}

Speaking of blackmail and prostitution among Israeli politicians

Holy cow!

What is wrong with this government?

Read this article carefully.

The Knesset is expected to approve a government bill this week that considerably expands the authority of the rabbinical courts.

The bill, which has already been approved by the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, will be presented for second and third readings against the objections of Justice Ministry legal experts, women’s organizations and Labor, Yahad and Shinui Knesset members.

Legal experts believe the bill is a clear violation of the status quo. It authorizes rabbinical courts to hear divorce suits concerning Jewish couples, even if one or both of the partners lives overseas. The bill applies to couples married in a religious ceremony who have not commenced civil divorce procedures overseas. A spouse will also be able to file for divorce with the rabbinical courts if he has resided in Israel for at least one year.

Dr. Ruth Halperin-Kadari, a family law specialist at Bar-Ilan University, says the legislation would enable a man living abroad to immigrate to Israel to sue his wife for divorce a year later, thereby preventing her from obtaining a civil divorce overseas. This would oblige her to come to Israel and get divorced in a rabbinical court, even if she has no affiliation to Israel and only married in a religious ceremony for reasons of family and tradition.

I think the code name for this bill is the “Agunot Worldwide” bill. Sheer lunacy.

Oh yeah, I forgot. The blackmail? Ultra Orthodox parties in order to support the budget. The prostitute? Arik Sharon and the Likud. Nothing new under the sun.

39 Comments

  1. mobius

    3/27/2005 at 3:30 am

    i’ve said it once and i’ll say it a dozen times again: if this country were any more retarded it could’ve played corky on life goes on.

  2. harry

    3/27/2005 at 5:55 am

    Why is this a surprise? Every year when the budget passes something else gets sneaked in to appease a certain constituency. It’s almost ALWAYS the ultra-orthodox parties. And it doesn’t matter that it’s Likud. The haredim have been doing this for years to whatever party is in power. Got to love it. Their voters don’t even pay taxes in this country. Kartziot!

  3. Alter Kocker

    3/27/2005 at 9:59 am

    Yes everyone gets soooo upset and calling everyone they don’t like a prostitute (which is legal in Nevada) instead of looking at the real issues. This Rabbinic court ruling can help and hurt, women and men alike. Dispicable people do not need new laws to do horrid things. The problem is dim witted narrow minded people called politicians, all of them, are corrupt. Start from that point. Do you really think there is a country in the world where there are such things as GOOD politicians. Why because it is Israel do you think that they have to be good? Do you have any idea what goes on in the USA? Pork Rules. Pork is the only way that anything happens. THey only get mad when the pork goes too much one way. But Pork it is. Whyu do you place any faith in the politicos T_M and mobius, we thought you knew better. Or do just want to have an excuse for some fancy headlines. Stop dragging Israel in the dirt. Stop focusing on the rubbish that run the knesset and look for the good. You can easily take out your own powerlessness to change the system out on other countries, so why spoil ours more than it already is being spoiled by the ones that are claiming to help? Do you get my drift? Do you see the big picture. Who is the prosititute? Who is the Jon? Whose finger was that in the bowl of chili at the Wendy’s that is what I want to know. I mean really that is news. So what that Tommy Lapid acts like a jerk. Talks like a jerk, looks like a jerk, and lo and behold, hold the press…. he is a jerk.

    So guys, get a life. Get a job. Get another country to gang bang up on. Let my littel patch of dirt alone. Go stick on someone else’s parade. Because I for one, and sick and tired off all the kvetching and the horror, comon – get a life. Get real. You want perfection? You want honor? You want valor? You want morals? Then get out of politics baby, get far away.

  4. ck

    3/27/2005 at 11:17 am

    I would urge you to investigate further the complex and multi faceted Israeli Family law court system before jumping to any conclusions based on what is an extremely simplistic article.

    Despite what most laymen think, the aforementioned system is possessed of various checks and balances. Yes, there are separate religious courts – for Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druse. Religious courts have exclusive jurisdiction in some matters and have concurrent jurisdcition with civilian courts in others.

    Jewish Religious courts have exclusive jurisdiction over the marriage and divorce of Jews. Child custody issues can be started in civilian courts prior to a divorce proceeding, but if it hasn’t, it becomes the exclusive domain of the religious court. For all other issues relating to the divorce, ie alimony, child support etc. the religious courts excercise jurisdiction only if both parties agree to it.

    The religious courts apply rabbinic law in determining the outcome of their cases. However they are still subject to High Court of Justice strictures that impose the use of civil law over religious law in matters relating to the division of the matrimonial estate (unless there is prior agreement by both parties otherwise). Also the religious courts are expected to subject themselves to notions of basic human rights as represented by Israel’s Basic Laws (Israel’s non-constitution).

    Rabbinic courts have enforcement powers that are particularly strong with respect to orders requiring husbands to grant their wives a get (Jewish divorce). These powers include everything from revocation of drivers licenses to open ended prison terms.

    Haaretz and certain Israelis would have you believe that the religious courts are made up of misogynists who are free to run roughshod over principles of a just and civil society, whle always favoring the interests of men over women, religious over secular.

    That is simply not the case, and is an insult to the fine members of Israel’s religious courts and it is also an insult to the members of the Israeli government who in fact created a system that acknowleges the reality of what Israel is – a Jewish State that still seeks to respect the rights of all its different constituent elements.

    Say what you will about the bill and the political machinations that led to its creation – at least the principles behind it were always those of the United Torah Judaism’s. However, Lapid and Shinui? They don’t seem to have any principles at all!

  5. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 12:42 pm

    ck and Alter, did you notice the part of the article where the experts from the Justice Ministry object to this law?

    Did you notice that this gets the hands of the Israeli rabbinate on virtually any marriage conducted by any rabbi anywhere outside of Israel if the spouse (invariably the husband since he is almost always the one to benefit most from not granting a get) chooses to make the move to Israel to really screw up his spouse’s life?

    How is it you both wrote those lengthy comments without addressing the central problem here? Or are you guys just pleased because you expect this to assist with aliyah efforts.

    And before you continue with the bs about how this is an “insult to the fine members of Israel’s religious courts,” note that I know people who have lost everything that matters to them because these fine members of Israel’s religious courts couldn’t come up with a satisfactory solution. Either they lost their money, or their children, or the opportunity to remarry and have children. It’s quaint to think that the courts always find resolutions and know how to impose their will upon the individuals who are divorcing, but that’s just wishful thinking.

    In fact, I know a woman who will be in terrible trouble if this law passes (as it probably will in a very short time) and her recently-become-ex realizes the power this gives him. I suggest you all pray he doesn’t learn about this because he will cause her no end of grief, out of simple pettiness and a desire for vengeance although he was in the wrong. Why would he be given this power to mess up her life even more? How does this benefit anyone?

    By the way, the lawyer who is quoted by Ha’aretz is an expert on the issue of agunot. “Dr. Ruth Halperin-Kadari teaches family law, feminist jurisprudence and bioethics at Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law. She is the head of the Bioethics, Philosophy and Law Graduate Program at the Law Faculty in Bar-Ilan, and serves as a board member of the newly founded The Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism, and as a member of the steering committee for the development of a graduate program in Gender Studies at Bar-Ilan. During 1998 she was an active co-founder of the Israeli Association for Feminist Studies. She is an LL.B. from Bar-Ilan Univ. (1989), Summa Cum Laude; an LL.M. from Yale Law School (1990) and J.S.D. from Yale Law School (1993).In 1996 she was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write the official Israeli report under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW) and has presented the Report at the UN in July 1997.Sice 1994 she has been a member of the Legal Team of the Israeli Women’s Network, and since 1996 a Legal Counselor for the Knesset’s Committee for the advancement of Women’s sub-committee on family law. Within these public activities she has been concentrating on the issua of halachic pre-nuptial agreements as a mean to ease the plight of the agunah.
    Dr. Halperin-Kaddari has published several articles on legal pluralism in Israel, on maternal-fetal relationships, on grounds for divorce under Jewish law and other topics.”

    I would have to say she’s also Jewlicious, but that’s not the point here, is it? The point being, of course, that we are now extending a problematic issue and foisting it upon any Jewish woman who is married in a religious ceremony anywhere in the world.

  6. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 12:52 pm

    I’m providing the outline of the problem below. The document from where I copied it also includes a case where the Rabbinic Supreme Court ruled in favor of an agunah. You’ll note, however, that it took her 8 years to be free from her ex-husband. You’ll also note that she already had another life partner and children. Those children are, of course, mamzerim (bastards) according to Jewish law.

    The purpose of this booklet is to draw public attention to a halakhic solution to the problem of agunot (anchored women) and women whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce, which the rabbinic courts are reluctant to apply. At the outset, it is appropriate to cite the words of Judge Moshe Silberg:

    … We recall that one of the main arguments of those calling for civil marriages… is that religious marriages subject the wife to the husband’s whims when she comes to ask him for a divorce. This is not exactly so, but there is some truth to this argument and the case before us proves it. This chained status, and perhaps an even crueler one, is the fate that awaits every Israeli Jewish woman whose husband has left the country and disappeared or refuses to send her a bill of divorce. It is therefore incumbent upon us to consult and find a halakhic way to release the wife from her chained status, and in every case where circumstances categorically require that they be separated.1

    In addition to the cases cited in Judge Silberg’s opinion, other difficult cases should be included, such as a mentally ill husband, a husband who is living with another woman in a “common law” marriage, a lengthy separation and other cases.

    It should be stressed that in cases where there are halakhic grounds for compelling the husband to grant a divorce and a court ruling has been issued compelling him to grant a divorce (hereafter: “compelling a divorce”), almost all means are acceptable. Thus, the problem focuses on those cases where there is no halakhic justification for compelling a divorce, but only for obligating a divorce and a ruling has been issued against the husband requiring him to give his wife a divorce (hereafter: “obligating a divorce”) and he refuses to obey the ruling (hereafter: “a recalcitrant husband”). The difficulty in enforcing rulings obligating a divorce, as opposed to rulings compelling a divorce, is that the halakhah rules out the use of various means of compulsion against the husband in rulings obligating a divorce for fear of a get me’useh (a forced divorce). 2 Although “a forced divorce issued by a Jewish court is valid…”, 3 the Gemara adds that: `RavNahman said in the name of Shmuel: a forced divorce issued by a Jewish court according to the law is valid; if it is not issued according to the law, it is invalid and it invalidates…”. 4

    “According to the law” means that there is a halakhic justification for compelling a divorce. Therefore, when it comes to “obligating a divorce”, the halakhah developed indirect ways of applying pressure to a recalcitrant husband. Indeed, rabbinic courts in Israel and abroad
    utilize halakhic solutions for this issue, but the use of indirect pressure is still controversial and some important rabbis express reservations about it and maintain that in cases where there is a ruling obligating a divorce, it is inappropriate to use indirect pressure on the recalcitrant husband for fear of a “forced divorce.” On the other hand, no one disputes that in cases where there has been a ruling compelling a divorce, it is possible to take steps against the recalcitrant husband to get him to obey the ruling, even direct forms of
    compulsion, such as imprisonment.

    In practice, however, the courts are reluctant to rule in favor of compelling a divorce and to implement the rules for doing so, either on the grounds that there is a chance of achieving shlom bayit (marital harmony) or because there is concern about a forced divorce. The result of this reluctance is that many women are left both without shlom bayit and without a get (divorce) and they are agunot. There are quite a few cases where the wife has sexual relations and children with another man without first obtaining a get, and the children born from such
    relationships are mamzerim (bastards).

  7. laya

    3/27/2005 at 12:57 pm

    Alter Kocker….agreed.

  8. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 1:00 pm

    Yes Laya and Alter, politicians are bad. Sorry for bringing it up. 🙄

  9. ck

    3/27/2005 at 1:07 pm

    Sigh TM.
    I am not questioning the bona fides of Ministry of Justice officials, nor am I doubting the credentials of Halperin-Kadari. I too know, first hand, loads of people who have lost everything due to injustices at the hands of secular civil courts. Similarly, I’ve come across loads of people with Ivy League degrees and impressive CVs who are none the less complete idiots.

    But that’s not the point. The Israeli Justice system is actually pretty progressive. The Supreme Court recently recognized the right of a person to adopt the children of her gay partner. That story somehow made it under your radar. The system of jurisdictions re religious courts in Israel is a unique study in checks and balances that seeks to make concrete the notion of a Jewish state in a pluralistic society. I think what I take umbrage with is the notion that underlies Haaretz’s overall editorial stance as witnessed by this article – that religious courts unduly favor men and that basically anything religious in Israel is neccessarily and by definition bad.

    Are the religious courts perfect? No. But what the article fails to discuss are notions of Public International Law – conflict of jurisdictions. Israel is bound by law to respect the rules applicable in the jurisdiction in which the marriage took place. How this bill will affect Israel’s international obligations is unclear in the article. But I do know that the religious courts have not acted in an unchecked and draconian manner in the past. They have always been subject in certain measure to judicial review. The article glosses over the very important legal details and seems like a hastily put together piece whose only purpose is to bash religion. Maybe to make up for darling Lapid’s out and out lack of principles.

    So instead of a nuanced and thoughtful article that discusses relevant issues which would allow for the formation of a balanced and informed opinion, we get the standard Haaretz anti-religious bash fest that leads to shrill and uninformed responses.

    Seriously, is it any wonder I am less than impressed?

  10. laya

    3/27/2005 at 1:11 pm

    TM, as usual, you miss the point.

  11. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 1:18 pm

    Yes Laya, I always miss the point. Thanks for your input, and I recommend you tell all of your friends to sign a get prenuptial before they marry.

  12. laya

    3/27/2005 at 1:22 pm

    will do, thanks for the advice.

  13. ck

    3/27/2005 at 1:30 pm

    Or a prenuptial period. Prenups are always a good idea. The point is that injustices, real or percieved, are not the exclusive domain of religious courts. The way you presented this story, grubby paws and all, seems to imply that the sole purpose the rabbis had in pushing for this bill is so that their vindictive and mean religious buddies could use the courts to mess with their ex-wives. Well, that’s how it is so often presented anyway.

    I mean what the hell is the purpose of journalism anyway? Did you notice any attempt at all to even get a statement from UTJ? Doesn’t that kind of strike you as odd? Is this a news story or a thinly veiled editorial? Or is it just that religious Jews are so prima facie loathsome that the ordinary rules of journalistic fairness need not apply to them?

    This is not to say that I am not at least as sympathetic to the cause of agunot as you are. That’s not at issue here. Do you kinda sorta understand what I’m getting at?

  14. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 1:33 pm

    ck, the article is very clear that as long as civil proceedings have not been launched in a foreign country, the partner who prefers to have the Israeli rabbinate take charge of the case can move to Israel and initiate the divorce there. At that point, regardless of any country’s civil laws, the Israeli Rabbinate will have authority over the religious aspect of the divorce between this couple. What’s so complicated about that? If one complains, or prefers the local rabbis, or wants to go to the local politicians and complain that some distant group of rabbis in a far away country is in control of one’s life, one is out of luck because the Israeli Rabbinate becomes the religious authority over the matter.

    And we both know it’s to the advantage of the husband and that in almost all matters of divorce, it is the husbands who refuse to grant the get. This law benefits them, and in ways I don’t understand, the Rabbinate of Israel.

    This isn’t Ha’aretz doing this, it’s Israeli politicians doing it to earn votes for the budget and the disengagement.

  15. ck

    3/27/2005 at 1:40 pm

    See, but its not that simple. There’s a whole area of law called Public International Law that deals specifically with conflicting jurisdictions in civil matters. Israel is subject to these well developped rules and regulations. The article fails to discuss how Israel’s pre-existing legal obligations will affect the scope of the what is proposed in the bill. The article also fails to present a coherent opposing perspective. The article is not news. It’s just crappy one-sided editorializing.

  16. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 1:43 pm

    Shoddy journalism or not, ck, the law is about to pass. The meaning of the law is provided by a woman who specializes in this area, is faculty at an excellent law school, and who graduated summa out of Bar Ilan and then went to Yale to get a J.S.D. – don’t be so condescending, that’s a pretty impressive resume.

    The issue of agunot is the point here. The politicians are facilitating some form of rabbinical power grab that will give the teeth of Israeli courts to the Israeli rabbinate to potentially control the marriage and divorce of Jews in other countries, even if they have no connection to Israel. All it will take now is a vindictive spouse or one who sees an advantage to manipulating the system (almost always will be a male).

    And yes, we’re in agreement that Shinui has proven that it is just as much of a prostitute and blackmailer as the Orthodox parties. I guess that makes sense since Shinui was formed as a counterbalance. Somehow, though, I am not sure how this all plays out except that I guess every constituency in Israel has to have its own blackmailing political party in order to gain anything.

  17. ck

    3/27/2005 at 1:57 pm

    Man. Yes she has an impressive resume. I think I conceded that point a long time ago. But its just her opinion and we do not know what her personal biases are nor do we have even a half-assed analysis of public international law issues nor do we have even a simple statement from anyone in favor of this bill. Laws are subject to interpretation and believe it or not, even in the storied halls of ivy league academia, people with equally impressive credentials have been know to disagree with one another. Shocking I know, but true. You are reading so much into this bill it’s remarkable! And based on what? One learned opinion, some unidentified anonymous Ministry of Justice employees and a badly written extremely biased article?

    I mean seriously, what am I supposed to think here?

  18. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t know ck, maybe you should be asking, what if it’s actually a well written and accurate article, with astute commentary by our learned professor?

    I mean, you keep dancing around the possibility that this article may be right on target.

  19. ck

    3/27/2005 at 2:39 pm

    TM, the article does not provide me with sufficient information to make even a remotely intelligent judgement possible. Why don’t you simply admit that? Unless of course your standards allow for decisive judgements on complex issues based on virtually no raw information, presented by a biased source with authoritative analysis by only one expert and no presentation of opposing view points.

    Again, let me make myself clear, I have at least as much sympathy and concern for the plight of agunot as you do. That is AGAIN not the issue. What is at issue is how standards of fairness and even handed reporting that we have set for others need not be applied to religious people.

    You asked me to carefully read the article, and I did. And dude, please understand. I am not particularly religious! Its more like my sense of fairness is offended. If you are going to out and out HATE people, well geez, at least be fair about it. The fact that we are talking about fellow Jews makes the issue of fairness and tact even more important.

    Now come back to me with more substantial info and let me get back to worrying about Syrian state sponsored terrorism trying to undermine Israeli peace efforts, Iran getting nukes, Israel and apartheid being synonymous with each other in certain circles, Jewish intermarriage rates above 50%, the steady fragmentation of Israeli society etc. etc.

  20. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 6:02 pm

    HATE? Moi? Jamais!

    You seemed to have no problem with an editorial about Shinui, without even one expert chiming in…

    Jus’ sayin’

  21. ck

    3/27/2005 at 6:31 pm

    And I admitted the bias. I admit it now. I see shinui as a divisive force in a society that can easily repel external force but is susceptible to internal turmoil. But like I said, I have the stones to admit my bias. And I am sorry, I really didn’t wanna imply that you hate anyone.

  22. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 6:55 pm

    You’d like me to have the stones to admit that I’m biased against the ultra-Orthodox parties and parts of the Rabbinate because I think they’re a very divisive force in Israeli society? Done.

    And don’t worry about accusing me of hate. Probably neo-Nazis and their ilk, and terrorists and their supporters are about the only people I hate. Oh, and maybe Rachel who dumped me in 7th grade for no good reason.

  23. Alter Kocker

    3/27/2005 at 10:15 pm

    You see T_M it took a while, but the truth will always set you free
    Rachel left you for a handsom 9th grader and left for Israel. Well, not that you have worked out this pain in company, can we get on? Now that our group session is over, can we get to the job of uniting the Jewish people? I know, I know, this legal mumbo jumbo stuff does hurt people from time to time. We dont dismiss that…we just dont get our knickers in a twist about it thats all. Legal dead ends abound, in every country. Do you really think the Israeli Rabbinate is so pernicious? Do you think that maybe there is an ounce of goodness there trying to do some good, like to make sure that we know who is a Jew? Yes I too have been a cynical bastard, but it didnt make me happy, or stop my drinking and boozing, and messing around with computer fonts that I should have nothing to do with…It is so hard to maintain my balance being that Purim only finished today, really.. sorry, feeling better. Soon. bye.

  24. T_M

    3/27/2005 at 11:10 pm

    Another bad piece of reporting by another publication seeking to divide the Jewish people.

    I don’t understand why people won’t stop trying to divide the Jewish people and keep writing these stories that have no basis in fact.

  25. ck

    3/28/2005 at 12:04 am

    Well at least the Jerusalem Post article is a little more balanced:

    Unlike rabbinical courts abroad, the Israeli rabbinical court is empowered to order husbands to give their wives a divorce. The government provision would therefore provide a more effective alternative for Jewish women in the Diaspora to force their husbands to divorce them.

    The JPost article also is very clear that in the worst case scenario everyone seems to be focusing on, the religious court’s jurisdiction would only happen if the husband moves to Israel, becomes a citizen, lives there for a year and no civil proceedings have been started in the home jurisdiction.

    Your acquaintance who is worried about what her vindictive husband need only begin civil divorce proceedings wherever it is she lives.

    The badly written Ha’aretz article is confusing in that regard. The second paragraph states plainly:

    Legal experts believe the bill is a clear violation of the status quo. It authorizes rabbinical courts to hear divorce suits concerning Jewish couples, even if one or both of the partners lives overseas.

    It also fails to discern or even to attempt to discern the intent of the bill. In that regard it clearly demonstrates a bias. I mean at first blush, who wouldn’t be outraged at those grubby pawed Rabbis? But when it comes to issues that may cause divisiveness, I am really, really careful.

    Lapid and Shinui have been roasted by pretty much everybody – except for maybe Mrs. Lapid. The right, the left, everyone has seen theirs as the most cynical and unprincipled of political moves. As for the UTJ, as Harry mentioned in comment #2 – they have principles and they stick to them and this move is business as usual. But whatever.

    You admitted your bias and that’s cool. Maybe you’ll contemplate that next time you try to make decisive statements. You’ll notice I rarely if ever post about Lapid. I may be biased about him and Shinui but I am not obsessed. I don’t go on and on ad nauseum about the pernicious influence of secularists. I recognize that for better or worst, Israel is made up of a sometimes volatile but always interesting mix of divergent people with divergent interests.

    That’s my Israel. I like it fine the way it is.

    Let me be clear again – to whatever extent this bill makes the lot of agunot more difficult, I oppose it. But see what happens when you use inflamatory language? We get into a pissing contest and the really important issue gets left on the sidelines.

  26. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 2:04 am

    Alter and ck,

    I love sarcasm. I do. I also love it when people find interesting and innovative ways to avoid facing truth and facts. Really, I do.

    Now, despite all the dancing we’ve done around the topic, we still remain with the problem that this law creates for many people. We just haven’t discussed the problem.

    Whether the intentions are pernicious or not, they do indicate a desire to control the lives of people from a distance while over-riding the good judgement of the rabbis nearby those people.

    Furthermore, despite the sympathy for agunot ck may feel, this law will further exarcebate the problem and create even more horror stories – you can be sure of that. Getting citizenship isn’t that hard, is it? And if you initiate proceedings with a rabbi instead of a civil court, or refuse to sign any documents filed in a civil court abroad and disappear for a year in Israel, the divorce may not have been officially filed. You can’t control for every contingency. Also, there are plenty of people who are simply not knowledgeable about these things and may be tricked.

    As for the rabbis, maybe they’re not being pernicious. But nobody is being pernicious when they allow women to suffer for 8 years. Nope, those people are doing it because of faith and their conviction that this is what halakha calls for. Nobody wants to harm these women, this is being done for their own good in light of what we Jews believe fulfills our god’s requirements. If their biological clock runs out…well, it’s not for being pernicious.

    ——————————

    Now for a break from our regular programming…

    I have noticed an unfortunate pattern. If I post something that is negative about the Orthodox, somehow the conversation turns to what I’m doing instead of the topic.

    Somehow it becomes about me instead of the issue at hand.

    Somehow it becomes about the people commenting on these issues somehow causing divisions and rifts among the Jewish people and it’s never, say, about how the rabbis or the politicians kissing their asses are causing the divisions. No no no, it’s Ha’aretz, or me, or some other heathen secular divisive hater of the Jewish people. Gosh, what a mega conspiracy.

    It’s an effective tactic, turning a general topic into a personal attack on me, and it successfully stalls the discussion while making me look as if somehow my comments are less than trustworthy…

    …but it doesn’t change the facts. Sorry guys.

    So far, for example, the best you have done here is discuss whether this is good or bad journalism and whether the opinion of the lawyer mentioned in the first article (note they use the same lawyer in the JPost article, probably because her organizations put her in front of the media) is valid and whether Ha’aretz is speaking the truth when it mentions that members of the Justice Ministry believe this should be avoided. In other words, a lot of dancing around the topic.

    If you don’t post about Shinui, ck, that’s your right. If you can’t trust yourself to post facts that speak well or ill of any group…then don’t. There is nothing false in my post, and there is nothing incorrect about it either. In fact, 25 comments later, there remains nothing false in my post or subsequent comments. You know why as well as I do, ck, it’s one of the reasons you asked me to become a poster on Jewlicious.

    I suggest, again, that we debate on the facts, the merits of the argument, the point being made, and the manner in which it affects the Jewish world.

    I suggest, again, that we try to eliminate the focus on me since it is just a waste of time and takes on a censorship effect (“If I post this, will I get a lecture from Laya and a song and dance from ck, or will there be a genuine discussion”).

    I suggest we try to have fun. Nobody is perfect, not the rabbis, not the politicians, not Shinui, not the Ultra Orthodox, not the Modern Orthodox, not the secular, not Israelis, not diaspora Jews, and certainly not our enemies. Maybe Michael Chabon is, if we’re to believe his wife, but he’s the exception.

    If we can get over the automatic defensive reflex of defending certain groups because they are “our” groups, I think the debate will take a turn for the better. You can tell me why this law is good for the Jewish people, and I can tell you why it’s bad. We’ll learn something from each other and walk away with an appreciation and respect for the other’s point of view.

    Isn’t that better than talking about whether I have a bias or not?

    Sure it is.

  27. ck

    3/28/2005 at 2:46 am

    I’m not trying to focus on you. It’s not about you. Look Muffti is a self-avowed atheist. Yet his posts and comments do not cause the response that your posts cause. You just see the comments – you don’t get the emails that I get. I know that at the end of the day it’s all fun and games, and your intentions are good and all, but trust me when I tell you your tone causes pain. Seriously. It’s gotten to the point that anything you post vis-a-vis anything related to the Orthodox is greated with groans before even being read. It’s no wonder an otherwise legitimate message is glossed over.

    People feel you hate religious Jews. They say this on the basis of your tone and your focus. I mean I love the ass whupping you administer to John Brown on Jewschool when he has the temerity to suggest that Israel started the 1948 or 1967 wars. That stuff’s great, but you seem to treat John Brown with more basic respect than you do your own people.

    But again, do whatever you like. Post whatever and however you wish. This is just me telling you people are not just upset or angry, they are actually hurt by some of the things you say and more importantly, how you say it. I am trying to be as objective and non-judgemental as possible. I am merely reporting the facts.

    Hmmm. Let’s see if I can demonstrate what I mean ….

  28. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 3:16 am

    No ck, this is precisely what I mean by censoring. So now I’m not only supposed to consider whether Laya or you will provide me with personal comments, but that there’s an unknown mass movement behind the scenes sending you anguished or angry emails.

    Oh my! I had no idea there was this kind of power in my posts and comments.

    You know, the other day I was going to post about Orthodox women becoming rabbis. I had found some interesting info, there was an article about it in the Jpost, there was some humor to it, etc. I had gone as far as to write part of it, but then thought about all the people out there who would think about this as another negative post about the Orthodox. So I didn’t post it, and erased it. Instead, a day or two later, somebody posted the JPost article on Jewschool. Now they’ve had an interesting discussion, filled with some angry comments, about a compelling topic. We have not.

    I’m not sure what you want? Do you want this to be a salon for ideas regarding the Jewish world? Would you like there to be sharp and interesting discussion, such as that fostered when a topic elicits strong points of view, or would you rather it look like something a government agency puts out regarding how lovely everything out there might be? Why is it okay to criticize, say, Bronfman, because his ideas about what makes a Jew differ from yours, but not okay to bring up a bill making its way through the Knesset – in other words, something that will become law soon – and discuss its impact upon Jewish divorcees?

  29. ck

    3/28/2005 at 3:57 am

    Cuz even I lay off Bronfman every once in a while. And in most Salons divergent opinions can be discussed in a civil manner and even in a heated manner, without resort to undue harshness. I don’t want you to second guess yourself, I don’t want you to sanitize your posts, I don’t want to censor you. I just think your comments should be, you know, less hurtful.

    I like to think of Jewlicious not as a glossy government publication – there’s plenty of that around. I like to think of it as a place that puts emphasis on stuff you don’t easily have access to, about Judaism and Israel. The whole bash the haredim thing? Frankly, its boring. You see it every day in Haaretz and every secular Israeli with an axe to grind will go on and on about what a drain they are to the economy etc.

    Enlightened and respectful discourse about various interest groups in Israel? That we don’t get so much. An opinion piece by someone who has issues with the Orthodox and yet still manages to treat them with respect? That might be not only enlightening but maybe productive too. And no one need ever get hurt. That to me is what a Salon should be like. Or what I always imagined it to be – well that and crustless cucumber sandwiches… but I digress.

    I mean if you want to try and effect change, you don’t right off the bat alienate those who disagree with you. That’s the difference between enlightened discourse, and outright bashing. You tell me what sort of discourse you want to engage in. One is facile and unproductive, the other requires patience and control but may effect change.

    And please, if any of this seems like a personal attack, I apologize. You know I have tremendous respect for you. I don’t want this to become personal and it isn’t. I mean I disagree with loads of stuff that muffti says but we manage to remain civil. Again… none of this even requires a response. I am only presenting it as food for thought.

  30. laya

    3/28/2005 at 4:20 am

    TM, wanna know why the topic you present isn’t what we end up discussing? Think about it: If someone calls Israel a Zionist racist apartheid entity, experience shows that a productive discussion rarely if ever ensues. Likewise if someone is coming from a place of dismissing all value of Orthodox Judaism out of hand and calling rabbis greedy blackmailing whores with nothing but malicious intent, then its really hard to have a legitimate discussion about the pros and cons of an Aguna Bill.

  31. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 6:06 am

    Laya, I called them that in the title because a couple of days earlier I called Shinui the same. It was done in fun. By the way, you didn’t seem to be too bothered about the Shinui post and ck was positively glowing about it. So who is biased here?

    I wanted to be clear, in these posts, that nobody is coming out of these negotiations any better than anybody else. Now why would you be offended about the Ultra-Orthodox parties being called blackmailers, but not Shinui? Why would you not find fault with Sharon being called a prostitute?

    And ck, I bash everyone equally, and I also give praise when it is due. Except for the title, which is a play on the Shinui post title from a couple of days ago, and one phrase which, upon rereading, I modified – even before you said anything – I would urge you to go back through this discussion and tell me where there was undue harshness, disrespect for anybody, disrespectful discourse, or incivility?

    Really, I don’t understand. I am certainly firm in the way I express my opinions, but nowhere in this discussion did I attack anybody or act maliciously. When you commented, I provided information and proof. When the JPost article came up, I provided it immediately so the discussion wouldn’t have to be based on the Ha’aretz article because you kept focusing on its flaws.

    Is it possible that your reaction to my posts, along with the emailers who complain, is based on your own biases and sensitivity?

    The last thing I want to say is that this business with modifying the law is not a nice thing. It may cause terrible hardship to some. Why do you want me to post nicely or gently about a harsh reality?

  32. ck

    3/28/2005 at 6:15 am

    TM wrote: you didn’t seem to be too bothered about the Shinui post and ck was positively glowing about it.

    Well, as you pointed out, Shinui was acting against their own stated principles, whereas the Rabbis are acting in full accordance with their stated principles. There’s a difference there.

    The last thing I want to say is that this business with modifying the law is not a nice thing. It may cause terrible hardship to some. Why do you want me to post nicely or gently about a harsh reality?

    See the Agunot Take 2 post and tell me which one, yours or mine is more likely to lead to productive discussion? I take no umbrage with the content of your posts. Just the tone. And when the topic of Orthodox Jews gets brought up so often, it magnifies itself even further.

  33. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 11:52 am

    ck, in my honest opinion, this post is going to generate a more honest, open and active discussion.

  34. ck

    3/28/2005 at 12:45 pm

    33 comments, very few touching on the actual issue of agunot. Lots of accrimony… hmmm

  35. josh

    3/28/2005 at 1:37 pm

    Well,
    Tommy Lapid did say something about whores in the knesset this morning. Is that on topic?

  36. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 1:43 pm

    Sure, what did he say?

    And ck, the acrimony revolves around what exactly? The fact it was I who posted the topic…

  37. ck

    3/28/2005 at 1:55 pm

    Duuude! It’s got nothing to do with you!
    Ya Allah!
    😉

  38. josh

    3/28/2005 at 1:56 pm

    Meretz member of knesset, Zahava Galon criticized Lapid for selling out to Sharon, and Lapid announced twice in two occasions this morning that he doesn’t want to say what he thinks of her career’ and made the non-deniable impression that she was a prositute.

    Just trying to warn you all who’s representing the anti-Jewish secular ‘movement’ and how that’s a hopeless bunch.

    http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART/888/900.html

  39. T_M

    3/28/2005 at 2:07 pm

    Cool. Zehava Galon should be posting on Jewlicious.

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