2009: Worst Year of the Decade

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Philip Bliss

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Apr 4, 2010, 6:44:03 PM4/4/10
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Dear Subscriber
The transfer of email addresses to a total BlissNotes site is a bigger challenge than thought, so for the moment you may still see some email reference to ProjeNews but as far as possible this is the new BlissNotes site!! Use your imagination!! Best wishes Philip






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This need not be our destiny!

Hiddush CEO Rabbi Uri Regev & Chairman Stanley P. Gold
We present you with a report about the key aspects of the fight for religious freedom and equality in 2009 in Israel. The main message of the report is the extensive gap between government policy and public opinion. The public wants greater freedom of choice, freedom of religion and equality.

In the few months since Hiddush was founded, we have felt the rising frustration of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora in light of the cynicism portrayed by the coalition parties, which do not hesitate to trade the rights of the public at large for the support of the Haredi parties. 

But that is not our destiny. 
This is the struggle of the majority in Israel – religious and secular, right-wingers, left-wingers and centrists – who believe that religious freedom and equality will strengthen Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. This is a struggle waged by Jews around the world who expect the same freedom of religion in Israel that they enjoy in every other democracy. 

Hiddush was established to help you make your voices heard, to contribute to the crucial revolution that will lead to the fulfillment of the promise made in Israel’s Declaration of Independence: religious freedom and equality.
B’With best wishes for the days of Pesach, the Festival of Liberty,

Stanley P. Gold, Chairman
Rabbi Uri Regev, President & CEO
April 4, 2010

Action Center

Tell Netanyahu

...the time has come for religious freedom and equality

Join Israelis in telling Netanyahu that you too care about Israel’s Jewish and democratic character and that you urge him to uphold the promise of Israel’s Declaration of Independence for freedom of religion and conscience. That Israelis too, citizens and new immigrants, should enjoy the right to marry, that Jews by Choice should enjoy equal recognition and rights under the law, that women should not be pushed to the back of the bus. 

Write PM Netanyahu now! 

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2009 Religious Freedom Report

Worst Year of the Decade

Shalom Philip,

Haredi violence in JerusalemAs you celebrate Pesach, the Festival of Liberty, we hope your thoughts focus, in part, on the urgent need for religious freedom in Israel, and how you can be part of the joint effort to advance it. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family, and urge them to use this opportunity to communicate with Prime Minister Netanyahu and convey to him that the time has come to transform Israel from religious bondage to freedom. 

Tell Netanyahu you support religious freedom for Israel now! 

The year 2009 saw a serious escalation in religion-state conflict, violence in the name of religion, violations of religious freedom, attempts at religious coercion and religious legislation. After nearly a decade of relative quiet that featured barely any violent religious battles, and the budgets for yeshivas and associated benefits decreased, the chasm between Haredim and non-Haredim became glaringly evident. 

Download Full Report 

2009 events: a prelude of worse to come?

There is no doubt that 2009 was the worst year of the decade for religious freedom and equality, and the worst year for violence that uses religion as justification. There is serious concern that the events of 2009 are a prelude to far worse years yet to come. 2009 highlights: 

  • Several particularly violent religious rallies were held in Jerusalem, involving protesters throwing stones and dirty diapers, wounding police officers and calling them Nazis, and vandalizing traffic lights.
  • There has been an escalation in efforts to institute greater gender segregation. The rabbi of the Western Wall continued to pursue a policy of expanding segregation throughout the entire Western Wall plaza. Rabbis have ordered that men and women use separate sidewalks in Jerusalem’s Haredi Geula neighborhood. The transportation minister ignored a report stating that segregated bus lines are illegal.Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
  • The rabbinical courts told the High Court of Justice that they consider themselves authorized, according to religious law, to nullify conversions due to lack of religious observance.
  • The yeshiva budget has grown from NIS 770 million a year to about NIS 1 billion
  • a year, an all-time record. Child benefits, which are geared primarily to assist the Haredim, were increased by NIS 1.5 billion.
  • Shas has renewed its efforts to pass religiously motivated legislation. It has begun to promote laws to prevent chametz (leavened bread) from being sold on Passover and prevent stores from opening on Shabbat.
  • The Israel Defense Forces has informed the Knesset that it expects by 2019 a quarter of 18-year-olds will refuse to serve in the army because of yeshiva study.
  • The U.S. State Department’s 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom describes several incidents involving discrimination in Israel against secular Jews, non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism and members of other religions.

Hiddush report: 90% oppose gender-segregation

Sex-segregated bus in JerusalemNinety percent of adult Jews in Israel oppose gender-segregated bus lines or want to see fewer of them, according to a Smith Research Institute survey conducted for Hiddush. The rate is significantly higher than it was in the previous Hiddush survey, conducted in the summer.

Seventy-four percent of the public opposes the policy of the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, to separate men and women throughout the entire Western Wall plaza.

“The data prove that the public is fed up with the modesty terrorism and the rabbis who encourage it,” said Hiddush CEO Rabbi Uri Regev. “The degradation of women must end.”


Download Full Hiddush Report on Gender-segregated Buses in Israel

 



Read more religious freedom & equality news from Israel at Hiddush.org

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BlissNotes
Dr Philip Bliss
Melbourne Australia



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