the traveler's Blog

the traveler

the traveler
Columbia, Maryland, USA
November 03
VP of everything
I am an avid photographer and traveler living in the Washington DC area. My photo is obviously not me, because I am a white male and not a monk, and is one of my favorite pictures from a trip to Myanmar.


MAY 30, 2012 10:25AM

News about Israel - May 20, 2012

Rate: 4 Flag

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.








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israel, politics, arabs, palestinian

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Very interesting information, Trav. I am much heartened, in fact. Thank you for giving it an audience it might not otherwise have had.

This information isn't particularly unique or singular. Israel is an open, vital society with a full range of events and occurrences; it's just that OS readers have a narrow view of it that is perpetrated by just a few people here.

It allows dissent, it allows diverging viewpoints - and yet most OSers know nothing but the vile pap they are fed here by no nothings.
I can't think of anything to say that isn't totally snarky. I guess there are so few comments because ... people are busy today? That must be it.

The rabbi specifics are new to me and the the details of the rest of it but I'm not surprised. In the interest of civility I'll leave it at that.
@nerd cred,

thanks for the civility.
I'm glad to hear both. I'm actually terrifically glad about the Reform and Conservative rabbis. That is way more significant than it looks. That could, in the long run, shift some power relationships in Israel, as the Orthodox are mainly a force for political conservativism while the other two branches are emphaticaly not. This could also result in a reduced secularism in Israel, which might sound like bad news but actually isn't, because the Reform movement in particular is heavily oriented toward social justice.