We, in Israel, witnessed a real “general electoral trial circus”. Was it “to be or not to be, that is the question?” The reason for holding the elections was the Conscription Bill that the ultra-Orthodox Parties in the Knesset opposed. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who supports compulsory conscription of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) youngsters to the IDF and as a result the government nearly fell with the threat of early elections.
A compromise was reached and the threat of early elections passed with plenty ado and the ruffling of some coalition feathers and perhaps a sigh of relief from the opposition with the exception of Meretz.
It was unclear as to whether beleaguered PM Netanyahu supported the idea of early general elections or not bearing in mind the various suspect criminal files against him. In any case, the past few days was a charade if not a political circus.
The message that this political charade and Knesset filibuster brought to the public is the tremendous powers that the parasitic ultra-Orthodox parties have over the coalition. These parties have great potential of blackmailing any coalition of which they always manage to be part. The contribution to the wellbeing of Israel is not the priority of the ultra-Orthodox parties. Their agenda is very sectarian especially when it comes to financially feathering the nests of their parasitic yeshivot, which has zero contribution to the State of Israel. Their youngsters are discouraged from serving in the IDF and the extremist Lithuanian cult in their midst hold massive demonstrations against those who serve in the IDF. The few ultra-Orthodox youngsters that do serve in the IDF are ostracised and in many cases are dealt with violently by the extremist ultra-Orthodox sects in their various communities.
It is a disgrace that the ultra-Orthodox parasitic bunch of scoundrels and blackmailers in Yahadut Hatorah and Shas Parties have tremendous powers far beyond what they deserve. They can cripple any ruling government on a whim. They do everything in their power to prevent their yeshiva students from serving in the IDF and doing their national duty.
“In 1953, as a part of the “Status quo agreement” which was meant to create a stable coexistence between religious and secular elements in Israeli society, the Personal Status Law was passed. Under this law, all issues of personal status were passed over to the exclusive control of the Orthodox religious establishment. This has created enormous tensions within Israel since all sorts of different groups feel marginalised and unrepresented in issues of personal status. Many groups, such as Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, have suffered what they perceive as almost wholesale discrimination and humiliation at the hands of representatives of the Orthodox establishment.” from The Role of Religion In Israeli Society
There is no doubt that the establishment ruling Orthodox Rabbinate has caused much pain to those, whose Jewishness is in doubt according to their interpretation of Halacha. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel also blacklists Diaspora rabbis 1. What right do they assume in doing this?
Establishment Orthodox Judaism in Israel has become more extreme and less tolerant over the years. There is a dearth of so-called Zionist right-wing rabbinical bigots, who make disparaging remarks about women serving in the army. What right have they got to interfere with the decisions of the IDF as far as women conscripts are concerned? These bigots have taken it upon themselves to be the watchdogs of morals pertaining to their hell and brimstone-style of Judaism.
These establishment rabbis, whether Haredi or right-wing Zionist Orthodox are driving a wedge within Israel’s society. I have asked myself if these rabbis have anything to contribute to Israel apart from their narrow world view and their desire to manipulate the naivety and ignorance of many observant Jews. This is where their power lies! They are political, divisive, despicable and hungry for power, influence and financial enrichment. The Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu 2 is an example of a rabbi with a narrow, racial worldview. Unfortunately, there are quite a few of them with his philosophy. He also ruled that rape in war is justified.3
The time is overdue for separation of Orthodox Synagogue and State. Prolonging the unhealthy situation of establishment Orthodox Judaism that encroaches on personal freedom of the Jewish People in Israel to be secular, Reform or Conservative with the freedom to have civil marriages as well as recognition of non-Orthodox rabbis to perform marriages according to the desires of their adherents.
|Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau (L) and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef|
Israel can never claim to be a true democracy while the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate establishment hegemony has so much power in Israel. They are also those who decide who are Jews and who are not. The Chief Rabbinate must have its immense powers of blackmail, bribery, corruption and hypocrisy curtailed.4 The Chief Rabbinate of Israel holds the monopoly on Judaism! Now with the Pesach festival on our doorstep, the “Kosher for Pesach Circus” is upon us. In general, the Kashrut services are riddled with corruption according to the State Comptroller Report of 2017. No doubt, the same will be true of 2018. It is all monopoly with Chief Rabbinate approval with financial kickbacks to most that are involved in its enforcement. However, it appears that the self-styled “Watchdogs of Judaism” - the Chief Rabbinate of Israel - overlook all the religious, clerical corruption in their midst in their so-called duty to prevent assimilation and ensure the preservation of Jewish identity 5 and more importantly their power. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has no place in a modern society. This institution must go!
Rabbi Uri Regev on the Chief Rabbinate
- "Israeli Chief Rabbinate blacklists 160 Diaspora rabbis - Israel News ...." 9 Jul. 2017, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Chief-Rabbinate-forced-to-publish-rabbinical-blacklist-of-160-rabbis-in-Diaspora-499171. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
- "Shmuel Eliyahu | The Times of Israel." https://www.timesofisrael.com/topic/shmuel-eliyahu/. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
- "The Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, rules that rape in war is ...." 30 Aug. 2017, https://medium.com/@TonyGreenstein/the-chief-rabbi-of-safed-shmuel-eliyahu-rules-that-rape-in-war-is-justified-607f6b2c0ac3. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
- "Ex-Israeli chief rabbi Yona Metzger indicted for corruption | The Times ...." https://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-israeli-chief-rabbi-yona-metzger-indicted-for-corruption/. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
- "Jewish identity - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_identity. Accessed 17 Mar. 2018.