Well, we already have a case of an Arab Israeli family that has tried to move into a Jewish neighborhood, but have been denied access by the town. They have won their case in the Supreme Court, but apparently implementation is slow in coming.

We already know that very few Jews live in Arab Israeli towns or villages.

But now we have a new twist on bias. It appears the Israeli government – yes, the very one giving Gazan Jews hundreds of thousands of dollars, great new lots to build their new homes, the ability to keep groups together, a new regional authority, etc. – has now consented to keep secular Jews outside of the Nitzan neighborhood being put together for the Gazan Jews who will be made to leave in the pullout.

No worries, as we all know, secular Israelis are not real Jews anyway and as long as they keep paying taxes and sending their boys to fight in the IDF, they serve their purpose.

About the author

themiddle

73 Comments

  • Oh, wait, so lemme get this straight: Ben David believes a sinister cabal of leftist, ultra-secular Jews controls the country and oppresses the religious, whereas you believe a sinister cabal of rightist, ultra-religious Jews controls the country and oppresses the secular?

    Wow. Doesn’t sound very middle to me. Sounds reactionary.

  • … sounds like both of you are clueless overseas Jews.

    The distinction between religious and secular is well-established, standard operating pratice in education and housing here in Israel. That grows naturally out of the fact that 1/3 of the population observes strictures unique to Orthodox Judaism (such as travel on the Shabbat) or wants a religious education for their kids.

    And even in the secular school system, kids are taught Bible and a smattering of Talmud as part of “cultural and historical education.”

    And even in secular communities, the publicly funded holiday celebrations include Passover, Shavuot (a big holiday especially at many secular kibbutzim) Hanukkah – not with a watered-down, lowest-common-denominator “Season’s Greetings” – but with full Jewish regalia.

    See, it’s a Jewish State – not a totally neutral democracy. We’re the norm here, not a minority.

    That’s the point. Remember?

    Consequently there is an entire (taxpayer funded!) public school stream for the (large percentage) of the population that wants that education for their kids.

    And city and regional planners designate a portion of neighborhoods and villages that are earmarked Orthodox or Mixed – to accommodate the social/communal needs of Orthodox Jews, and those who wish to live in a traditional, but not entirely homogeneous, community.

    This is a much better approach than slugging it out violently over issues like street closing on the Sabbath.

    Of course, the middle always jumps with both feet onto anything that offers the remote possibility for Ortho-bashing – even it if betrays his total ignorance of the reality here

    It’s a reality in which 2/3 of Jewish Israelis know more and do more Old Tyme Judaism than TM and his “progressive” friends. And it’s a reality in which those people’s cultural/social needs influence things like town planning.

    That was the point of Zionism. Remember?

  • Wow, you just really can’t get that secular jew=non jew bullshit out of your head, can you? sheesh yo, open up a little.

  • Oh yeah, I’m pretty clueless. Nope, don’t know a thing about Israel. I should just scurry back overseas with all the other clueless Jews. Very Zionist of you.

    And speaking of Zionism, I believe the point was, to quote David Ben-Gurion, who I suppose as a non-clueless non-overseas Jew you may be familiar with, “to be like every people and nation.” And, you know, all that new Jew, get out of the shtetl and into the fields stuff.

    But then again, what the hell would I know?

  • … and that “new Jew” stuff seems to have failed, just like the “new Judaisms” that we Orthos are so “intolerant” of.

    Pathetic.

    A propos the leftist cabal, the right of free speech in Israel:

    Police Caught on Video Beating Demonstrator
    Go here to see the video – police officer gouging the eyes and nostrils of an already handcuffed demonstrator.

    This confirms many other reports that the police and army are stepping up violence in a desperate attempt to quell “policitally incorrect” public protest.

  • In a more Jewlicious vein – and a propos the cultural divide in Israel – a TRANCE PARTY in opposition to disengagement:
    (from ynetnews.com – Yediot newspaper in English)
    TRANCE, NOT TRANSFER
    Where do right-wing secularists fit into the anti-disengagement movement?
    By Miri Chason

    TEL AVIV – 23-year-old Oved Arad, from Moshav Mevo Horon, is in a tough position. As a right-wing activist, he wants to voice his opposition to the Gaza disengagement plan, but as a secular twenty-something, he doesn’t really fit into the mainly kippa-wearing demonstrations organized by right-wing organizations such as the Yesha Council.

    To solve his dilemma, Arad and four secular friends have planned a secular anti-pullout party Thursday night at the “Self Club” in Tel Aviv.

    He says the event will bring out many secular friends who are opposed to the disengagement but don’t feel comfortable demonstrating by blocking traffic.

    “I used to go to demonstrations, but I stopped because I was one of the only secular people there. The demonstrations are portrayed in the media as ‘religious’ events, so many secular people don’t feel comfortable. But there are many people like me, who want to add their voices to the chorus. I thought a party would bring anti-disengagement young people out of their homes,” he says.

    Organizers say the event’s most important goal is to bridge the gap between what they call “two Israels.”

    “Two peoples have been created here – secular leftists against the settlers. We represent the secular right, and we want to bridge the gap between the two,” Shai Meir, 25, of Modiin says.

    He says he has received stabbing threats if the party goes ahead as planned, and cites two incidents to illustrate what he believes is a serious split in the nation.

    “I recently finished a stint of army reserve duty,” Meir says, “and a left-wing colleague told me the only good thing to come out of the disengagement was to ‘screw the settlers’.”

    “Another time, we parked our car, all decked out in orange, in Tel Aviv. When we came back, the mirrors were broken and the car was all scratched up. This is the reason I want to hold the party.”

    Arad expects the party to attract hundreds of supporters. He hopes the success will lead to other projects that will eventually bring about the downfall of disengagement.

    “I have sent teams of people to pass out flyers advertising the party on the Tel Aviv beach, and they were very well received,” he says.

    “I don’t believe the program will come to pass. I think there is a chance to stop the process, but all the passive, anti-disengagement people out there must wake up.”

  • I live in Israel, pay the taxes, am pro-disengagement (and in favor of establishing new communities for those who will be uprooted)…and I find this approach quite disgusting. So…if you are religious, your loss of a community should be recognized, but if you are secular, fuck you, go find an apartment in Ashkelon?

    Ummm, hello, the secular Jews in Gaza are also losing their communities.

  • so it isn’t enough to force people from the homes they bought with the consent and encouragement of the state of israel…now, that is not enough: we need to move them into communities where they won’t feel as comfortable as they have, where Shabbat is not the Shabbat they are used to because of traffic, where public tax money (in Israel dispensed per percentage of residents) goes to cultural things that they won’t use and there won’t be enough money for religious services that they will need…where there won’t be as many schools to choose from because some are secular and not at all in the ballpark….no, even that is not enough

    why not have some arrogant armchair zionists join the ultra-left media and make them look bad….

  • Speaking as an Orthodox Jew, I don’t see how the “new Jew” has failed. Seems to me, judging from the fact that Jews, both religious and secular, outside Bnei Brak, the Old City and Meah Shearim have successfully extracted themselves mentally and physically from the shtetl and do things like work and engage with the rest of the world, the “new Jew” is a reality.

    As far as your imagined leftist cabal (and I’m the one who’s clueless?) there’s also videos of police beating leftist demonstrators. So whose imagined shadowy evil cabal is genuine, the far left or the far right? You can’t both be right.

    And you’re the one who hates gay people for “making themselves into victims” to further their political aims? Pot. Kettle. Et cetera.

  • leftist cabal and rightist cabal, i just found out that “cabal” comes frm the word kabbalah – so you all are mekubalim, right?

  • Daphna, read the article before opening your mouth. The large part of the refugee camp will be religious only since most of the communities are religious. There will be a non-religious section.

    and tm,
    you really, really should confirm your news with other sources and or open up an updated atlas. Haaretz is crying wolf and you really have no clue what is really happening on the ground. I can show you many other secular only towns in Israel that will not allow religious families to move in.

    Oh,
    and if you actually thought that the disengagement was going to stop at the 67 borders, think again.

    The Palestinians are whining about a ‘missing’ 2 kilometres. I thought this was supposed to be a unilateral withdrawal on our conditions.

    When are you going to wake up?

  • 1. I am definitely not the only one to describe the political history of Israel in terms of a leftist clique that has progressively lost power to those who did not agree with its aggressive ideological program… most Jews of Yemenite or North African descent will tell you about the forcible denial of Jewish education (including Nazi-like cutting of beards and sidelocks) as part of the program of “re-education” that was supposed to create “new Jews”. Likewise, the old-timers among the Religious Zionists will tell you of the time when they were shut out of most industrial/engineering positions in State-controlled industry.

    You can also read any good book about Israel, which will trace the devolution of the socialist hegemony, especially from the election of the Likud in 1973 – the first time in Israel’s history that the Left lost control of the government. (hmmm 30 years of political uniformity and socialized economy, could that be evidence of an entrenched lefist hegemony…. nahhhh. It’s just those primitive Orthos’ fevered imaginations…)

    2. There are at most a handful of neighborhoods in each city that are designated as religious. It’s not as if the secular Israelis are being herded into a ghetto – the opposite is true: the Orthodox are (self-selecting) into neighborhoods that are quiet on the Sabbath, where they won’t have Community Board arguments over allocating funds to build a mikveh, etc.

    3. There are a (relative) handful of secular Jews in Gaza. One of them was down to just 15 families recently. IIRC most have already made arrangements to be absorbed within neighboring secular moshavim in the area.

    But hey, don’t let the facts stop your uffish liberal whining…

  • Laya – I don’t have any numbers for you, but based on my recent visits to the Gush the majority of residents are secular or traditional. I asked a few “knitted kippah” types if they had moved to the Gush for religious reasons; every single one of them said no, and emphasized that they were not ideologues. They said they’d moved to Gaza in search of a higher standard of living and/or economic opportunities. When I asked if I could quote them on that, they just looked at me and said, “Of course!”
    There are some more Orthodox residents, as well, but as far as I could see they were in the minority – my guesstimate is around 20 percent.

  • i was down there also a while back and met the same kinds of kippah stugah in search of a better life types. they may not be black hatters, but the ones I met anyway were decidely orthodox.

  • Lisa – which settlments did you visit?
    We just spent this last Shabbat in Neve Dekalim – the largest settlement. It is solidly knitted kippah orthodox.

    Perhaps you were in Netzer Hazani?

    In any event, by population my guesstimate is 70/30 Orthodox/Secular.

    You’re right about the elections being in 1977 – I use 73 as shorthand for that time as do many Israelis, since Labor was ousted due to anger over the conduct of the war.

  • Um, Sarah, it’s not the job of the government to build exclusive or gated neighborhoods. If they want one, let them buy their own plots of land and build their own neighborhoods. Public funds in any country should not pay for segregation.

    Imagine the furor if the tables were turned. It’s actually a little incredible, and definitely abhorrent, that after all those centuries forced to live apart in ghettos, we see Jews doing it to themselves in a Jewish state.

  • Middle, this is a highly stupid post of yours. Not sure that you really know enough about Israel, whether you are kdding, sarcastic, whatever, this post is shit.

  • Tell us how you really feel, Jobber.

    So far today, I’ve been told I know nothing about Orthodox Judaism and about Israel. If anybody else wants to chime in, go right ahead – you can be certain I’m ignoring your comment.

  • TM – the government isn’t building luxury neighborhoods. A handful of neighborhoods get designated as “of religious character” – often it’s just a few square blocks – after a normal assessment of community makeup and needs, including a review process open to the public.

    The building is done by private firms, and the apartments are sold at market value.

    Regarding outlying villages – the decision of how to define the new village is largely made in response to the “garin” – the core of families that spearhead settlement of the area. So again, it’s largely self-selecting.

    The notion that the secular are being oppressed is ludicrous.

    Yes – you are clueless about how Israel, as a Jewish state, functions. You are still trying to apply your diaspora mentality, unable to wrap your mind around the fact that here it is NATURAL and NORMAL for governmental planning agencies to take Jewish culture into account.

    In America, Jewish organizations have insisted on strong separation between church and state, to prevent the marginalization of Jews. You are trying to apply this approach to Israel, where it is simply irrelevant.

    Please do get a clue.

  • Ben David,

    People are being excluded from a neighborhood because of their beliefs. This is being done with the explicit consent, and in fact the support and efforts of a democratic government.

    There are lots of ways for the private marketplace to ensure something like this happens. But this is not the case here where the government is doing the bidding of one group.

    It’s funny you keep bringing up my being in America as part of your argument. As I note above, this segregation business these religious families seek to create is right outta the manual for how to run a Jewish ghetto.

    There is nothing self-selecting here. There is also definitely nothing NATURAL and NORMAL here. There is something DISGUSTING here. Also, it’s irrelevant who the victim is in this instance. This discussion is not about the oppression of the secular in Israel – that’s a discussion for another day. People should be allowed to live where they wish as long as their finances allow.

  • Wow, tm, issues much? “f they want one, let them buy their own plots of land and build their own neighborhoods.” Um, they did, and now they are getting kicked out to move in a bunch of Palestinians. Next question?

  • Um, they didn’t quite. Go ahead, go back two years and find me a real estate ad that shows a house for sale in a Jewish settlement in Gaza where the price is close to the value being received for it today in compensation. Or go ahead and find me the original pricing on any of the homes in these slow growing communities.

    They were heavily subsidized in their acquisition and construction of homes, not to mention in lives and money relating to the military that protected them.

    They are being “kicked out” because the government has made a strategic and democratic decision that this is the best course of action for the state of Israel, in this area that is considered a territory held under occupation. It is a change of policy, and some of these people will suffer for it. But what does that have to do with keeping out secular Jews or anybody who doesn’t fit their mold? Did they also keep out secular Jews who wanted to move to their community in Gaza? “Yes, secular soldier, feel free to risk your life protecting me, but you can’t move into my neighborhood.”

    They are being treated very well by Israeli standards, and yet nothing seems to be enough. Homes near the ocean? Check. Subsidized lots? Check. Ample compensation for lost homes? Check. New regional authority? Check. Keeping out undesirable others? Check. And on and on and on.

  • When I move to Israel, I would like to leave in a religious community, I want to experience shabbath to the fullest extent. I do not want to see people driving cars on shabbath and Yom Tov. Even in the US people of different ethnicity want to live to with similar people. The secular Jews in Israel have all the country, the observant communities are few, and even those few communities are forces to accommodate non-religious Jews. It reminds me the story of kivsat harash.

  • Uh… how many religious Jews does one find in say any “secula” kibbutz? Forget religious – how about a dude that just wants to keep kosher? Or be shomer shabbat? And if I recall kibbutzes are also nicely subsidized by the government. TM, you really cannot apply North Americn standards to Israel. I mean for chrissakes. It’s a Jewish state! Separation of Church and State? Hello! It doesn’t apply!

  • Yesterday was the Independent Day , where English people came to America in order to be able to be religious without a governmental interference. I think religious people in Israel should have at least the same rights as the puritan settlers.

    The way I see it, you want to drive on Shabbath, is OK but let me have a community where you cannot drive on Shabbath. You want to have sex with a sheep, it is OK but do not do it in my neighborhood.

  • Yes TM, I am saying that it’s desireable and acceptable. If kibbutznikim, who receive govt. subsidies, want to live amongst like minded people, that’s ok with me. I never found that offensive. Similarly, if religious people prefer to live amongst themselves I say go for it. Lamma lo?

  • I’m sorry, but kibutznikkim are closed to religious people who wish to live in their kibbutz?

    Besides, this ain’t a kibbutz, it’s a neighborhood.

  • tm said: “They are being “kicked out” because the government has made a strategic and democratic decision that this is the best course of action for the state of Israel.

    Forty-seven Jewish towns and villages are within the range of Arab missiles that can be fired from anywhere in Gaza once the IDF pulls out.

    So how again is this best for the State of Israel?

  • More Muddled Middling:
    Kibbutznikkim are closed to religious people who wish to live in their kibbutz?
    – – – – – – – – – –
    D’oh!

  • Sorry, there are religious kibbutzim and there are secular kibbutzim, and I haven’t ever seen them expressly keep anybody out or from becoming a member on the basis of their manner of Jewish practice.

    If you work hard and get along with others, you will be accepted as a member. That’s the way it works and has always worked.

    Ideologically, some kibbutzim have roots that reject religious practice, but that does not mean they would or do disallow devout or observant members.

  • Grace, how is Israel better off with civilian targets in Gaza, when all it needs there is the IDF?

  • Look Laya, the kibbutz movement of today is extremely different than that of 80 years ago. But sure, I’d like to see some evidence that Orthodox families are kept out of kibbutzim. If any do, they should not benefit from any government subsidy whatsoever. So…which ones restrict Orthodox Jews?

  • TM, do you know what it takes to be accepted as a kibbutz member, even now a days? I’d love to call some secualr kibbutzim today for you and ask what my chances, as a religious girl who wants to have a kosher house, keep shabbat and ultimately raise a trational jewish family are of becoming a member, but I don’t feel like getting laughed at.

  • Yes Laya, I have direct knowledge. Now, since a kibbutz is a COMMUNE and not a neighborhood, you may find that unless you can convince a majority of members to agree to make the communal kitchen kosher, you will have to keep kosher in your own home. But I’m willing to bet that they’ll let you take shabbat off entirely and raise whatever kind of children you like in the type of household you want.

    Instead of being concerned about being laughed at, why not find an area of the country you like, research which kibbutzim are there, and call a couple to ask what they require of their prospective members and whether a young Orthodox woman would be allowed to live there and apply for membership.

  • One thing about kibbutzim, ck, is that they are open to the quirks of their members and do their best to accomodate them. Laya might not fit in to the culture of most, but they will not keep her out, nor will they prevent her from becoming a member because of her practice.

  • TM, im not ACTUALLY concerned at being laughed at, I was really just pointing out how ridiculous you are being. And yeah, sure, might be able to APPLY to be a member, just like a community college drop out is allowed to APPLY to Harvard, but that don’t mean much. Very secualar people in this country are just as scared of religous folk as the otherway around TM.

  • Laya, instead of telling us what’s going to happen, if you’re not ACTUALLY concerned at them laughing at you, why not make a couple of calls?

    So far in this conversation 4 Orthodox Jews (I’m presuming Grace is Orthodox) are trying to tell me that kibbutzim will ostracize them. You’re all doing it to justify an Orthodox group seeking to keep out secular Jews from their new, government-sponsored and government-subsidized urban neighborhood. Will somebody please provide evidence that I’m wrong already? Please, this is tiresome and I want to be able to apologize for being wrong once I see the proof.

  • Middle – your assertion is so out of whack with Israeli reality, it’s hard to know where to begin.

    I don’t entirely blame you – there are no parallels in American experience for the kibbutz movement, or a goverment with s department and a budget for “development of regional settlements”.

    There are several kibbutz movements, born of fierce ideological battles. The notion that a militantly socialist kibbutz would accept an Orthodox member – that the only problem would be eating kosher – is patently absurd.

    Also inaccurate is the notion that the government is *subsidizing* urban neighborhoods for the religious. The government’s involvement stops at the zoning/planning level: it sells tracts for development to private construction firms and, in suburban areas, to individuals.

    Most importantly: taken together, the neighborhoods and settlements designated as religious make up MAYBE 10 percent of the housing market.

    You’re just way out of touch with the reality here.

  • ok, but your going to have to take my word on it…I just called Sde Boker for you TM, Ben Gurion’s old Kibbutz. I told them I love the Negev and the Zionist dream of making the desert bloom and i really would love to become a member of the kibbutz, but I’m orthodox, will the kibbutz have a problem with that? The woman on the phone said “you mean you want to be a volunteer?” “no, a full fledged memeber” “eehhhhh” she said, “that is more of a problem” But I must to speak with Irit, but Irit unfortnetly isn’t in.

  • Um kids, I know the history of the kibbutz movement quite well, thanks. I continue to assert that an Orthodox Jew would be accepted.

    Laya, good. Now wait until Irit comes in and have a chat with her. Also, why not ask for the mazkir/mazkira directly. I always recommend going right to the top. The nice thing is that so far you haven’t been laughed at…

    Oh, and of course the key questions are: “Would you reject my application to live there or eventually for membership because I’m Orthodox? If I come to live with you and do my best to participate in kibbutz life, to work hard like everybody else and to contribute to the best of my ability, do you think I will be treated like any other applicant to membership?”

  • Oh TM, you’re hilarious. I’ll make a deal with you… I’ll keep running my cell phone bills up by making these calls if you find that place on jewlicious where you admitted you were wrong, remember?

  • Laya, I wish I had the time to find the one time I was wrong. 🙂

    Seriously, buy a calling card and make the calls for less. Or go to a friend’s house and use their phone – tell them this is a life-changing event. What’s a couple of phone calls if the process allows you to prove me wrong and have me admit it? I would think that would be…priceless.

  • Middle, maybe you don’t know, but in addition to Jewlicious, I have a full time job which requires and hour and a half each way commute. When I come home from work I have three other websites that I am in charge of mantainence and content for and am working on a 3,000 word article due Sunday, so forgive me when I tell you, I don’t have much time either. If I find any, I’d prefer to spend it with the people I love in my life whom I never see anymore, or even just eating a meal away from the computer, than on proving something as clear to any Israeli as the fact that Tom Cruise is gay.

  • Oh! So it is ok to call Tom Cruise gay? What if he was Italian?

    I also wanted to make tshuvah and appologize all non-gay italians for calling them gay. What I ve said is not true and although I did take it back right away (in Italian). I thought it would be enough but then I deceided to make full tshuvah.
    And now I see that Italians have a sepcial shirah around just because the majority of them are not scientologists!
    I am making my tshuvah regardless.

  • Laya, I realize you’re busy, but isn’t it worth the effort to get me to say I’m wrong?

    Besides, if it were as plain as day that kibbutzim would discriminate by keeping Orthodox Jews out, would I go on about this? No worries, if I get a chance I’ll call a couple of kibbutzim from here and see if I can learn more.

  • To tell you the awful, horrible truth…I’ve never seen Top Gun. But for some reason, it was the first Tom Cruise movie that came to mind.

    But man, I’m gonna have fun on that site.

  • But you’ve already said it! Or at least thats what you’ve told me, although you never found me any evidence of that.

  • Laya, I didn’t conduct a search. But this still remains a clear opportunity for you to prove me wrong and I’m even encouraging it. Come on, Laya, you know you wanna…

  • I offered you a deal above, I also explained why my time is a little tight above. Let it go, or do your end. Truth be told, don’t feel a need to prove you wrong, I’m secure in the knowledge that you already are 😉

  • Oddly, I am secure in the knowledge you are. And unlike you (and ck, Ben David and Grace) have the seen it first hand…

    To get things back on track, however, while we have a conflict about whether kibbutzim are open to people who practice Judaism differently, we know for a fact that at least one Orthodox community from Gaza has asked that secular Israelis be kept OUT.

  • You know, TM, just for kicks, why don’t you call that Ntzanim community and tell them that you support their cause and their fight, you love that beach, and really want to be a part of ther community. You wont drive through it on shabbat or have a TV or radio playng, out of respect, and you won’t bring in any trief. You however do not happen to be religous, but you are sensitive to thier way of life. See what they say, I’m curious.

  • We already know what they say. Don’t we? I mean, they explicitly asked the government to keep those other Jews out. Do you know the name of the leader of that community and his cell number?

  • well, I can understand wanting to live in a place where the whole community respects such major values in your life as shabbat and kashrut. So I wonder how they would feel about someone who would very much resect those values in order to live within the community even if it doesnt come from a place of faith and he would not be holding that way alone.

    I dont know the fellow or his nuber, but hear you are an expert google-er, maybe you can find it.

  • I’m sure I could get the number if I were able to locate the Israeli government officials who signed off on this plan to disenfranchise people because of their beliefs.

  • Here’s an even better idea TM:

    Call back those Shomer Tzair kibbutzes, and say YOU’RE from Nitzanim, have seen the light, and are looking for a place to land that doesn’t involve oppressing Arabs.

    See how it goes…

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