It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The new policy, which applies to guards at train crossing points, is being implemented even though the country’s Arab citizens -- numbering 1.2 million and nearly one-fifth of the total population -- have been exempt from serving in the military since Israel’s establishment.
Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, complained to Israel Railways and the attorney general last week, arguing that the move was meant “to cleanse the railways of Arab employees”.
“It is an especially grave matter as this is a public company whose operations are meant to benefit all citizens,” he said.
The announcement came as a confidential European diplomatic report issued its most damning assessment of what it claimed was an Israeli strategy to create a Jewish majority in the city’s predominantly Arab east.
Israeli government figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request showed that 4,577 Palestinians had been stripped of the right to live in East Jerusalem last year, a record.
1. Inter-faith marriages. A couple who follows two different religions, or a secularist and a member of a religion cannot be officially married.
2. Civil marriages for couples who want a non-religious wedding.
3. Secular Jews, and Jews who follow non-Orthodox Jewish traditions, like Reform Judaism. These form the majority of adults in Israel.
4. Couples where one or two partners are not a Jew, Christian, Muslim or Druze.
5. Loving, committed same-sex couples in Israel who are discriminated against by all of the religious authorities.
The Israeli government has launched a television and internet advertising campaign urging Israelis to inform on Jewish friends and relatives abroad who may be in danger of marrying non-Jews.
The advertisements, employing what the Israeli media described as “scare tactics”, are designed to stop assimilation through intermarriage among young diaspora Jews by encouraging their move to Israel.
As the Christian world celebrates Christmas, and as Christians in Palestine and in Israel celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel recommended that hotels and restaurants in the country should refrain from displaying Christian symbols.
Chief Rabbinate In Israel Demands Not Displaying Christian Symbols
The Rabbinical “Lobby for Jewish Values” started recently a campaign targeting restaurants and hotels that decorated their buildings for Christmas, and its chairman, Ofer Cohen, said that the lobby is considering a boycott campaign against these businesses.
The lobby raises the issue every year around Christmas in an attempt to stop entrainment places from displaying Christian festivities, while this year a source at the council said that businesses that refuse to comply could have the Kashrut certificate revoked.
Following the complaints, Oded Weiner, director-general of the Chief Rabbinate, received a call from Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and said that this issue is only a recommendation to the hotels and restaurants. But he also said that although this is a non-binding proposal, and although it is improper not to display Christian symbols, yet “such symbols could offend members of other faiths”.
Father Samuel Aghoyan, a senior Armenian Orthodox cleric in Jerusalem's Old City, told the newspaper “that he's been spat at by young Haredi (God-fearing religious Jews) and national Orthodox Jews “about 15 to 20 times” in the past decade”. Father Aghoyan added: "Every single priest in this church has been spat on. It happens day and night."
Similarly, Father Athanasius, a Texas-born Franciscan monk who heads the Christian Information Centre in Jerusalem’s Old City, said he's been spat at by Orthodox Jews "about 15 times in the last six months".
Jewish spitting is not exactly breaking news. I myself have explored the issue more than once. The Israeli Professor Israel Shahak commented on Jewish hatred towards Christianity and its symbol, suggesting that “dishonouring Christian religious symbols is an old religious duty in Judaism.” According to Shahak, “spitting on the cross, and especially on the Crucifix, and spitting when a Jew passes a church, have been obligatory from around AD 200 for pious Jews”.
Interestingly enough, Jewish spitting has had an impact on the European urban landscape. The following can be read in a Travel guide for Jewish Europe.
“In Prague’s Charles Bridge, the visitor will observe a great crucifix surrounded by huge gilded Hebrew letters that spell the traditional Hebrew sanctification Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh Adonai Tzvaot, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts”. According to various commentators, this piece, degrading to Jews, came about because in 1609 a Jew was accused of desecrating the crucifix. The Jewish community was forced to pay for putting up the Hebrew words in gold letters. Another explanation is that a Jew spat at the cross and for this he was to be put to death as a punishment. When this man begged for his life, the king, seeking to have good relations with the Jews, said the Jewish community had to rectify the offence…” (To read more, click here.)
Shahak maintains that “in the past, when the danger of anti-Semitic hostility was a real one, the pious Jews were commanded by their rabbis either to spit so that the reason for doing so would be unknown, or to spit onto their chests, not actually on a cross or openly before a church.”
A Christian student was scheduled for deportation from Israel June 30 because the government accused her of “missionary work.” Roused by police at 6:30 a.m., German grad student Barbara Ludwig was taken to prison and told she must leave Israel by May 30. Haaretz says she “denied being a missionary, although she admits contact with Messianic Jews.”
“They may have seen me at some meetings of the Messianic Jews,” Barbara said. “I go around with Jews, with Christians, and with Messianics, and I read books about Christianity. So what? That’s no reason to deport me.”
By Donald Neff
Former Israel Bureau Chief for Time Magazine
Excerpted from Fifty Years of Israel
On Dec. 29, 1977, Christians in Israel and the occupied territories protested a new law passed by the Israeli parliament making it illegal for missionaries to proselytize Jews. Protestant churches charged that the law had been “hastily pushed through parliament during the Christmas period when Christians were busily engaged in preparing for and celebrating their major festival.” The law made missionaries liable to five years’ imprisonment for attempting to persuade people to change their religion, and three years’ imprisonment for any Jew who converted. The United Christian Council complained that the law could be “misused in restricting religious freedom in Israel.”
Donald Neff has been a journalist for forty years. He spent 16 years in service for Time Magazine and is a regular contributor to Middle East International and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. He is the author of five excellent books on the Middle East.
Nonetheless, it came into force on April 1, 1978, prohibiting the offering of “material inducement” for a person to change his religion. A material inducement could be something as minor as the giving of a Bible. Although the Likud government of Menachem Begin assured the Christian community that the law applied equally to all religions and did not specifically mention Christians, the United Christian Council of Israel charged that it was biased and aimed specifically at Christians since only Christians openly proselytized. Council representatives also cited anti-Christian speeches made in the parliament during debate on the law. Parliament member Binyamin Halevy had called missionaries “a cancer in the body of the nation.”
The next year Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, considered a political moderate, issued a religious ruling that copies of the New Testament should be torn out of any edition of a Bible owned by a Jew. Israeli scholar Yehoshafat Harkabi wrote that he was disturbed by “these manifestations of hostility-the designation of Christians as idolaters, the demand to invoke the ‘resident alien’ ordinances, and the burning of the New Testament.” Observed Harkabi: “Outside of the Land of Israel Jews never dared behave in this fashion. Has independence made the Jews take leave of their senses?”
The US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor’s “International Freedom of Religion Report 2009” is heavily critical of Israel’s policies regarding religious pluralism and tolerance. In its introduction the report notes, “Government allocations of state resources favored Orthodox (including Modern and National Religious streams of Orthodoxy) and ultra-Orthodox (sometimes referred to as "Haredi") Jewish religious groups and institutions, discriminating against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism.”
The report relies heavily on research and reports from NIF grantees. ”According to the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) for Progessive Judaism (Reform), in 2006 approximately 96 percent of all state funds for Jewish religious education were allocated to Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools”; ”According to New Family: Organization for Family Rights, more than 5,000 couples marry in civil ceremonies abroad each year, primarily in Cyprus.” The report also refers to Supreme Court petitions by IRAC and Adalah: Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
Women in Israel is the first comprehensive overview of discrimination in a state dominated by a patriarchal religious order, and brings fresh insights to the efficacy of the law in improving the status of women. Providing a sociolegal perspective on women in Israel viewed, Ruth Halperin-Kaddari examines all aspects of Israeli women's lives, looking at legal issues such as affirmative action, motherhood and the workplace, and mechanisms for the advancement of women, as well as conditions of education, employment, health, family, and prostitution.
While tracing legislative evolution in Israel, Halperin-Kaddari discusses the extent to which law can create social change. Because of its unique position as an economically developed democracy and yet a state where government tries to maintain a special cultural tradition and religious identity in a heterogeneous society, Israel has failed to adopt a single national standard for women that would bring Israeli law into compliance with international human rights. Halperin-Kaddari concludes that the improvement in women's status has not been due to egalitarian consciousness, but rather is incidental to Israel's overall socioeconomic advancement.
“Israel’s private sector is almost entirely closed to Arab women because of discriminatory practices by employers who prefer to employ Jews,” Mr. Jabareen said. He added that the government had failed to provide leadership: among governmental workers, less than two per cent were Arab women, despite repeated pledges by ministers to increase Arab recruitment.
“Shabbat Beshabato,” [is] a weekly pamphlet on the Torah portion distributed in thousands of copies to synagogues all over Israel. Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, the founder of the Conversion Authority and head of the Tsomet Institute of Halacha and Technology [Hebrew], wrote in the most recent edition that “the time has come ‘to declare war’ on the Israeli Arabs, and of course on the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria, who are not loyal to the state, using clear tests to determine this, and to designate them as ‘enemies.’” [...]
What kind of enlightened democracy finances a body that is behind the publication of unacceptable remarks against its citizens? The Tsomet Institute, like quite a few “rogue elements” (such as the Od Yosef Hai Shechem yeshiva, whose rabbi, Yitzhak Shapira, permits the killing of gentile babies) receives thousands of shekels annually from the state. In 2007-2008, Tsomet received from the Science and Technology Ministry over NIS 580,000, and another NIS 100,000 or so from the Ministry of Education, as well as NIS 200,000 from the Gush Etzion Regional Council.