Posts Tagged ‘Ultra Orthodox’
Some fifty Hareidi men stand in protest at a construction site in Gilo where ancient grave were found while digging.
They believe the bodies found are of Jews, and do not want them moved for the construction of new housing units that were planned for the site.Photo of the Day
For religious Jewish kids growing up in America, Topps’ Bazooka bubble gum was the ultimate forbidden candy, along with the Topps’ bubble gum that was packaged along with the Topps’ baseball cards (you bought it for the baseball cards, right?). In Israel, Elite sold the gum with a standard kashrut certification and many a package of Elite Bazooka gum was shipped to America over the years.
Only recently did the Israeli ultra-Orthodox kashrut service of the “Badatz” (Hebrew acronym for Court of Justice) award the Elite Bazooka gum with a Mehadrin certification, classified as “Megadim” which is a fancy biblical word for sweets. But upgrading the certification from standard kosher to ultra kosher apparently hasn’t helped a few among the Israeli ultra-Orthodox reverse their attitudes. Yael Kliger, writing for Kikar Hashabbat, in a piece titled “Kosher but Smelly,” said she just cannot accept this chewy product, which she had been taught was made from pig’s fat.
Even the American Bazooka, which has been kosher certified for years now, was unacceptable to Israeli Haredim. “It was the treif of treifs, darkness within darkness,” Kliger recalls. The comic strip inside the gum wrapper was sought by her and her peers “to try to read the joke, often feeling bad and sinful for stupidly daring to touch the powdery wrapper of the treif gum.”
Ask any middle aged ultra-Orthodox man or woman, Kliger wrote, “they all remember some drama or horror story related to this product. Someone wrote that he remembers his grade school rabbi taking a lighter, igniting the gum in front of the students, and telling them that the dripping red liquid was the blood of the ‘other thing’ from the gum.”
“And now, unanimously it’s been decided bazooka is in?” Kliger argues that the Badatz, known for its assaults not only against unreliable kosher certifications, but also against smartphones, publications, all the many elements that they deem not to belong in an honorable Jewish home, now, for the money they received from the Elite candy maker, they see fit to reverse decades of group behavior?
There are many opinions on the reason for singling out the Bazooka as treif in the Haredi community in Israel, and to some extent abroad—as many views as there are talkback comments on Kliger’s article. Some believe it had to do with the fact that the Bazooka gum presented a challenge in terms of control — it’s so easy to grab and stuff in your mouth, so the rabbis had to put the fear of God in kids’ hearts. Others suggest it came down to the comics and the jokes — rabbis don’t like their kids reading jokes without a measure of control.
One talkbacker said the kashrut certification is meaningless, because of the halachic concept of “minhag hamakom,” the local practice. If it’s been forbidden, it should stay so.
In fact, Kliger was calling on the Badatz to demand some changes in the product, so it wouldn’t appear as if what has been so decidedly treif for so long is suddenly permissible. Like Mad Magazine and Cracked.
The Israeli Bazooka jokes, by the way, are even less amusing than the original, and are often plagued by bad translation from the English. Shahar Ilan, who reported on the new Haredi certification in Ha’aretz, used as an illustration a Bazooka comic strip in which a waiter serves Bazooka Joe soup, and the latter complains that it has “ta’am matzhik” which in Hebrew means “hilarious taste,” to which the waiter retorts: “So why aren’t you smiling?” — leaving the Hebrew reader scratching their head wondering why the soup was so hilarious.JNi.Media
(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
(JNi.media) There may be a coalition crisis brewing under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s watch, over a split between his two religious partners and the rest of his narrow, 61-member Knesset majority, Israeli media reported Thursday. The rift is over the new ultra-Orthodox conscription legislation, which some Likud and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu MKs are rejecting. The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is expected to meet Thursday to approve amendments to the “equal burden” bill, in accordance with Netanyahu’s coalition agreements with the ultra-Orthodox. The plan was for the approved bill to go to a House vote next week, but now there appears to be a wrinkle in that fabric.
A group of several coalition MKs from Likud and Kulanu are opposing the committee’s proposed changes. The ultra-Orthodox, for their part, have made it clear that the issue is a deal breaker, meaning that Netanyahu would have to look for 13 new members to support him should the bill not go through the committee as agreed.
After the establishment of Netanyahu’s third government in March 2013, a ministerial committee headed by Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) recommended an IDF conscription plan that would exempt only 1,800 exceptional yeshiva students each year, demanding that the rest serve like everyone else (hence the title, “equal burden”). The Committee recommended imposing economic sanctions on educational institutions that don’t meet recruitment targets, while yeshivas with high enlistment rates would be rewarded financially. The Committee also recommended that if conscription targets are not met, criminal proceedings should ensue against individuals refusing to enlist. The legislation was passed in March, 2014.
Last Monday, the Knesset approved in a first reading the draft amendment to the conscription law, postponing the application of criminal sanctions against ultra-Orthodox recruits, and extending implementation procedures of the existing law which was passed by Netanyahu’s 3rd government. The postponement of criminal sanctions is part of the coalition agreement signed by Netanyahu 4 with the ultra-Orthodox parties. Netanyahu and the coalition faction whips made a commitment to Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) to being the amended law to a second and third readings in ten days from last Monday.
The new law proposes two adjustment periods, one to be extended until June 30, 2020, to allow for an examination of the law’s effectiveness, followed by a second adjustment period, lasting through June 30, 2023. If enlistment figures by then would comply with expectations, the law would stay as is; otherwise, the defense minister of that time would be free to alter the arrangement to reach the recruitment targets set by the government in this law.
“Why do we need to postpone the implementation of the law by six years?” one coalition MK, who is member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, wondered, speaking to NRG. “A three year postponement is not enough?”
Coalition members are also resentful of the language in the law that hands over to the defense minister legislation power that belongs to the Knesset, enabling him or her to unilaterally alter the law of the land.JNi.Media
Anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom has more than doubled over the past year, according to figures gathered by the Community Security Trust. (CST)
When the incidents were broken down by category, the highest spike was seen in abusive behavior, which nearly tripled since 2004, but which more than doubled from 2013 to 2014 – a total of 884 incidents last year alone.
In fact, incidents of damage and desecration nearly doubled; the number of assaults were up by 25 percent and the number of threats (92) increased by 142 percent. The highest spike was in anti-Semitic literature, which was six times higher in 2014 than in 2013.
The greatest rise in incidents recorded by the CST in its annual report occurred in London (583) and Manchester (309) in northern England. Included were 81 violent assaults. One case involved a baseball bat and a glass.
Odd, and sad: in 2013, the same organization recorded its lowest number of anti-Semitic incidents for eight years commented David Conn, a commentator for The Guardian.
Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May called the statistics “deeply concerning,” according to Reuters.
Prime Minister David Cameron had already told parliament last Wednesday, “We need to do everything we can to help this community feel safe and secure in our country… I would hate it for British Jews not to feel that they have a home here in Britain – safe, secure and a vital part of our community.”
Really? Seriously? How perfectly splendid. But perhaps Cameron should give this a teensy bit more consideration: after all, even his fellow MP Ed Miliband is being targeted. Where does it end?
It is no surprise to any thinking individual that a survey last month found that 25 percent of Britain’s Jews have spent the past two years mulling the prospect of leaving the UK for good. The survey, conducted online by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, found that 56 percent of Jewish people in the UK believe anti-Semitism now “echoes the 1930s.” More to the point, 58 percent said they believe Jews have “no long-term future in Europe.”
As a matter of fact, students at a small Jewish elementary school in London were drilled on how to respond in case of a terror attack.
Perhaps that’s not a bad idea. Last week a far-right neo-Nazi group announced plans to hold a march under the banner, “Liberate Stamford Hill” next month to protest “Jewification of Great Britain.” Stamford Hill is an area of London that is home to the highest concentration of Orthodox Jews in the country.
The group, which also calls itself “Liberate Stamford Hill” has planned its rally for March 22 at 2pm local time in the Stamford Hill district. For obvious reasons, the CST has expressed concern.Hana Levi Julian