Thursday, August 7, 2014

Religion and State in Israel - Special OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE edition - August 7, 2014

Editor – Joel Katz     
Religion and State in Israelis not affiliated with any organization or movement.     


New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft sent a private letter to the parents of Max Steinberg, an American citizen who was killed fighting with Israeli forces in the Gaza war. 

"I have taken the liberty of reaching out to you since I noticed him wearing a New England Patriots cap," Kraft wrote in reference to news coverage of Steinberg's death. 

The parents of the soldier who dashed into a Gaza tunnel after Lt. Hadar Goldin was kidnapped on Friday morning told Channel 2 that they always “raised him to give back to the community. 

Suzy and Simcha moved to Israel from the United States in 1985; their son Eitan was born in Israel. The family lives in Jerusalem

"This is a new issue, and we didn't have a policy, so we discussed it this week and will finalize our decision next week," said Birthright's Mark.

"The direction is to forbid them from being at funerals because to attend a funeral, you have to understand the fuller context of what is happening here. These people are here for the first and they don't have that understanding." 

The conflict between Israel and Hamas did not stop Ms. Faria and more than 6,000 other participants in Birthright from traveling to Israel in the past month, Birthright officials say, but some 3,000 out of an anticipated 31,000 participants have canceled their trips with the program this season, which runs from May to September.

How the IDF Chief Rabbinate determines death of a soldier whose remains are not found 

Former IDF chief rabbi, Brig.- Gen. (res.) Avihai Ronsky, told The Jerusalem Post that there were several methods of establishing the a soldier’s death without having found his corpse. 

… Another former IDF chief rabbi Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yisrael Weiss told Channel 2 that in each case a special panel is established with the military rabbinate including the serving chief rabbi, as well as the rabbinate’s expert in burial and the identification of fallen soldiers and other relevant specialists. 

The IDF chief rabbi is legally able to make the final decision on the death of a soldier, and he then informs the head of the IDF Manpower Division who briefs the IDF Chief of Staff, following which the family is notified. 

Ronsky said that when a final decision is made it is a professional evaluation and 100 percent accurate, saying that there is no chance that such a person remains alive after the IDF chief rabbi has pronounced him dead.

Forensic findings are only part of the evidence used by rabbis in the Israel Defense Forces, whose authorization is needed to pronounce a soldier dead. The military rabbinate also examines medical reports and operational debriefings. 

In the case of Goldin, a special panel headed by Peretz, the chief military rabbi, also examined the details of the battle in Rafah, in which the officer had been snatched by Hamas fighters into a tunnel. 

… “In [Sgt. Oron Shaul's] case no body parts were found, but a clear conclusion about his death was reached,” said Rabbi Yisrael Weiss, the chief military rabbi from 2000 to 2006.

 The chief military rabbi is the final authority on the status of a dead IDF soldier. The task becomes complex when the bodies of soldiers are not recovered, little forensic evidence remains, and there are no eyewitnesses. 

In the absence of a body, the level of proof required by the rabbis to pronounce a death is often higher than that of the legal system. It’s also sometimes different from the conclusions reached by the intelligence services. There are also political considerations and the wishes of the families to be taken into consideration. 

The IDF spokesman on Sunday morning announced the death of IDF officer Lt. Hadar Goldin, who fell in battle in the Gaza Strip on Friday. 

At 11:25 p.m. on Saturday, the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Brigadier Gen. Rafi Peretz, declared Goldin dead. 

The decision was made according to the findings of a special board, headed by Peretz, who considered medical, halachic and other relevant considerations. 

The commander of the army’s storied Givati Brigade says that studying Torah “protects the people of Israel more than anything else.” 

IDF Col. Ofer Winter said in an interview with the latest issue of the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Mishpacha (Family) that “anyone who can sit and study [Torah] – it’s his duty to do so. In a time of war the thing the people of Israel require most is for Torah students to sit and study the Torah more intensively,” he says. 

Winter made headlines three weeks ago, at the start of Operation Protective Edge, when he declared “holy war” on the Palestinians in an official IDF dispatch to his troops. 

Complaints surfaced on Wednesday about rabbis who gave motivational speeches of a religious nature to soldiers at staging areas for the ground operation in Gaza. 

Despite the continuing war in Israel against Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization, Rabbi Uri Pilichowski and his wife, Aliza, and their five children, moved from Boca Raton to Israel two weeks ago. 

The Pilichowskis felt compelled to continue with their plans to move to Israel — despite the current crisis — to show support for the country they consider home. 

Uri told WPBF-25: "There's danger everywhere, but I'm confident God will protect us, and I'm confident that Israel is the safest place for my family to be." 
Added Aliza: "Israel is home, and you're always safest at home." 

By Anshel Pfeffer 

Mourning on the Ninth of Av in this day and age flies in the face of both secular Zionism and religious Zionism. It contradicts the right of Jews around the world to decide where they prefer to live. The exile is over, and the temple has not been rebuilt because we don't want to do it. 

The only ideologies that can justify continuing this observance are those that see democratic Israel as a heretic entity defying the majesty of God on earth. But if you are not a member of the Eda Haredit or a settler from Yitzhar, how can you mourn on Tisha B'Av in good conscience? 

Because Tisha Be’av marks historical events involving the Jewish people’s previous periods of sovereignty, it has unique resonance and pertinence for Israel today.

Our sages teach that the Second Temple was destroyed due to “baseless hatred” among Jews. At the time, the Jewish people were acrimoniously divided rather than harmoniously united. 

The lesson is clear: “A house divided against itself cannot stand

The PANIM For Jewish Renaissance organization is scheduled hold a conference dedicated to the concept of social unity in Israel on Tisha Be’av, which falls this year on Monday night and Tuesday. 

The organizers said that the principle has taken on increased significance at present due to the hostilities between the State of Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza, and the purpose of the event will be to promote the importance of tolerance within Israel, and the unity between the different sectors of the population. 


IFCJ, which provides assistance to needy Jews both in Israel and abroad, raised more than $3 million in the first two weeks after IDF Operation Protective Edge began; between its donors in Canada and the US, the IFCJ's annual income stands at $135 million. 

… But, the rabbi says, the IFCJ’s charity has not always been welcome due to the religious sensibilities of some in Israel. 

“It’s very hard to get across that this is funds from Christians,” he explains. 

The IFCJ has run into criticism from certain demographics in Israel; Eckstein admits that “religious segments in Israel attack us” to some extent because they are “consistently wary of legitimizing Christianity.” 


I’d like to be able to say that June 16 was an important day for women’s rights in Israel. After all, just a year ago Israel’s Attorney General published a report for advancing women’s rights that included a clause reminding municipalities of their obligation to remove any illegal and discriminatory signs, and here we were insuring that the good laws of the land were being enforced. 

Unfortunately it was more of an embarrassment. The statements by the city’s representatives brought no honor to our city, nor to the State of Israel, nor to the Jewish people


Accountants said claims surged when it was realised U.S. nationals living abroad were eligible for the credit, beginning in the ultra-Orthodox community and spreading from there. 

Ultra-Orthodox families are typically large, but men usually have no formal employment, devoting their lives to religious study on small Israeli state stipends. Fathers are therefore ineligible for the allowance, which is worth $1,000 per child to middle income wage earners every year. In many cases, mothers are either not U.S. citizens or earn too little to make a claim. 



The initiative seems to be riding the wave of renewed religious interest caused by Operation Protective Edge, which Rabbi Chaim Druckman, who heads the network of the men’s and women’s yeshivas that belong to the Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement, described as “God’s war.”

“There’s no doubt that there is a connection to Protective Edge,” says Richman.

“The operation’s objective was not just restoring calm and defending the people, but also to be a light unto the nations, to bring the divine presence. Israel’s national vision is not just to function properly, but also to bring light into the world. Some believe that the Temple will be built when there is unconditional love. We’ve made it there, to the vision of Israel’s prophets. Like John Lennon, of blessed memory, said: ‘Give peace a chance.’”

Editor – Joel Katz     
Religion and State in Israelis not affiliated with any organization or movement.     
All rights reserved.