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ultra-orthodox

  • What's dividing Israeli society? Just don't mention the occupation

    Is it possible to discuss the sources of Israeli disunity without addressing the country’s military regime in the West Bank and siege on Gaza? Can Israelis ever accept Palestinians as part of that conversation? The plight, let alone the very existence of millions of disenfranchised people living under Israeli military rule, was nowhere to be found at the Anti-Defamation League's first-ever Summit on Social Cohesion in Israel Tuesday. Actually, that's not entirely correct. [tmwinpost] “We are no longer the occupiers, we have become the occupied,” former Defense Minister and erstwhile Labor Party leader Amir Peretz declared ironically to the hundreds…

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  • U.S. Jews can’t expect Israel to be liberal only where they want it to

    Liberal American Jewry is up in arms after the Israeli government nixed a deal to allow men and women to pray together at Judaism's holiest site. But if American Jews want their interests in Israel safeguarded, they must rid themselves of the fantasy of a nonexistent Jewish pluralism. The Netanyahu government created an uproar across the Jewish world on Sunday by rolling back an agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall where men and women could pray together. The compromise would also have brought representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements into a committee meant to manage that space. [tmwinpost] That arrangement…

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  • WATCH: Police suppress ultra-Orthodox demo against arrest of IDF deserter

    Police arrest 15, use water cannons against hundreds of ultra-Orthodox demonstrators who hit the streets of Jerusalem to protest the jailing of an IDF deserter.  Text by Eli Bitan, photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Hundreds of young ultra-Orthodox men protested Thursday night in Jerusalem against the jailing of ultra-Orthodox IDF deserters. The demonstration is part of a larger protest movement against the arrests of Haredi deserters, which began immediately following the Jewish holiday of Purim by a radical faction of the ultra-Orthodox movement. On Thursday the protesters blocked central roads in Jerusalem, including the main entry to the city. The police used…

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  • Religious pluralism cannot be separated from the fight against occupation

    As the 50th anniversary of the occupation draws near, those who consider themselves to be on the left cannot hide behind the battles that keep us in our comfort zone. By Emily Hilton Confrontations erupted at the Western Wall last week between security forces and activists from Reform and Conservative movement, after the activists broke through security barriers with torah scrolls in their arms, defying the ultra-Orthodox authorities that run the holy site. [tmwinpost] The prayer rally was staged after the government failed to implement a resolution approved in January to create a pluralist prayer section at the southern end of the Western…

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  • IDF spending millions on 'advertorial' content in Israeli media

    The IDF has spent NIS 28 million on advertising in various media outlets, despite claims to the contrary. By Itamar Bazz The Israel Defense Forces purchased advertorial content in media outlets, according to an investigation by The Seventh Eye. In an interview to radio station “Kol Ha’ayin” last year, IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz said the army is not involved in purchasing advertorial content and that media outlets that publish IDF content do so for their own editorial reasons and without receiving any compensation. But data obtained by The Seventh Eye and the organization “Hazlacha” indicate that in certain cases IDF…

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  • Israel's deepest divide

    The religious-secular chasm may be kept at a low boil beneath the unifying factor of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But more likely, the polarization is one reason why Israel does not take more action to end the conflict. A recent and vast survey of Israelis by the Pew Research Center showed deep divisions of attitudes within Israeli society. Much of the attention centered on the finding of highly opposed views “not only between Israeli Jews and the country’s Arab minority, but also among the religious subgroups that make up Israeli Jewry,” as Pew’s own Facebook description read. [tmwinpost] The survey offers…

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  • There is nothing anti-Haredi about staying in your seat

    The attempt to dismantle patriarchy does not necessarily imply hatred for ultra-Orthodox Jews. Rather it is an urgent task that extends to all spheres of daily life. A response to Orly Noy. My colleague Orly Noy, whose thinking and writing I greatly value, wrote an article entitled “Let’s fight women’s oppression without demonizing ultra-Orthodox.” After reading Orly’s arguments carefully, I found that I disagree with nearly all of them except perhaps the title. I do not support demonizing ultra-Orthodox Jews or any other group. But even my agreement with the title is qualified, since the issue at hand is everyone’s problem.…

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  • Women of the Wall victory can teach us a few things

    If we succeeded at pushing the government to find a solution on a matter as sensitive as the Western Wall, then we can also push Israel's leadership — from a perspective of self interest — to make other, equally positive decisions. By Batya Kallus Last Sunday, following a 27-year struggle by Women of the Wall, the Israeli government approved a plan to create a new pluralistic, egalitarian and feminist plaza alongside the ultra-Orthodox prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This is first and foremost a victory for Jewish feminists. But imagine — a group of Jewish religious women…

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  • Pride murder may force Israel’s ultra-Orthodox to face homophobia

    Homophobia in the ultra-Orthodox community is primarily expressed through silence — it simply isn’t discussed. After a haredi man stabbed six people at the Jerusalem Pride Parade, that silence may have been tragically broken. By Eli Bitan In the summer of 2006 I first learned about gays, lesbians and the LGBT community, concepts that until then, as a 15-year-old haredi (ultra-Orthodox) yeshiva student, I was completely unfamiliar with. The haredi community made a colossal mistake that summer by launching a struggle against the international Pride Parade scheduled to take place in Jerusalem that year. The result was catastrophic for haredis…

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  • Seven Nights 1: The Stabbing

    The plan was to write a leisurely travel journal: a record of Canaan's summer nights, but the journey began with a dark event: a stabbing at Jerusalem pride, and took on a different nature. Welcome to a seven-part, nocturnal diary of shock and recovery, a true story from an emotional land. For other nights click here. The plan is simple: I will only write about things that happened after dark. Still, I must begin with something that happened at dusk. It was 6:30 p.m. or so and we were walking in central West Jerusalem when six people got stabbed right…

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  • Ultra-Orthodox paper photoshops women out of gov't portrait

    Yom-LeYom, the official weekly of the Shas party, published the traditional group portrait of the cabinet and the president this morning — with one notable amendment: Ministers Miri Regev (Culture), Ayelet Shaked (Justice) and Gila Gamliel (Immigrant Absorption and, you guessed it, Gender Equality) were all airbrushed out. Here is the original: And here is the Shas version: Although there is no specific instruction in Jewish law that bans pictures of women, many ultra-Orthodox publications err on the side of caution so as not, um, lead their readers into temptation. Haredi media famously censored pictures of the Charlie Hebdo solidarity…

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  • The occupation doesn't take a day off for elections in E. J'lem

    On election day, Palestinians in East Jerusalem aren't worrying about who will be the next prime minister — they are too busy trying to protect their homes. I decided to start my day, Election Day, at the Western Wall. With all due respect to the ballot box, the Wall is the real thing when it comes to depositing small pieces of paper. The entire plaza was surprisingly empty. Aside from tourists there were very few worshipers. Three ultra-Orthodox girls giggled behind a table near the entrance, writing something on small pieces of paper. With a smile, I ask them if…

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