Anger Over Ultra-Orthodox Freeloading and Power of Minority “Kingmakers” Could Destroy Israel

It’s Thursday night at the Mahane Yehuda market in west Jerusalem, where the music is thumping and the drinks are flowing. When a bottle breaks, the crowds erupt with a chorus of “mazel tov”, or congratulations.

But as some ultra-Orthodox Jewish men in traditional black suits, side locks, and thick skullcaps pass by, Ad Shamsi’s face sours. “What do they have to do here?” asks the 56-year-old Jewish Israeli, who is kicking off the weekend at an outside bar.

This is a glimpse of the intra-religious tension that in part led Israel’s parliament last week to dissolve itself and hold a fresh election – just seven weeks after the last one – following a deadlock between two rightwing factions at odds over a proposal to draft the ultra-Orthodox into Israel’s military.

Since Israel’s founding, the ultra-Orthodox – also called the Haredim – have been exempted from military service, which is mandatory for all Jewish Israeli school leavers. The various ultra-Orthodox sects see it as a religious commandment to only study Jewish texts and separate themselves from modern society. They consequently receive government subsidies to study rather than work, along with general social services and benefits relating to unemployment, poverty and their large numbers of children.

Today the ultra-Orthodox, an umbrella term for different sects and communities, are 10% of Israel’s population of more than 8.5 million – and are growing fast.

They have strategically cultivated a role as kingmakers in Israeli politics, making or breaking coalitions based on which politicians best support their interests.

The military symbolises the antithesis of traditional ultra-Orthodox principles. It represents time away from studying, a mixing of genders against religious prohibitions and a vast melting pot in which young people are taught to be a certain kind of Israeli. For average Jewish Israelis, to be a good citizen is to serve in the military. (Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20% of the population, are exempt from service because of the ongoing conflict.)

Shamsi is an avid supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, and his rightwing, national religious policies. He wears a kippa, or Jewish head covering, thinks shops should close on the Sabbath in keeping with strict Jewish law, and supports Israel’s presence in the occupied Palestinian Territories. He lives in Ramot, an increasingly ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood on the outskirts of Jerusalem considered an illegal settlement under international law.

He has no patience with the ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not serve in the military yet receive subsidies from the government, all while not actually studying — in his mind epitomised by the young Haredi men coming to check out the secular bar scene on a Thursday night. “Why do I need to do three years [in the military] and him not?” Shamsi asks. “Why do I need to pay for everything and not them?”

A few minutes’ walk from the bars of Mahane Yehuda is Mea She’arim, historically the most intense ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem. Here, men dress in various styles of black hats and suits, depending on their sect, and walk fast, so as not to appear to be wasting time away from studying. Plastered on walls along narrow streets are posters listing deaths and other notices – a key source of information for communities that shun the internet.

A sign near a bustling supermarket informs passers-by: “It is forbidden to participate in elections.”

Some ultra-Orthodox sects do not recognise the state of Israel, saying the Bible prescribes that it can only come into existence with the coming of the Messiah. For others, there is a more pointed boycott of elections now in protest over what they see as the Haredi parties’ failure to be hardline enough on the issue of conscription.

 

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The Ultra-Orthodox Free-Loaders in Israel Posing Existential Threat to Israel and to Jews

Israel Headed Toward Political Meltdown as Shasniks Refuse to Submit to Mandatory IDF Service Like all Israelis

The New York Times

With 2 Days Left, Israel’s Netanyahu Struggles to Form a Government

 

JERUSALEM — With just two days left before the deadline for forming a government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was struggling Monday to sign up coalition partners, thrusting the country into a political crisis and raising the possibility that it could be forced to hold a new election.

The drama stemmed from a battle of wills between two political forces that Mr. Netanyahu needs to form a right-wing coalition: the ultra-Orthodox religious parties that won 16 parliamentary seats in the April 9 election, and Avigdor Lieberman’s ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, which won five seats and whose constituents are mostly secular, Russian-speaking Israelis.

Having long sparred over issues of religion and state, the sides are now wrestling over legislation to replace a military draft law that exempted ultra-Orthodox men. Mr. Lieberman supports a law that sets modest quotas for enlisting them, which the religious parties oppose.

A new law must be passed by late July, according to a deadline imposed by Israel’s Supreme Court.

Mr. Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party, which won 35 seats, needs the ultra-Orthodox parties, Yisrael Beiteinu and two other parties to assemble a 61-seat majority.

Analysts said it was entirely possible that the parties could resolve their differences, allowing Mr. Netanyahu to announce a new government by midnight Wednesday, which would not be the first time Israeli coalition negotiations have gone to the wire.

But the alternative threatened to catapult Israel into uncharted political terrain: Israel has never had to hold a new national ballot because of a failure to form a government after an election.

“Right now it looks as if we are at a deadlock because everybody has climbed to the top of a tree and nobody’s ready to get down, especially not Lieberman,” said Abraham Diskin, professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Putting the chances of a new election at 50-50, he added, “Definitely there is a possibility that we will have early elections even before the government was formed.”

On Sunday, Likud submitted a motion to disperse the newly sworn-in Parliament, paving the way for new elections. While questions arose over the legality of an interim government taking such action, the move seemed like a canny negotiating tactic in a game of political chicken.

By Monday, one newspaper, Maariv, had already published a poll asking, “If elections were held today, who would you vote for?”

On Monday evening, the motion passed a preliminary vote in Parliament; possible dates were being bandied about for a new election in about three months.

Even as his party moved toward a new election, Mr. Netanyahu insisted he didn’t want one.

“It is still possible to come to our senses,” he said in a televised address Monday evening. “I promise that I will continue to work in every possible way during the time that is still left in order to form the government. I call upon Avigdor Lieberman to reconsider.”

Mr. Netanyahu also quoted a tweet posted on Monday by President Trump endorsing Mr. Netanyahu’s efforts, which many critics described as an improper intervention in Israel’s domestic politics. Mr. Trump, calling Mr. Netanyahu by his nickname, Bibi, wrote: “Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever.”

Calling a new election would pre-empt another possibility, distasteful to Mr. Netanyahu, that Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, could offer someone else the chance to form a government.

Image
Avigdor Lieberman, the former defense minister, said he was not prepared to be part of a government controlled by religious law.CreditDan Balilty for The New York Times

The opposition is led by Blue and White, a new centrist party whose main appeal was that it was not led by Mr. Netanyahu, who has already served 13 years as prime minister and is facing indictment on corruption charges.

Mr. Netanyahu, who is on track to become Israel’s longest serving prime minister this summer, is also the first to face possible criminal charges while in office. In February, the attorney general announced plans to indict him in three cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

The attorney general has set a hearing for October where Mr. Netanyahu’s lawyers can plead his case before a final decision is made.

The Likud nevertheless won five more seats than last time, which Mr. Netanyahu took as a vote of confidence, and together with the right-wing and religious parties that made up his last coalition, seemed poised to form a government with a majority of 65 seats.

He also appeared set to take on another challenge — promoting legislation that would guarantee him immunity from prosecution while in office. Tens of thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday night in a protest against such a move.

Instead, Mr. Netanyahu has found himself at the mercy of smaller parties engaged in a power struggle over the military draft law, which critics said was in any case a mild compromise unlikely to significantly change the status quo.

There is a long history of bad blood between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Lieberman, a blunt, tough-talking politician who resigned as defense minister in Mr. Netanyahu’s last government and was eyeing returning to the post.

Some commentators suggested that Mr. Lieberman was driven by a desire for revenge against his old nemesis, or was counting on the prospect that Mr. Netanyahu could not survive an indictment and was setting himself up as an alternative.

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Jews Creating Our Own Brand of Anti-Semitism and a NYT Opinion Piece

Orthodox Jews with the group Jews United Against Zionism gather outside the office of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MM) in a show of support for Omar’s right to free speech.

Is Anti-Semitism Exceptional?

Like most places, America has always had potent strains of anti-Semitism — crude and polished, K.K.K. and country club. But unlike many places, we have always had important strains of philo-Semitism as well; there is a long American tradition, with both Protestant and Enlightenment roots, of really liking Judaism and the Jews.

And so the story of the Jews in post-World War II America is the story, not just of anti-Semitism’s marginalization, but of philo-Semitism’s triumph. Jewish Americans weren’t just integrated, like other ethnic and religious groups. They also attracted a particular sympathy and admiration, rooted in Holocaust remembrance, affection for Israel, and a distinctive pride in the scope of their success.

[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]

For American philo-Semites, the Jewish experience wasn’t just one minority experience among many, but a signal and elevated case. The outsize success of Jewish intellectuals and scientists and artists and businessmen and activists was an especially good thing, a unique proof of American exceptionalism — because ours was the one country where a people so long persecuted could not only survive but triumph. And attacks on Jewish success and influence, like attacks on the state of Israel, were treated as particularly dangerous, particularly un-American, because they threatened to undo this great achievement, and return the Jews to their historic state of constant threat and peril

This history supplies one way to understand the stakes in the controversy over Ilhan Omar, the Muslim congresswoman who keeps using anti-Semitic clichés in her criticisms of the American-Israeli relationship. The part of the American left that’s defending her, or at least mitigating her offense and accusing her conservative critics of bad faith, doesn’t see itself as defending Jew-hatred, and since many of those defenders are Jewish — including the arguable front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders — it’s reasonable to take them at their word.

But the defend-Omar project is a project that seeks to push us away from the age of philo-Semitism, the age in which both American Jews and the American-Israel relationship were considered special cases among the range of minority groups and foreign policy partnerships.

To continue reading the New York Times Opinion, click here.

TIME TO GET NETANYAHU OUT! Selling His Soul to the Ultra-Orthodox

Ultra-Orthodox parties to ‘unequivocally’ back Netanyahu as next PM

United Torah Judaism’s Yaakov Litzman and Shas’s Aryeh Deri meet in Jerusalem, vow not to join Gantz-led coalition ‘under any circumstances’

Shas leader MK Aryeh Deri (right) speaks with United Torah Judaism leader MK Yaakov Litzman (left) during the opening session of the 20th Knesset, March 31, 2015. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The leaders of the two major ultra-Orthodox political factions, Shas and United Torah Judaism, announced Thursday they were joining forces to ensure that Benjamin Netanyahu wins the April 9 election and forms the next coalition government.

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri and UTJ head Yaakov Litzman met in Deri’s office in Jerusalem on Thursday to begin coordinating their parties’ campaigns.

They vowed to back Netanyahu over rival Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz.

“We continue with all our might to unequivocally support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and not Gantz,” the two party leaders said in a joint statement after the meeting.

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Where were Ultra-Orthodox When the Nazi’s Attacked? The War on Education and IDF Service Dichotomy

Image result for satmar pictures

With Utmost Respect For This Soldier – we hope you are okay with us using your photograph.

The Historical Realities and Antisemitism –

For a Tolerant Civil Society

OPINION – LostMessiah and Contributors (Edited)

The war on education by some members of the ultra-Orthodox community is now a hot topic in the US, Israel and abroad. Each time those members are questioned, they claim Antisemitism. Coupled with the virtual Jihad declared by the Rabbi Teitlebaum in a 60 – minute long viral rant, which railed against both the education of Yeshiva youth in the US and IDF service in Israel, there is an historical dichotomy.  

Historically,  Ultra-Orthodoxy was not a thing in Eastern Europe during World War II. Many Jews were observant in cities like Visnitz, Belz, Satu-Mer (Satmar), Belarus, and throughout much of Eastern Europe. They were also self-sufficient and adept at business, medicine and highly educated. It was in large part the reason why Jews were viewed as such a threat in pre-war Europe. Radical, uneducated and uninformed indoctrinated Jews were non-existent, with little exception. That appears to be a post-war phenomenon.

Whether today’s radicalism is a reaction to World War II is a question for historians, psychologists, sociologists and political scientists. But the historical dichotomy between characterizing criticism as Antisemitism and the realities of Hitler’s Nazi regime is not lost here.   

The Ultra-Orthodox claim Antisemitism as a mantra each and every time there is a critique of their behavior, of the lack of education of their youth and their business practices. Yet as they crowd the streets of Bnei Brak, for example,  and throw stones at the IDF and police in defense of their position, they cannot definitively state a plan on how they would defend themselves and Israel were there to be a war. In fact, they do not believe in the existence of the State at all so it is likely they would surrender the country. In that regard, there is little difference between them and the anti-Israel terrorists some of whom threaten Israel’s borders.

The ultra-Orthodox cannot actually respond to questions regarding the medical care and birth of their children, the future of generations of youth not learning the language of the countries in which they live or the health of our environment, when questioned about their education. Unlike the great sages who preached and inspired self-sufficiency, the ultra-Orthodox seem to believe that as the “chosen” all others are here to provide for them, Jew and non-Jew alike. Their plan is apparently to continue to rely on the non-Ultra-Orthodox, the secular and the non-Jews to subsidize in all respects their way of life. 

Were the ultra-Orthodox, supporting positions of anti-education and anti-Israel to be permitted to continue to run roughshod over civil laws and requirements throughout the world, they would not be educated nor would they learn much beyond Hebrew for biblical purposes and Yiddish for communications purposes. They would not be self-sufficient. To the contrary, they would be wholly and entirely reliant on anyone not them, the others.

How can a civil society function if each group within that society is not required, without flexibility, to follow the laws of that society? It cannot. And thinking it can invites Antisemitism, paves a path towards hatred, welcomes discord and indoctrinates dogmatic intolerance.  

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/valley/regensburg/nazi_regime.asp

Ultra-Orthodox in New York Threaten War After State Demands More Secular Education in Yeshivas

Though the issue of secular studies in ultra-Orthodox has long been a hot button issue in Israel, it has only recently become an issue in America, with NYC serving as its key battleground. Even those calling for change say the new guidelines may be a step too far

A teacher at an ultra-Orthodox school in Israel, where secular studies has long been a contentious issue. That has now spread to New York.\ Gil Cohen-Magen

·         Yeshivas get curriculum reviews as Orthodox power wanes in New York

·         New Jersey township to scrap ban on symbolic Jewish boundary’s construction

·         Haredi poverty: The same threat in both New York and Israel

BROOKLYN – New educational requirements issued by New York State’s Education Department for nonpublic and religious schools have the local ultra-Orthodox community up in arms.

School leaders and prominent rabbis are promising resistance and war if the new rules – dictating secular oversight of Haredi schools, known as yeshivas – are not changed.

The new regulations, issued by the state’s education department last month, require that students in religious schools be taught subjects such as math, science, English, social studies, art and music for a total of about 34 hours a week.

That would mean roughly eight hours of secular instruction four days a week. This is widely regarded as impossible, particularly for ultra-Orthodox boys’ yeshivas, which at the high school level currently offer zero or at most 1.5 hours of secular studies a day.

The new rules will also have public school inspectors visiting yeshivas, beginning next February, to assess compliance.

If schools refuse to meet the new requirements, they will lose the public funding they currently receive for record-keeping, school meals, computer systems, and the like. If a school is deemed not to be meeting the new rules, parents will have 30 to 45 days to put their children in another school. If they don’t, they could – at least in theory – be arrested for truancy, according to the state.

Though the issue of enforcing secular studies on Haredim has long been a hot-button issue in Israel (critics argue that a lack of proper education leaves the ultra-Orthodox dangerously unequipped for the modern world), it has only become an issue in the United States in the last two years, with New York City serving as the key battleground.

Sounding the alarm

Over the summer, a nonprofit group, Young Advocates for Fair Education, filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the education department’s top two officials, saying a recently amended law that relaxed academic standards at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools would ensure that their students would continue to receive “a sub-standard secular education.”

Founder and executive director Naftuli Moster, center, at a Yaffed event in Brooklyn, December 2018.Debra Nussbaum Cohen

The first hearings in the suit will take place in January, Naftuli Moster, Yaffed’s founder and executive director, tells Haaretz.

The suit certainly seemed to sound an alarm bell with the education department. Initially, it was investigating just 30 ultra-Orthodox yeshivas, compared with now pledging to examine all of them.

Defenders of the yeshiva system say parents have the right to send their children to schools that provide a Jewish education consistent with their beliefs and traditions. There are nearly 275 Orthodox Jewish yeshivas in New York State, but some are Modern Orthodox schools that provide a full secular curriculum alongside religious studies.

Although the schools are private, they are not entirely free of government oversight, as a state law requires that instruction in nonpublic schools be substantially equivalent to the instruction given at public schools.

The current guidelines expand that oversight and Haredi leaders are furious, with at least one describing it as “war.”

In a speech late last month at a warehouse packed with Hasidim in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Satmar Rebbe Aharon Teitelbaum vowed that “the Jewish people will not surrender to the wicked, whoever they may be, even the state education commissioner. … We will not comply and we will not follow the state education commissioner under any circumstances.

skip – Satmar rebbe video

 

“A great battle awaits us, a difficult war, a long war, until we are able to correct it all,” he continued. “We must speak to the leaders of the Democratic Party, who are now at the head of the leadership in New York State. … It wouldn’t pay for them to start a war with all God-fearing Jewry in New York.”

The state’s education department did not respond to requests for comment about Teitelbaum’s statements and other strong responses from the ultra-Orthodox community.

A petition started by the head of a yeshiva on Change.org, titled “Yeshiva Parents Tell the State: Don’t Try to Bully Us or Our Schools!” has already garnered nearly 20,000 signatures.

The Flatbush Jewish Journal, which serves the Haredi communities in New Jersey, New York and Rockland County, has a box on its cover this week declaring: “Crisis Update: State Ignoring the Yeshivas’ Request for Clarification, and Yeshiva Tuition Will Go Up!”

Other Haredi authorities are taking a more diplomatic approach, calling out the guidelines for being unrealistic.

In a November 27 letter to MaryEllen Elia, New York State’s education commissioner, rabbinic advisory board members of the Haredi education organization Torah u’Mesorah wrote that the materials provided by the Education Department “seem to impose a rigid set of requirements that no yeshiva in New York can satisfy.” Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, the head of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, co-signed the letter with Rabbi Eliyahu Brudny of Mirrer Yeshiva.

In a video published by Agudah News, Reisman called the new rules a threat. “It’s immediate, and we must wake up to it before we wake up one morning and the yeshivas are being closed down. … Many thought they would start only with the weaker schools, the schools that don’t teach any English at all. Well, the news is that the goyim see us all in the same light. We’re all ultra-Orthodox fanatics, we all deprive our children of a proper education – never mind the fact that most of our yeshivas score far higher on the public tests than the 60 percent proficiency rates of the … public schools. This all doesn’t matter,” he said.

‘Government overreach’

Agudath Israel of America also requested more information about the new requirements from the education department, but has yet to receive a response, its chief of staff and associate director of education, Avrohom Weinstock, tells Haaretz. The new regulations “are government overreach,” he says. “This is new ground and abridging our ability to function as Jews.”

The updated requirements even proved too much for the person who has pushed for increased secular education in yeshivas since 2012. Moster, who was raised a Belz Hasid in Brooklyn, says he set up Yaffed after realizing he had finished yeshiva high school without a basic education in things like math and English.

Moster says six or seven hours of secular studies in yeshivas “is unrealistic,” adding: “But state should have at least three or four hours a day.”

The Agudah, which represents Haredi interests to government officials, as well as providing guidance directly to schools, concurs.“While we don’t have an issue at all with health and safety requirements,” says Weinstock, “here the state went one step further – more like three steps further. They’re saying not only do you have to comply with statutory requirements, but we will also proactively go into your schools. With 34 or 35 hours a week, it appears to be even more onerous requirements than public schools have. We’re scratching our heads. How could any Jewish school function?” he asks.

Weinstock says many people are not thrilled when the education department says it wants to become so heavily involved in the running of yeshivas. “Should the state be telling nonpublic schools this many hours or that many hours? It’s a slippery slope, and we’re going down it,” he warns.

Most Orthodox yeshivas are located in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, with some in Manhattan and Staten Island. Others are in Rockland County, which is home to Haredi strongholds Monsey, Kiryas Joel and New Square.

New York State law has long required religious schools to offer instruction that is “substantially equivalent” to the secular education offered in public schools. But the education department has permitted Haredi yeshivas to self-certify that they are doing so. The yeshivas have long claimed that talmudic study offers that “substantial equivalency” and actually provides a superior education to the one public school students receive.

Yaffed published a 90-page report last year, “Non-Equivalent: The State of Education in New York City’s Hasidic Yeshivas,” detailing the secular studies offered at a range of Haredi high schools. At Bais Yaakov in Borough Park, for instance, girls are taught English, math, science, social studies, physical education and art. However, at the Belz, Satmar, Pupa and Lubavitch boys’ yeshiva high schools, they get none, the report says.

Non-Hasidic Haredi institutions, like Brooklyn’s Torah Vodaath and Mirrer Yeshiva, tend to provide more secular studies to students than their Hasidic equivalents, many of which teach only in Yiddish. Haredi girls of both streams are generally offered far more secular classes since, unlike men, they are expected to find work and generate income for their future households.

In fact, students at Haredi girls’ high schools receive enough of a secular education to score well on the New York State Regents Exams – a series of tests that are given at all public high schools. On Wednesday, the Jewish Press touted them as evidence of the effectiveness of Haredi education, though the Orthodox newspaper did not mention the fact that nearly all the high-scoring Haredi schools teach girls.

Goy with a yarmulke

Another aspect of the new guidelines will ensure that teachers of secular studies in yeshivas are qualified educators – something many of the present teachers in boys’ yeshivas (Haredi ones in particular) are not.

Just ask Yitz Finkelstein. While he was a college student, he was also teaching secular subjects at the Satmar boys’ yeshiva United Talmudical Academy, Williamsburg. The lessons were at the end of the school day, which is when secular topics are always scheduled.

“I taught first grade from 3:30 to 4:40 P.M. and fourth grade started at 5 P.M. I was not in any way qualified to do this,” Finkelstein said, speaking as a panelist at a Yaffed event in Brooklyn on Monday. “There was no real support or talk of lesson plans, and children were openly disdainful,” he added.

“They called me goy and shegetz right to my face,” he said, even though he is Jewish and wore a yarmulke while teaching there. Secular education at the school was so bad, Finkelstein added, that “I had fourth-graders who couldn’t spell their own names in English.”

It’s not just the ultra-Orthodox  community that is angry, though. Catholic schools said this week they will not let state inspectors through their doors and are willing to lose the government funding they receive.

Moster praises the direction New York’s education department is taking, even if he feels it has for now set unrealistic expectations.

“For so many decades yeshivas basically operated outside the law, and don’t understand why someone is now demanding a basic standard,” he says. “But we’re just asking for basics. We’re not asking they prep kids for Harvard, but that they give kids a basic education.”

But Weinstock warns that the Haredi community is ready to fight the education department over these guidelines, no matter how long it takes.

“We don’t use the word war, but at the same time we have to make sure our religious freedoms and way of life are preserved,” he says. “We won’t walk away from that. It would be un-American to think otherwise.

Following Complaints of Sexism, Women Can Speak on Haredi Radio Station

In an article posted on FailedMessiah.com in 2011:

 

Following Complaints Of Sexism, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Rules Women Can Speak On Haredi Radio Station

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 3 A female Knesset member was harshly criticized by one of the radio station’s broadcasters but was banned from responding on the air because she is a woman. She believes this is a case of ongoing discrimination against women, as well as a violation of journalistic ethics.
Shas rabbi: Woman’s voice allowed on radio
Following complaints filed against haredi radio station, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef rules ‘there’s no problem’ in having women present programs or letting female listeners call in. Station’s management: We won’t change our policy
Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, has ruled that a woman’s voice can be heard on the radio.

The rabbi was asked to address the issue following complaints filed against haredi Sephardic radio station Kol Barama for refusing to have women present programs or call in as listeners.

According to a report on the Young Shas website, affiliated with party Chairman Eli Yishai, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef saw no halachic basis for banning women from the radio and said, “Let women talk. What’s the problem?”

The complaints against Kol Barama Radio were filed in recent months to the Second Authority for Television and Radio, as well as to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. The Authority has begun discussing the issue and is even considering imposing sanctions on the haredi station.

Most complaints were filed by the Israel’s Media Watch, which wrote to the attorney general that “such a reality, in which women are excluded, is intolerable in the modern era. This is not a private broadcasting body, but a radio station with a franchise from the State, and as such it cannot violate basic rights, values and norms.”

The organization clarified that it did not expect Kol Barama Radio to broadcast women singing, which does not match the Halacha and the “station’s nature”.

Ynet has learned that one of the reasons for the quick handling of the complaints was the intervention of a female Knesset member, who was harshly criticized by one of the radio station’s broadcasters but was banned from responding on the air.

According to the MK, this is another case of ongoing discrimination against women, as well as a violation of journalistic ethics.

POSTED AT 01:40 AM IN HAREDIM, ISRAEL, SEFARDIM, WOMEN & JUDAISM | PERMALINK

COMMENTS

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Dave
Seymour, I think that sometimes Rav Ovadiah would not be that machmir, but he’s under pressure from other rabbonim so he sometimes rules more machmir than a traditional Sefardic posek of the old days. So this ruling is actually more in line with the old Sefardic tradition.

POSTED BY: DAVE | MAY 18, 2011 AT 09:21 PM

seymour
as someone said on vin

this is the start of a new era a godel going against the chumra of the day.

Or maybe he has lost it and gone the the dark side (mo)

POSTED BY: SEYMOUR | MAY 18, 2011 AT 08:56 PM

jj
shmarya. this is a big problem because what this means is that the chief editor of ami mag will no longer come on radio to talk because she wants to be more machmir. besides the fact that according to her husband a woman is provocative in pictures so of course a. womens voice is provocative too.

POSTED BY: JJ | MAY 18, 2011 AT 03:02 PM

Yosef ben Matitya
he didn’t reveal anything new. this is permitted. the lithuanian an chassidic haredim are regressing to the stone age.

POSTED BY: YOSEF BEN MATITYA | MAY 18, 2011 AT 02:41 PM

seymour
I do not understand the shas leader says no problem but the radio management say no.

or did I read it wrong

POSTED BY: SEYMOUR | MAY 18, 2011 AT 09:13 AM

Adam Neira
Good !

POSTED BY: ADAM NEIRA | MAY 18, 2011 AT 02:45 AM