Two very interesting things happened in Israel this week, both reported in Israeli media and not much outside.
First, the State has agreed to recognize and pay, because Rabbis are state employees, Conservative and Reform rabbis, this breaking the lock that Orthodox rabbis have had on influence in the government. Since the vast proportion of the inhabitants citizens are not Orthodox Jews and a significant percentage are, in fact, not even Jews but Muslims and Christians, this is an important step in the liberalization of Israel.
The number of synagogues, mosques and churches is not clear or exact but there are at least 15 functioning mosques and 20 functioning churches.
One of these newly recognized Reform rabbis is a female. The Women’s Equal Rights Law of 1951 guarantees the equal treatment of men and women, but it is not uncommon that the long-running conflict between religion and state stand in the way of legally established principles of Gender equality.
The second, much more interesting event took place on the grounds of Tel Aviv University where Israeli Arab students held a university-approved memorial for the Nakba, the flight of Arabs from Israel.
".. seven decades later, Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin are choosing to commemorate their national catastrophe – what they call "the Nakba" - in the Zionist nation's public sphere. Last week, some 400 students at Tel Aviv University marked the day, which coincides with the date on the Gregorian calendar in which Israel achieved statehood, in an approved on-campus demonstration. At the deepest level, this is a clear sign of accepting the consequences of the nakba. By choosing a place like a public Israeli university, the Tel Aviv University, as the venue for a Nakba Day ceremony, Arab students – even if unconsciously - are admitting they accept that the former Palestinian village of Sheikh Munis has turned into a north Tel Aviv suburb, Ramat Aviv. "
This report assumes some facts that are part of the consciousness in Israel, but might be surprising to the readers of OS.
- There are many Arab students going to universities in Israel.
- Arab students can protest, and speak their mind in public demonstrations
- The university not only allows but actually supports their efforts to keep their community memories alive - much to the irritation of some Israeli politician.
I encourage thereaders of this post to have a look at the website of Ha'Aretz, a publication that encourages a wide range of opinion from vehemently anti-government to just mildly critical.
A reminder, this is a no-abuse zone. Posts that are abusive of either me or another commenter will be summarily erased.
If you can't stay on topic, you'll be gone, so take your medications and concentrate on being an adult, at least here.