in the 1930s.

The rabbis added that every Arab terrorist must be executed. “Every Arab terrorist who leaves his house with the intent to hurt Jews has lost his right to live and must be shot without needless calculations,” they stated. They noted that whomever refuses to follow their directions should not be placed in charge of the security of Israel, citing Deut. 20:8 — “What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.”

JNi.Media

Attacked by Haredi, Officer Impounds his Hat, Forces him to Sit and Learn

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

IDF Major Rabbi Shraga Dahan this week arrived at the Chabad synagogue in Beit Shemesh dressed in his uniform, and was attacked verbally by a youth who called him “Hardak,” Haredim 10 reported.

The term Hardak is an offensive slur which represents both an acronym for Haredi Kal Da’at or Vain Haredi, but is also a combination of the words harak and haidak, which mean, respectively, insect and germ in Hebrew. The term was featured in an anonymous campaign that was begun back in 2013 by Haredim opposed to the draft, to attack their kin who decide to enlist. The purpose of what eventually became a nasty and occasionally violent campaign, was to create a public pressure that would discourage young Haredim who are contemplating service in the Army. The Hardak campaign also encompassed an attack on Haredi individuals who use smartphones, who were dubbed Modern Haredim. Beit Shemesh, a city outside Jerusalem which is split down the middle between Haredim in one section and Modern Orthodox and secular Jews in another, has been one of the most vocal hubs of the campaign.

Hardak campaign poster

Hardak campaign poster

According to Major Dahan, this was not the first time he had been attacked this way, but this time he decided to respond. “A year ago I was walking around [Haredi] Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet and they threw stuff at me, cups, etc, and cursed me out.” On a different occasion, Dahan was attacked when making a shiva call in Kiryat Malachi, despite the fact that he was accompanied by the neighborhood rabbi.

Dahan, a Chabad Hasid who serves as military chaplain, said he started to fear even walking through the Haredi neighborhoods of Jerusalem, such as Geula. “It’s not normal,” he said. “I’m not ashamed of what I do, should I apologize for representing Judaism in the IDF?”

Finally, being attacked inside his own synagogue was the straw that broke his camel’s back. He walked over to the catcalling youth and took away his hat. “I didn’t want to beat him up, I wanted him to understand what he had done,” Dahan explained. He then ordered the youth to sit down and recite a chapter of Tehilim for the wellbeing of IDF soldiers, if he wanted to get his hat back.

After 40 minutes of recitation, Dahan approached the youth again and offered to study together Chapter 32 in the Tanya, the foundation text of the Chabad Lubavitch movement. The chapter deals with loving one’s fellow Jew — suggesting all of Israel are called brothers because their souls are rooted in the same, singular God, only their bodies are distinct from each other. However, there can be no true love and fraternity between those who regard their bodies as primary and their souls secondary, it would only be a love based on an external factor (Source: Chabad.org).

The young man was reluctant at first, but eventually understood that if he wanted his hat back (it costs between $50 and $100 new), he’d better sit down with the rabbi in uniform and learn.

“To his credit, in the end he understood his mistake and heartfully begged my forgiveness,” Major Dahan said. “I asked him if he regretted his actions and would commit to never repeating them in the future and he answered yes.” Dahan believes this is the only way to reach Jewish extremists — learn with them about loving all of Israel.

“Let my reward be that I managed to bring some love of Israel during the period of the sefirah,” he concluded.

The period of 33 days beginning on the second day of Passover is considered a time of misfortune in Jewish history. It is part of the Sefirat Ha’Omer, the counting of the 49 days from the night after the seder leading up to the holiday of Shavuot, when the new grain will become permitted for eating.

JNi.Media

Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The Jewish Agency is making plans to settle 120,000 Jews — one in every five French Jews — over the next four years.

The project sounds fanciful if one looks at recent history, but radical Islamic terror and country-wide anti-Semitism have cast a shadow of the Nazi era over Jews in France.

The Jewish People Policy Institute, the Jewish Agency’s think tank, is drawing up plans for opening up job opportunities to attract French Jews, who enjoy a relatively high standard of living.

The number of Jews from France who moved to Israel last year was 7,000, a small number by itself but a dramatic jump from previous years. Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky has said he anticipates 15,000 Jews from France to make Aliyah by 2016, but the Agency’s think tank has bigger plans.

If history repeats itself, the project for mass Aliyah will create lots of work for Jewish Agency , inflate its budget and bring in only a trickle of results.

Aliyah from Western countries never has been very impressive except in the hey-day of Israel’s victory over Arab enemies in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Since the 1970s, the only really impressive Aliyah has been from what was the Soviet Union, from where more than 1,000,000 Jews — and 300,000 people who were not Jews according to Jewish law — moved to Israel.

But Jews have a tradition of enjoying a good life in the Diaspora, hanging on until they are expelled or often trying to flee after it is too late.

Fear and loathing have not yet sent shivers down the spines of American Jews, most of whom consider Israel a place for hapless Jews who cannot survive elsewhere. The “Golden Medina” has been a tough nut for Aliyah ever since the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

On a trip to Baltimore in 1951, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion told rags to-riches millionaire Jacob Blaustein of expectations of the Aliyah of thousands of Jews every month, to which Blaustein retorted, “American is our home.”

Just think if one in every five American Jews were to make Aliyah. The economy would boom. The so-called “demographic problem” of an Arab and Bedouin population dominating Jews would disappear.

If even 10 percent of 1 million American Jews were to settle in Judea and Samaria, there would be no question about its place in Israel.

But Americans do not face the imminent threat that has caused French Jews to panic and fear.

The Jewish Agency plans are not a pipe dream.

“I was in Netanya this past Shabbat, and everyone is talking about the Aliyah of Jews from France,” French expatriate Yisca Maimon told The Jewish Press Sunday.

She explained:

They are afraid to go to the supermarket and to synagogue and get killed. The Aliyah movement starts with one friend, and then another friend, and everyone influences one another. Jews in France are very close to one another. People are afraid of Islamic terror because there is absolutely no security there. Yes, there are attacks in synagogues and supermarkets in Israel, but here we have the IDF. We are in our own home.

Jews in France feel they cannot stay there anymore. They know they have to leave. There are nearly 8 million Muslims in France, and their presence is increasingly overwhelming. Everyone is afraid.

There is another reason for Jews to flee France, if they want their children to remain Jews. The assimilation rate is nearly 70 percent, which raises the question of which Jews will move to Israel.

Haredi rabbis who are not raving Zionists — except for the fact that they live in Israel — already have objected to mass Aliyah because of problems of Jewish law.

They say they are afraid of more secular Jews but  in truth they also are afraid of the growing national religious community in Israel, which in the past two decades has become very influential in the IDF, professional fields and now in the Knesset thought the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, which has opened up its doors to secular Jews who also are strong nationalists.

The Jewish Agency will have to deal with the problem of “Who Is a Jew” when the time comes. It also will have to streamline the absorption process to allow professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, to practice in Israel without some of the obstacles that have no logic but simply exist from the earlier days of the modern State when old-line Israelis expected everyone to be like them.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday, “We must prepare to absorb large-scale immigration to Israel. To this end we are working to remove the impediments to [recognizing] diplomas and professional degrees in Israel. At the same time we will prepare an emergency plan to cancel bureaucracy so as to enable massive construction to absorb the immigrants, just as we did previously to absorb the major immigration from the Soviet Union.”

If the Jewish Agency can succeed, it might even begin to attract more Americans, not enough to make baseball the Israel National Pastime but enough to at least make hamburgers as popular as falafel.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-agency-planning-for-massive-aliyah-of-120000-french-jews/2015/01/26/

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