We survived the three weeks but are not out the hot water.

Israel continues to finance Hamas’s deposed Prime-minister. Polluted beaches keep swimmers out of the Kinneret. Divisive religious and political issues continue, denying domestic harmony to couples that want to marry. Tony Blair has been appointed as a Mid-East Peace broker. Syria occupies over one hundred square miles of Lebanon, but no-one cares. Hizbullah has rearmed with serious missiles. Hamastan continues to fire rockets into Israeli homes. Bets are on Hamas to take over the West Bank too, meaning that all the money and arms that have been shipped to Fatah in the West Bank will fall into the hands of Hamas — just like the armaments in Gaza did. The Union for Reform Judaism and others are against a bill in Knesset that would keep JNF-KKL lands for the Jewish people (more on that soon).

However there is good news on the horizon, it seems: American Pension Funds pressure Oil Companies on Iran links, The USA says it is actiging against groups aiding Hizbullah, and a new book predicts that Israel will, against all odds, survive.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • Do you think ‘the state’ has an interest in marriage? I always wonder this. If the answer is no then you have to arrive at the conclusion that marriage only serves a religious function and therefore should be up to the leaders of the particular faith. If not, and people want to contractually join, let them contractually join. I don’t know Israeli law well enough, but if I drew up a contract in NJ that shared half of the operating expenses and equity of my home, shared half the contents of my bank account (both something I would never do…) it would be unenforceable. All without the need for loaded terminology and lots of arguments.

    I find it hard to imagine some left minded person hasn’t made templates like this available to the good non-religious people of Israel – they have here in NJ.

    Oh and I also wonder how I would ever prove I was Jewish. I have a copy of my naming certificate and a bunch of other papers, but so may of them could be forged in a heart beat. I guess as an American knowing Hebrew and paying annual dues might count…HAHAHA

  • nathan – there is more to being married in the eyes of the government than shared money, in the US but also in Israel, as far as I know. There are rights that spouses get, rights of the children, etc.

  • Even American Jews can and have been subjected to extremely rigorous tests to see if they can prove they are Jewish.

    While in theory having the Rabbinical courts oversee everything might be good – its not working. Not even close.

    Religious courts might need to become divorced from the civic society for their to be peace between secular and religious Jews, and Jews of various lineage and backgrounds.

  • Thank God there are almost 200 different countries in the world. The countries are very diverse based on every criteria from social and political insitutions, to education, food, culture.

    Israel is the only Jewish country and institutions should be run in compliance with Judaism. Israel’s differences helps contribute to the overall diversity of the world.

    One question certainly needs a lot of thought: Should Israel remain a Jewish country? And if so what does that mean?

    Just as Jews of long ago and of today make sacrifices, which keeps them Jewish, so Israel has to do difficult things. I feel terrible that some people can’t prove their Jewishness and can’t marry a Jew in Israel. It really feel for them. Yet, I also understand that that bearing that pain and dealing with those issues are necessary if we wish to behave according to Judaism.

    Why can’t those people go through a process where they learn about Judaism to the point that they will be converted by a Jewish Court?

  • Adam-

    -I agree with most of what you said.

    -“Why can’t those people go through a process where they learn about Judaism to the point that they will be converted by a Jewish Court?”

    Because to convert it’s not enough to ‘learn.’ You actually have to commit to living according to the Torah (following the mitzvoth), and most of these people are not willing to do that. Even for those that are the technical process of conversion in the Israeli bureaucracy is enough of an obstacle to scare many away (and I’m NOT referring to the halachically necessary difficulties, like being turned away several times, a certain amount of time/practice keeping mitzvoth, etc.).

  • Yonah – I sure hope you aren’t promoting apartheid in mentioning the URJ’s correct decision (I tend to strongly disagree w/ them as liberalism is not Judaism) in speaking out against limiting land sales to Jews. Imagine not being able to buy land in America, a Christian country (don’t believe me? Why is Christmas a national holiday but not Yom Kippur or the end of Ramadan?) or a house in California because you aren’t Christian. Wrong? Well, also wrong in Israel when non-Jews can’t buy land. (And don’t lecture me, I live in Israel, I want a Jewish demographic majority, but I’m not willing to accept this by discriminatory policies that violate int’l law. Israel is unjustly criticized enough, don’t give Israel’s critics legitimate reasons to complain!)