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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘MK Elazar Stern’

Brave New Nation: 30 New Rabbinical Courts to Process Conversions

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

If you’re a student of American history, you may recall a time early in the FDR presidency, when the largely Republican appointed Supreme Court would knock down much of the Democratic president’s new legislation on constitutional grounds. Eventually, FDR announced that he would double the number of justices, appointing a kind of associate justice to every sitting member of the high court, thus completely diluting their power. The threat worked and the court became much more reasonable in dealing with the newcomer’s legislative agenda – ushering in the New Deal.

Mk Elazar Stern of the Tzipi Livni movement, who is an observant Jew, may have succeeded in doing something similar to the stranglehold that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has had on conversions, not only in Israel, but in America as well. as you may know, the Rabbinical Council of America has had the resilience of a wet shopping bag in standing up to Israel’s Rabbinate in deciding which American rabbis are approved to conduct conversions and which aren’t.

But as MK Stern has told Israel radio tonight, his new conversion bill will enable the creation of some 30 new 3-judge conversion courts throughout Israel, adding about 90 new rabbinical judges to the existing conversion system. That’s a feat that even old FDR would have admired.

According to Stern’s pending bill, which already appears to enjoy the initial, albeit tacit, support of Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home, “a city’s rabbi is permitted to establish a conversion court within his municipal authority, as needed. The confirmation by the city rabbi that a person has been accepted into the Jewish ethnic group and has had a religious conversion will constitute an official certification with no need for any additional confirmation.”

In the current coalition government, Jewish Home has a veto power over state and religion legislation. Some in the party support the Stern Bill, some are not sure. The faction has asked Stern for two weeks, during which they’ll deliberate the issue with the two chief rabbis who are livid, apparently. They really don’t like the Stern bill. They’re Haredim, they were elected against the wishes of Jewish Home leader and Minister of Religious services Bennett, so of course they hate it. But some of the Zionist Haredim, such as Rabbi Yaakov Ariel and Rabbi Dov Lior, also oppose the bill.

Rabbi Ariel told the website Srugim that he is against the bill because he likes things the way they are today, when there’s only one source of approval or disapproval for conversions in Israel. He fears a situation whereby some courts will get a reputation for being too easy on candidates for conversion, and then he and his colleagues would be forced to research every single conversion that comes before them for, say, the purpose of marrying another Jewish person.

Yes, having just one court is so much easier on rabbis.

At this point it looks like Jewish Home will not use its veto power to kill the Stern legislation, but they might ask for a few improvements. Control of the standards of conversion seems to be a major issue for the Haredim. Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, Jewish Home, made an effort to calm everyone involved, promising to work together with the President of the Supreme Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, an expert on conversions, on a version of the bill that the two chief rabbis would approve.

The chief rabbis are no fools, they understand that MK Stern represents a very large majority of Israelis who wish to see the monopoly over everything Jewish wrested from the hands of the chief Rabbinate. This is why Chief Sephardi Rabbi, Rav Yitzhak Yosef (same name, different rabbi) has already expressed his trust in Ben Dahan’s ability to reach the kind of language for the new law that would “maintain the unity and wholeness of the people of Israel.”

That’s code for giving the chief rabbinate back some control over the conversion process.

The Reform Movement, nebech, has expressed its reserved support for the new bill. They approve, of course, of anything that would give the chief rabbinate a bloody nose. On the other hand, none of the proceedings mentioned above comes even close to recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions inside Israel. So they hate it.

African Immigrant Knocks Kippa Off Head of MK Stern

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Police have arrested an African immigrant who charged at Knesset Member Elazar Stern in Tel Aviv Sunday night, hit him, knocked his kippa off his head and then stepped on the kippa several times.

MK Stern is a product of a national religious yeshiva, former head of the IDF Manpower Department and now presents Tzipi Livni’s “HaTnua” party in the Knesset.

The unidentified immigrant, who was shirtless at the time despite unseasonably cool weather, waved a cross he was wearing and shouted at Stern. The MK ignored him, apparently angering the immigrant even more.

MK Stern was visiting the neighborhood along with other MKs who had been invited by a local committee to see the problem first-hand.

The low-income area of southern Tel Aviv has attracted thousands of illegal immigrants, causing fear among long-time residents who have been victims of rape and murder and daily theft.

Religious MK Proposing Burial of Gentile IDF Soldiers Alongside Jews

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Tzipi Livni’s Movement MK Elazar Stern is proposing an amendment to the law governing military cemeteries, whereby all the fallen IDF soldiers will be buried adjacent to existing graves. According to Stern, the amendment is intended to prevent discrimination in military cemeteries.

MK Stern, who used to serve as the IDF Head of Human Resources and is currently a member of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, told Israel Radio: “It is inconceivable that our youth, especially those who immigrated from the former Soviet Union, would be good enough to fight alongside the rest of us, and, sadly, also to die alongside the rest of us, but they’re not good enough to be buried among us.”

“This discrimination inside the military cemeteries shames all of us,” continued Stern, “and my bill says that if you were killed in the service of the Jewish nation, you’ll be buried as a Jew.”

MK Stern suggested that it could be said that one’s willingness to sacrifice one’s life in defense of Israel is the “purest conversion process imaginable.”

“But it can also be argued that we should do it based on ‘darkei shalom’ (things we do not because they are prescribed halachically, but because they maintain a peaceful relationship with the gentiles).”

“What was appropriate in diaspora is clearly appropriate here,” MK Stern concluded, saying his message was national, social and, “in my opinion, religious as well.”

On Friday, Israel radio exposed the fact that Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz placed a flag on the grave of Col. Solomon (Moni) Nitzani in the military cemetery on Mount Herzl, following a decade old tradition whereby the chief of staff puts a flag on the grave of the last IDF soldier to die before Memorial Day.

Except that, unfortunately, Col. Nitzani was not the most recent IDF casualty, it was Yevgeni Tolochki, who died two months ago and was buried in the non-Jewish section of the same cemetery.

The IDF Spokesperson’s response, that the ten year old tradition has pertained exclusively to the central, meaning Jewish section, has done little to improve matters.

National kindergarten teacher MK Zehava Gal-On, who also serves as Chair of the left wing Meretz, was quick to condemn the IDF faux pas: “The loss of a loved one is equally difficult and painful to Jews and non-Jews alike,” she said. “There was no need to add the pain of alienation to the grief of the family, based on an ugly discrimination between bloods, and contrary to fundamental democratic values.”

MK Stern, an IDF insider, said he discussed the problem with military decision makers and told them they could either make it easier for IDF recruits to convert to Judaism, or change the rules regarding separate burials.

Although he graduated from a High School Yeshivah, Elazar Stdern is not especially liked in religious circles. Back in 2005, Stern was assaulted at the Western Wall by individuals who protested his leading role in expelling Jews from the Gaza strip.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/religious-mk-proposing-burial-of-gentile-idf-soldiers-alongside-jews/2013/04/15/

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