Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Christianity Today: Christian educators in Israel say their 48 high-achieving primary and secondary schools may be forced to close due to funding discrimination by the state’s Ministry of Education.
Religion News Service: At least four worshipers, three of them U.S.-born, were killed in an attack on a west Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday (Nov. 18) by two Palestinians wielding a gun, an ax and a meat cleaver, police said.
Public Discourse: Debates about Israel and Palestine often assume a historical narrative that is at odds with historical realities.
JTA: A new study shows that the majority of Israeli electorate remains unhappy with the amount of religious influence on Israeli life and law.
The Christian Institute: A number of politicians, including Faith Minister Eric Pickles, have criticised the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in the UK.
The Christian Post: Pew Research Center recently found that Americans, overall, see Hamas as more to blame than Israel for the current violences. This is true across demographics—except for those between the ages of 18 and 29.
Christianity Today: ‘Jesus is garbage’ graffiti, threat to kill bishop expose anti-Christian sentiment just as Israel prepares to host Pope Francis.
Religion Clause: “Haaretz reports that an Israeli Magistrate’s Court in the city of Ashkelon last week acquitted two individuals who had been charged with criminal negligence in connection with the Jewish ritual circumcision of a baby boy. One of those charged was a well known mohel with many years of experience, and the other was a student from overseas learning from him. They jointly performed a circumcision in which a baby boy suffered excessive bleeding, but no lasting harm.”
Berger, Benjamin L., The Virtues of Law in the Politics of Religious Freedom (2013). Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 29, No. 3, 2014, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2409224
The moral force and capacity for inspiration of both religion and politics alike arise in part from the sense that they authentically map the world as we find it, yielding claims about how it should be. This paper asks what role we might imagine for law in this “hyper-real” world of religion and politics, arguing that law can display distinctive virtues linked to its capacity for strategic agnosticism about the real. Applying Sunstein’s idea of “incompletely theorized agreements” to the politics of religious freedom, the paper examines the role of law as a tool of adhesion in two very different constitutional settings – Canada and Israel – and argues for modesty as a functional virtue in law and legal process. Viewed in this way, law draws its worth from its tolerance for ambiguity, its sub-theoretical nature, and its pragmatic proceduralism, seeking to sustain political community in the presence of normative diversity, rather than speaking truth to difference.
Times of Israel: “A controversial law levying criminal penalties on yeshiva students who dodge IDF service passed the Knesset Wednesday morning with near unanimous support.”
Permissive Constitutions, Democracy, and Religious Freedom in India, Indonesia, Israel, and Turkey | World Politics
Lerner, Hanna, Permissive Constitutions, Democracy, and Religious Freedom in India, Indonesia, Israel, and Turkey (October 1, 2013). World Politics, Volume 65, Issue 4 (October 2013), pp. 609-655 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2404925
Associated Press: “Arab foreign ministers on Sunday rejected Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state, saying such a move would undermine the rights of Palestinian refugees.”
Times of Israel: “Jerusalem’s grand mufti on Sunday accused the Jerusalem Municipality of advancing legislation which would require mosques to lower the volume on loudspeakers as they call the faithful to pre-dawn prayers, and said only Muslims had the right to decide on such matters.”
Haaretz: “The Knesset on Monday approved a controversial law, whose ultimate aim, according to its sponsor, is to distinguish between Muslim and Christian Arab citizens and to heighten involvement of Christians in Israeli society.”
Times of Israel: “The billboard is an advertisement for Efrat, an anti-abortion outfit that dubs itself ‘The Committee to Rescue Israel’s Babies’ and offers financial support to pregnant women in an effort to persuade them not to terminate their pregnancies.”
Jerusalem Post: “The High Court of Justice issued an interim injunction against the state on Tuesday, prohibiting it from transferring money to yeshivas for approximately 3,000 students due to the payments’ lack of legal standing.”
Haaretz: “A widely touted plan to employ more Arab teachers in Jewish schools apparently has one limitation: The Education Ministry does not intend to employ Arab teachers in religious Jewish schools.”
The Times of Israel: “Several dozen surrogate babies born, or about to be born, in Thailand — through the arrangements of Israeli couples — are unable to come to Israel because the Interior Ministry has not granted Israeli citizenship to the infants, according to an advocacy group formed around the issue.”
BuzzFeed: Congressional conservatives are split on the new Israeli policy that allows the government pay for abortions for women between the ages of 20–33, with many quiet, but others critical. “The truth is it’s something that breaks my heart,” Rep. Trent Franks says.
Fox News: As Christians from across the globe flock to the Holy Land in time for Christmas prayers and ceremonies, some in the community in Nazareth are seeking to reaffirm the historical importance of their town by erecting a statue of Jesus that would tower more than 100 feet above the city.
Israel’s Supreme Court Issues Temporary Stay Of Rabbinical Court’s Order Requiring Boy’s Circumcision
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, last month Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Court upheld a lower court’s $140 per day fine imposed on a woman who is refusing to have her one-year old son circumcised.
AP: For decades, the religious Jews who bucked a rabbinic ban and visited a contested holy site in Jerusalem where the ancient Jewish temple once stood were seen by many as a fanatic fringe.
Haaretz: Bill returned to ministerial committee for re-vote after its rejection last week; Haaretz poll: 48 MKs would support bill on gay rights.
Aaron Klein at World Net Daily: The reports of stepped-up activism to ensure non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount comes as the Obama administrations continues to quietly push a plan in which the Palestinian Authority and Jordan will receive sovereignty over the holy site.
LA Times: Despite fierce opposition from conservative and religious lawmakers, Israel’s parliament is considering legislation to grant gay couples equality in tax benefits.
Washington Post: A small but growing movement by Jewish activists demanding the right to pray at the site of their destroyed temple, in the heart of this disputed capital’s Old City, is creating a potentially explosive clash with the Muslim world, which considers the spot holy and bans Jews from public worship there.
Religion Clause Blog: Haaretz and Failed Messiah report that in Israel, the Supreme Rabbinical Court on Sunday denied an appeal from an Oct. 29 decision of the Netanya Rabbinical Court (see Jewish Press, Nov. 7) imposing a fine of NIS 500 ($140 US) per day on a woman who is refusing to have her one-year old son circumcised.
Jerusalem Post: The top Jordanian government official responsible for the custodianship of religious holy sites in Jerusalem is quoted in local press on Tuesday as saying that he is “adamantly opposed” to any Jewish worship atop the Temple Mount.
Haaretz: There are three bills on Knesset members’ desks that aim to extend the eligibility for civil unions beyond couples who claim to have no religion. Two of them are egalitarian proposals, giving the civil union option to any interested couple: the civil union bill initiated by Yesh Atid, and the proposal the Justice Ministry issued Sunday called the “Joint Living Law.” A third proposal would allow civil unions only for gays, while other voices within the coalition and outside it would specifically exclude same-sex couples from eligibility for civil unions. These last two approaches are unacceptable
Haaretz: Arab and right-wing Jewish MKs clashed during an Interior Committee hearing, exchanging insults such as ‘savages’ and ‘pyromaniacs.’
Jerusalem Post: Thirteen Jewish worshipers were detained and questioned by police at the Temple Mount Monday morning following two separate incidents of civil disobedience.
Jerusalem Post: About one out of 10 known pregnancies end in an abortion initiated by the woman or both parents — a decline from 15.2 percent in 1988, according to a new Central Bureau of Statistics report covering terminations of pregnancy in 2011. Fully 10 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49 applied for a termination of pregnancy.
AP: Palestinian residents of as West Bank village say masked Jewish settlers torched three cars and defaced a mosque during an overnight attack.
AP: Christian leaders in Israel are up in arms over what they say is a string of relentless attacks on church properties and religious sites – most recently the desecration of a historic Protestant cemetery where vandals toppled stone crosses from graves and bludgeoned them to pieces.
AP: The Cairo-based Arab League has condemned remarks by the Czech president about moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling them a violation of Palestinian rights and international resolutions.
AP: In a non-binding resolution this week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said circumcision was “a violation of the physical integrity of children.”
Christian Science Monitor: But in recent years, religious Jews are increasingly asserting their right to be here and are pushing for Israel to claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Their effort is testing the resolve of the Israeli government and the patience of 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. At stake are freedom of worship and the future of the most contested sacred space in the world.
Rod Dreher at The American Conservative: As you know, I have been strenuously arguing against American entry into Syria’s civil war on behalf of the rebels, in part — in part — because a rebel victory would almost certainly mean genocide for Syria’s ancient and large Christian community, at the hands of victorious Islamists. I would be against military intervention even if there were no Christians involved, but the fact that there are millions of Christians whose lives and culture are at stake in this conflict gives added impetus to me, as a Christian, to prevent America taking sides in this civil war.
Israel National News: Security forces were prepared for a riot as this incident follows renewed incitement by Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah, who called for Muslims to physically prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount last week.
Jewish Daily Forward: The struggle for women to pray as they see fit at the Western Wall will be the focus of High Holy Day sermons at congregations across the United States, as part of an organized campaign to galvanize support for greater religious tolerance in Israel.
NY Times: Trying to calm months of intense wrangling over the Western Wall, Israeli officials on Sunday unveiled a new plaza where men and women can pray together. But the move was immediately denounced as discriminatory by the main group that has protested the rules at the holy site.
JTA: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian journalists that no Israelis, civilians or soldiers, will remain in a future Palestinian state.
Catholic Culture: Israel’s deputy foreign minister has denied reports that his government is prepared to recognize the Vatican’s claim to ownership of the building that houses the site of the Last Supper. The same building in Jerusalem is revered by Jews as the site of King David’s tomb.
Religion Clause Blog: Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the municipality of Tel Aviv must enforce the Saturday Sabbath closing laws against two supermarket chains.
The Jewish Press: Police hauling religious youths into Jerusalem court in 2011. “The judge’s decision today asserts that there is no prohibition against praying on the Temple Mount,” said Attorney Ben-Gvir, “and that it is the police who are acting against the law when they prevent Jews from praying.”
Religion Clause Blog: In Israel, government-appointed judges of rabbinical courts have jurisdiction over issues of Jewish marriage and divorce in the country. The rabbinical court judges are chosen by the Selection Committee for Rabbinical Judges.
Haaretz: Israel Police are investigating threats to hurt the rabbi in charge of Jerusalem’s Western Wall if he does not allow a Jewish women’s prayer group equal worship rights at the holy site, a police spokesman said on Monday.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Israeli law apparently already bans “crudely offensive” actions towards a religion or religionists; the bill would remove “crudely” and give specific examples of what is covered, “such as the drawing of the Prophet Muhammad.”
Wall Street Journal: The IRS has admitted targeting groups that wanted to speak on issues during the 2012 election season. But did the agency also target tax-exempt groups that opposed Administration policy priorities?
AP: Israeli police say vandals have spray-panted slogans on the home of one of the leaders of a liberal Jewish women’s group that has angered ultra-Orthodox communities over its demands for equality of worship.
CNSNews: Two months after the Obama administration released $250 million in aid to Egypt in what Secretary of State John Kerry called “a good-faith effort to spur reform,” the country is witnessing a surge of anti-Israel sentiment, much of it stoked by the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
Religion Clause Blog: In Israel today, Women of the Wall held their first prayer session since a court decision (see prior posting) vindicating their right to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall wearing prayer shawls (traditionally worn only by men).
The Times of Israel: Jews are currently permitted to ascend to the volatile holy site, but police forbid them from worshiping there.
Washington Times: Gaza “modesty police” are out in full force, and have arrested more than 40 in April alone, driving fears that Hamas-inspired Islamic fundamentalism is taking over the region.
Washington Post: Women who want to wear prayer shawls while praying in the women’s section of the Western Wall are not breaking the law, according to a landmark decision handed down Thursday (April 25) by the Jerusalem District Court.
AP: Palestinians in this Christian village are hoping the new pope can succeed where others have failed – pressing Israel to drop plans to build a stretch of its West Bank separation barrier through their picturesque valley.
The Guardian: Natan Sharansky calls for plaza to include area for mixed public, while retaining the segregated sections for orthodox worshippers
Eugene Kontorovich at Volokh Conspiracy: I have put up a new working paper on SSRN, entitled Jurisdiction Over Israeli Settlement Activity in the International Criminal Court . . . In the wake of the U.N. General Assembly’s recent recognition of Palestinian statehood, the Palestinian government has made clear its intention to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), where it could challenge the legality of Israeli settlements. This Article explores the previously unexamined jurisdictional hurdles for such a case.
Religion Clause Blog: A New York Jewish Week article today speculates that dramatic changes in the relationship of religion and government could be in the offing in Israel as Benjamin Netanyahu moves to form a coalition government that may exclude the haredi (strictly Orthodox) Shas and United Torah Judaism parties
Washington Times: Designated terrorist group Hamas has warned President Obama against visiting the holy Temple Mount site in Jerusalem when he visits Israel next month, saying the action would be “a diplomatic catastrophe.”
AP: Police questioned 30 people on Tuesday and searched the homes of six employees of a private fertility clinic who are suspected of illegally trafficking human eggs and selling them to Israeli couples with fertility problems.
Religion Clause Blog: In Israel, the ongoing struggle over Jewish women’s rights to egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem continues. The New York Times and the Jerusalem Post report that earlier today ten women were detained by police after the women prayed there wearing the type of prayer shawls (tallitot) traditionally worn by men.
Haaretz: In interview with Al-Ahram on eve of Islamic Summit Conference in Cairo, Iranian president also says his country opposes outside intervention in Syria.
Israel National News: The United Nations says Israel must withdraw all of its citizens from the regions of Judea and Samaria. The recommendation came in a report issued Thursday by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which has a history of passing numerous biased resolutions condemning Israel for various alleged ‘crimes’ each year.
LifeSiteNews: Israel’s two chief rabbis have again issued a letter to all synagogue and community rabbis urging them to condemn abortion and to support the work of Efrat, the country’s pro-life organization.
Jerusalem Post: Activists set to demonstrate against Jerusalem Conference for awarding a prize to Efrat, an anti-abortion organization.