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May 6, 2016 / 28 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Hareidim’

Education Ministry Official: We Have Plans to Integrate the Ultra-Orthodox

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) Director of the ultra-Orthodox Dept. in the Ministry of Education Meir Shimoni recently revealed some of his office’s plans and objectives in a speech he gave at the Center for the Study of ultra-Orthodox Society, Kikar Hashabbat reported Monday. Shimoni’s statements have arouse a huge storm among heads of Haredi educational institutions and increased their concern regarding an intervention of the Ministry of Education not only in administrative matters but also in matters of curricula and children’s education.

Among other things, Shimoni said that his office is engaged in a “significant and historic groundbreaking,” recalling that “what happened with the ultra-Orthodox sector was very simple,” Shimoni said, “It was very convenient for the state over the past 40-60 years to come to the ultra-Orthodox society and tell them, here’s 5 billion shekel, take the money and do with it what you wish. That’s how things rolled on and on. Various norms were created. They didn’t deal with the core curricula, or the quality of teaching and learning, and everyone did as they saw fit.”

According to Shimoni, the Education Ministry is now determined to improve the ultra-Orthodox educational system. He said there are individuals both inside and outside the ultra-Orthodox society eager to institute these changes. They just need to be connected together.

Saying he is determined to use a carrot and stick approach, “a lot of carrot, only a little stick,” Shimoni spoke about the issue of integrating Haredim in the job market: “If we review the demographics, then by 2040, possibly towards 2050, if the ultra-Orthodox sector stays on its current trajectory, it would constitute about 50% of the Jewish population. That’s the data, give or take, and if we want that this 50% will be integrated into society, employment, the military, the security, all of that, we must take care of the education system yesterday.”

Shimoni insisted that the Education Ministry’s plan is to move at a moderate pace, “not by force but with smarts, with a great deal of caring and sensitivity, but also with determination, never give up the goal.”

Shimoni was appointed by the former Education Minister, Shai Piron, an appointee of Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who had made forcing ultra-Orthodox integration one of his main agenda topics, concentrating on an “equal burden” policy in IDF conscription. The new Education Minister, Naftali Bennett is considered friendlier to the ultra-Orthodox, being a religious Jew himself.

JNi.Media

Rav Ovadia Joins Kerry, Obama and Rivlin on Baratz’s ‘Hit List’

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Israel media have put another nail in the political coffin of Ron Baratz, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s nominee to be his national political adviser.

The late revered Rabbi Ovadia Yosef also was on Baratz’s hit list, according to the Chedrei Hareidim website, which published on Sunday a message that Baratz had posted on Facebook in December 2014.

It was revealed last week that Baratz previously has labeled one of President Barack Obama’s remarks as anti-Semitic, said Kerry has the mind of a 12-year-old, and had unkind words for President Reuven Rivlin.

He wrote of Rav Ovadia, the founder and spiritual leader of the Shas party:

Rav Ovadia gave a feeling of honor to many people. Nevertheless, in my opinion, his activities generally were negative.

He damaged not only the State of Israel but also, to a large extent, the same people he was trying to help.

Baratz added that besides his and Rav Ovadia’s having opposite political ideologies, the nominee for media adviser also does not relate to the late rabbi’s decisions on Jewish law and Torah wisdom.

Shas sharply condemned Baratz Sunday, and party leader Aryeh Deri joined the chorus against his being accepted as media advisor.

The party stated:

Baratz’s comments against Rav Ovadia proves his lack of good judgment and his being unsuitable to be the national media adviser.

Baratz’s Facebook post had some kind words for Rav Ovadia, stating that despite his criticism,” Every time I see him I love him and forgave him for everything.”

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Deri Backs Down on Shabbat Work Halt on New Rail Line

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

A court order overruling Deri’s “stop work” decision allows Israel Railways to continue maintenance and construction work on Shabbat.

Israeli Railways can continue carrying out maintenance work and construction of the new high-speed Jerusalem-to rail line on Shabbat after the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court out-maneuvered Shas leader Aryeh Deri, who also is Minister of Economy.

As reported here last week by the JewishPress.com, Deri scored his political points with his Sephardi Hareidi constituency knowing that his stop work order would not last very long.

Deri’s has backed down from his order against work on Shabbat following a Justice Ministry petition to the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Economy. The court obliged and overruled Deri, who then withdrew his order.

He stated:

The permits to be given or extended shall be valid until a different decision is made, given the court proceeding.

Deri had claimed that Israeli Railways did not obtain a legal permit for working on Shabbat, and he ordered that work on the rail line be halted. Israel Railways claimed that Deri’s decision would delay the inauguration of the high-speed train by 2 years, which mathematically does not make any sense but at least gave the company another excuse for another postponement in completing the massive and oft-mismanaged project.

One delay earlier this year was caused by tunnel engineers who were off the mark during work from both ends of one of the tunnels. It returned out that the opening from each end did not meet in the middle.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Secular Leftists Applaud New Hareidi Minister

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

The lion and the lamb are at peace with each other in the Knesset, at least for a day.

Hareidi Knesset Member Yaakov Litzman took the pledge of allegiance to the government Wednesday and became the first Ashkenazi Hareidi minister since the days of the Ben-Gurion government.

He said at the swearing-in ceremony:

“I, Yaakov Litzman, pledge…to be faithful to the government of Israel and to its laws.”

Unlike the Shas Hareidi party, Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) has refrained from allowing its Knesset Members to become a full-fledged Cabinet minister, which would obligate them to government decisions.

Until today, the prohibition was carried out with a wink and a nod by virtue of simply allowing a UTJ MK to hold the position of “Deputy Minister” without being subordinate to a minister. In Litzman’s case, he has been “Deputy Health Minister” but a de facto minister, reporting to no one but himself and without being a member of the Cabinet.

The High Court put an end to the practice by agreeing with a complaint that there cannot be a “de facto minister.”

Torah sages last week met and agreed to allow Litzman to become a full-fledged member of the Cabinet. Today’s swearing-in ceremony was applauded by most of the opposition, including Merav Michaeli, one of the most leftist and secular members of the Zionist Camp party headed by Yitzchak Herzog.

The party, the result of a merger of the Labor party and the faction that was headed by Tzipi Livni, was part of the overwhelming majority in the 83-10 vote in favor of the appointment of Litzman.

Yisrael Beiteinu, headed Avigdor Lieberman, voted against the appointment, as did Meretz, which added that it had nothing personal against the Hareidi MK.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Ashkenazi Hareidi MK Now Cabinet Minister for First Time in 60 Years

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Hareidi Knesset Member Yaakov Litzman now is a full-fledged Cabinet minister, the first time since the days of the Ben-Gurion government that Ashkenazi rabbinical leaders have approved the position.

Unlike the Shas Hareidi Sephardi party, the Ashkenazi Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism party always has insisted that its Knesset Members not take a full Cabinet post, even if in effect they serve as minister, such as Deputy Health Minister Litzman.

The party did not want its members to carry out the responsibility of a full-fledged Cabinet minister, a post that could place Hareidim in a conflict with issues of Jewish law, such as abortion.

An appeal by an NGO to the High Court that a deputy minister cannot serve as minister without being called as such. The judges ruled in favor of the petitioners, leaving the Torah sages little choice but to allow Litzman to become a Cabinet member, with certain unspecified limits.

Torah sages from several Hareidi sects, including Vishnitz, attended a meeting Thursday morning that the Rebbe of Gur organized to discuss the spread of Shabbat violations in the country.

When the topic of Litzman’s becoming a Cabinet minister came up for discussion, and after a telephone conversation with the Rebbe of Belz, approval was given for Litzman to become a Cabinet minister, and he was blessed to “sanctify G-d’s name.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

IDF’s New Weapon: Soaring Number of Hareidi Combat Soldiers

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

One of the IDF’s best weapons is the growing number of Hareidi combat soldiers, which is making the army stronger physically and spiritually.

A new combat unit of Hareidi soldiers is being established in the Givati Brigade, whose national religious commander Ofer Winter was promoted last week to take over the Central Command and continue his successful program to integrate Hareidim into the army, as the JewishPress.com reported here Thursday.

Approximately 45 Hareidim from the ages of 18-22 already have been drafted for a new Tamar unit, and new positions are being opened for Hareidim in combat support units. The first Hareidi soldiers to operate bulldozers are expected to begin serving in four months.

In the Nevatim Air Force Base in the Negev, Hareidim will take combat support positions and be responsible for equipment for paratroopers.

This year, 2,226 Hareidim have enlisted in the IDF, and the number is expected to rise to 2,700 by next July. More than 100 Hareidi soldiers have passed tests, including hand-to-hand combat, to be accepted as combat soldiers in the Hareidi Netzach Yehuda infantry battalion.

An IDF officer told Haaretz that the new Givati company follows the model that IDF thinks is the best way to integrate Hareidi soldiers into the army. Instead of placing them in units with secular soldiers, where one group might dominate the other, the military thinks that all-Hareidi companies are the best model.

Additional Hareidi combat units are expected to open up in the coming years.

The motivation of Hareidi combat soldiers is extremely high, and the Netzach Yehuda has been praised several times for soldiers’ quick reactions that have prevented or minimized terrorist attacks.

The success of Hareidim as combat soldiers is ironical for the secular scoffers who for years have been accusing Hareidim of draft-dodging.

Yeshiva students often capture headlines when they are arrested for not reporting for the draft, but the hundreds of Hareidim enlisting as combat soldiers is nothing short of a quiet revolution in the army as well as in Israeli society.

Within the army, from the foot soldier to top brass, religious practice is not an issue. Winter was promoted to Brigadier-General because of his success as an officer. He was not passed over because he is religious and was not promoted just because he is religious.

When secular soldiers see Hareidim fight just as they do, the social and religious barriers drop. It is more likely that secular Jews will be influenced by Hareidim much more than non-observant soldiers will influence Hareidim to take off their black kippas.

Providing a religious infrastructure for religious soldiers in the army goes back to the days of Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.

When the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who was a career IDF officer, complained that there were no kosher facilities for soldiers in the Paratroopers unit, he was told, “Find me one religious paratrooper and we will provide kosher food.”

Rabbi Goren promptly showed up for paratrooper training, passed the test and became the first religious paratrooper.

Kosher food then was served.

More than once, secular paratroopers, before parachuting, have been moved by religious paratroopers saying a prayer before for jumping out of the plane opening the chute.

Many of the secular soldiers, some of whom never said in a prayer in their lives, asked to do the same.

Secular anti-Hareidi politicians, who use to laugh at warnings that the army will become more religious if they insist on drafting more Hareidim, soon may regret their wishes.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Bennett and Netanyahu Clash over Rollback of Religious Reforms

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

 

The Cabinet Sunday morning approved amendments to the conversion reform law of the last administration and returned more power to Hareidim, over the objections of coalition partner Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home).

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett to vote for the changes, alleging that they were part of the coalition agreement with the Shas and Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) parties.

Bennett said at the Cabinet session, “I did not agree to this in coalition negotiations,” but the Prime Minister shot back:

All of the agreements obligate everyone.

Likud Parliamentary Group Chairman Ze’ev Elkin stepped into the fray and confirmed that Bennett opposed rolling back the reform, and the Cabinet passed the changes with Bennett and Bayit Yehudi Cabinet member opposing it.

Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party that is not in the coalition, also voted against it.

The amendments wreck all of the efforts in the previous government to take conversion out of the hands of Hareidi rabbis an allow local rabbinical courts to decide on the delicate issue that has the most impact on 300,000 Russian immigrants who are not Jewish according to Jewish law. Hareidi courts generally are far less willing to accept conversions than are national religious rabbis.

The Cabinet also transferred authority over the country’s rabbinical courts from the Justice Ministry to the Ministry of Religious Services, which is headed by another Shas MK, David Azoulay.

Refusal to accept reforms means that it is more likely that all of the children and future generations of the immigrants will not be Jewish. If the woman marry Jewish men, there would be even more non-Jews in Israel and would create complications that could affect their children’s future.

The need for Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a coalition forced him to accept the Shas and UTJ demands to put the conversion process back in the hands of Hareidi courts. Under the new amendments local courts still can process conversions but only with the approval of the Chief Rabbinate.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, is part of the Shas movement that his father founded, so it is no wonder that the Shas party insisted on eliminating reforms.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau also opposed the reforms.

It only is a matter of time before reform once again will undo the Hareidi establishment that never misses an opportunity to forego bridging gaps with the non-Hareidi population and bring people closer to Judaism, simply because they insist on such a rigid approach to religion and concentration of power that pave the way for a backlash that could weaken Orthodox Jewish influence in Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bennett-and-netanyahu-clash-over-rollback-of-religious-reforms/2015/07/05/

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