A New Day In Israeli Politics?

I am a political junkie.  My drug is not domestic, as I prefer to feed my addiction with Israeli politics.  This current round of elections has provided me with a particularly potent dose and it’s one that’s never been concocted before.  Simply put, what’s happening now is unprecedented.

Israeli coalition politics has always been a particularly rarefied specimen of the art of compromise.  No party ever accumulates sufficient seats to form a government.  This always makes the search for bedfellows as interesting as the elections themselves.  It also explains the general weirdness that often ensues once they’ve all piled into bed together. Continue reading

Crime Wave At The Western Wall

I just returned from Jerusalem to news about the latest round of arrests of Jewish women for the crime of wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) and organizing a women’s prayer service at the Western Wall.

I have written before about my antipathy for that place. In my past two visits I haven’t even bothered descending the steps to go see it. This latest appalling arrest is a great example of everything that’s wrong about the site. Continue reading

Shas Demeans Russian Jews

For those who say that I have spent too much time here on Haredim, I say, “How can you blame me when they give me such good material?”

Just as a bit of background, Israelis are not subject to endless election ads on radio and television because the government allocates chunks of time and what you get is all you get. The ads are also subject to review for racism, incitement and so forth. Continue reading

More Drivel From The Great Rav Ovadiah

Rav Ovadiah Yosef, spiritual leader of world Sephardic Jewry, just attacked one of the major bastions of Israeli democracy.  He has labeled the Israeli courts “a court of gentiles.”  That, apparently, is a very bad thing when you are a loyal Torah Jew like his holiness.

FailedMessiah.com (from Haaretz which has a big ol’ paywall) relates what happened when Yosef was asked about Israeli judges who are Orthodox Jews: Continue reading

Haredim Vandalize Ancient Synagogue. Really.

You might think that one place safe from the vitriolic attacks of Haredi fanatics would be an ancient synagogue.  From Ynet:

In another case of vandalism at one of Israel‘s antiquities sites, the mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue in Hamat Tverya National Park was discovered Tuesday morning to have been badly – and intentionally – damaged.

Workers at Hamat Tverya arrived Tuesday morning to discover that vandals had broken in overnight and cracked and spray-painted the floor of the oldest Byzantine-era synagogue in Israel.

The graffiti indicated that it was an act of revenge by a known group of Haredi zealots.  It is in retaliation for archeological digs that have dug up supposedly Jewish graves.  One said, “One site for every grave.”  Another named the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority as the target.

I may be an atheist, but my connection to Judaism is our cultural heritage, much of which includes religious art and architecture.  The pictures are just heartbreaking.