Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Why Israel needs a civil marriage law, part two.

I've been focusing on economics lately, but the issue of the Chereidiban in Israel under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate is never far from my mind. I received today an "urgent" email from a group who apparently just noticed that the UO in Israel is working diligently to invalidate all non-chereidi/uo conversions and take away the right to make aliyah under the law of return to any converts or "non-observant" Jews (and as regular readers know, "non-observant" means "not uo/chereidi" according to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate).

As most of you know, the law that is currently under consideration would be a big victory for the Chereidi/UO parties. The only way that the right of return, the right to freedom of religious practice, the right to marry and other basic human rights can be upheld in Israel is if the government steps in to make constitution-level documentation guaranteeing those rights and taking the power over civil issues such as aliyah and marriage away from the Chereidiban authorities.

YNet News Online
Turning into theocracy
No other democracy forces religious identity on citizens in order to wed
by: Yair Rotkovich
Published: 03.09.10, 18:17 / Israel Opinion
[hat tip: Failed Messiah]

“The marriage and divorce of Jews in Israel shall be premised on Torah laws,” Israel’s existing legislation stipulates. The moment the new civil marriage bill, which is seemingly meant to enable “Israelis without religion” to “wed” in Israel, will be passed, our laws will receive new religious backwind.

From now on, religious monitoring will not only be imposed on “whole” Jews, but also on “half Jews” – that is, citizens who only have a Jewish father and who constitute most “Israelis without religion” in this country. (Notably, these people are Jewish just like anybody else according to logic, decency, and also based on the Law of Return.)

And so an “Israeli without religion” who falls in love with a “whole Jew” will not be recorded in the marriage registry, in order to prevent assimilation, as the rabbis refer to it. The registration would be allowed only when both partners are “without religion” and only after receiving rabbinical confirmation (!) of this status.

What we have here is a cynical move created by the haredi sect: The Jewish State will be absurdly asking some of its citizens – who view themselves as Jewish and who moved to Israel based on this – to deny their personal Jewish identity only in order to allow them to be recorded in the marriage registry...

...This dam will be padded by another layer of cynicism and regulation, as well as humiliation robbing more Jews of what they view as their Jewish identity.

The cohesion of the Jews in Israel is being undermined again, because the State chooses to entrench its Jewish identity only based on a haredi anchor while distancing from the roots of Judaism, which are about flexibility and tolerance...

...The only advantage of this law is that it does not undermine the status of common law couples, yet this makes the legislation needless because at this time already Israelis “without religion” can apply this status without the humiliation and denial of their identity, and without the permission of the Rabbinate, which rejected their Jewishness to begin with.

And so, the process of Orthodox takeover in Israel has made another legal gain, this time in the name of seemingly civil marriages...

...There is no democracy in the world where State laws force a religious identity on people in order for them to get married. This wholly contradicts a basic human right, as manifested in the human right declarations of France, the United States, and the United Nations.

Without a constitution that includes this fundamental element, a state cannot refer to itself as “democratic.” And so, Israel is again defining itself not as a democracy, but rather, as a theocracy.

And that's just the way the Chief Rabbinate wants it. Let's be clear on this, class. The Chereidiban are not interested in basic human rights for anyone. They are interested in an imaginary racial purity that has never existed historically and doesn't exist now, not even in their own households - no matter how much they claim otherwise. And they are interested in forcing everyone to accept a Judaism that is also itself neither historically nor halachically authentic - imposing stringencies which their own parents and grandparents never practiced much less held as binding upon all Jews.

Nor has any previous generation excluded converts from being able to marry like this Rabbinate intends to do. As we have also seen in other posts, someone who cannot provide Chereidi/UO documents isn't really a convert, either. Though it is a blatant and obvious violation of halacha to even remind a convert of their former status, the Chief Rabbinate not only does so but gleefully annuls conversions of those who commit the heinous sin of living a modern lifestyle and accepting modern scientific education for themselves and their children. As was recently mentioned at Orthonomics, a ger must now promise to the bet din of their conversion to only send their children to Chereidi/UO private schools or their conversion is denied. What do you want to bet those children who have not attended such schools will, when adults, not be permitted to marry "real" Jews if they make aliyah?

See also:
Ha'aretz Online
Last update - 10:17 07/03/2010
New bill would make conversion insufficient for Israeli citizenship
By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondent

By controlling marriages the Chief Rabbinate practices religious terrorism no different from that of the Muslim Arabs, let's make no mistake - and now they're making their move to control aliyah, too. That they intend more terrorism is plain. They practice it, they enjoy it, they revel in their power, and they have no intention of recognizing a basic human right to marriage or a basic freedom of religious practice for non-Chereidi/UO Jews (or for Chereidi/UO Jews either, for that matter). It is imperialistic powermongering - and like all imperialism, it's really about money and power and has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage or Judaism.


Orthonomics said...

The GPS allows for any day school under Orthodox leadership I believe, not just Yeshiva/Bais Yaacov schools. My friends just adopted an infant that needed converted and the list included one school that even surprised me.

Nonetheless, it is a huge pricetag that many simply won't be able to meet.

Ahavah Gayle said...

I'm glad to hear it's not so bad in some places, but I'm afraid the RCA is way too far "in bed" with the Chief Rabbinate and those such as Tropper (though disgraced here he seems to still be welcome in Israel and still be supported by top elements at the Chief Rabbinate) - those at the top in Israel who set the tone for the RCA and who intend to impose standards that intelligent, educated people will be loathe to accept. The RCA has been quite spineless in the face of these thugs so far, and I don't see any sign they intend to push for the right modern orthodox practice. Those Rabbis approved by the Chief Rabbinate thus far for conversions, for example, reject scientific knowledge and modern practice and the RCA appears cowed by them into submission. There are no modern orthodox Rabbis on the Chief Rabbinate's "approved" list for conversions or certifications of status for those making aliyah, whether convert or not. American Jews seem unconcerned, but they should be.