Religion and State in Israel Weekly E-newsletter

by Maskil on October 17, 2007

Almost everywhere in the Western world, Jews enjoy the benefits of freedom of religion (or even freedom from religion, if they so choose). This is achieved by a (mostly) clear separation between religion and state. The exception? Israel! To quote (out of context) from the latest issue of the newsletter referred to below:

Imagine a country with no legal separation between religion and state, no civil marriage or divorce, and significant funding for only one stream of the majority religion. That country is Israel.

Think of just about any aspect of life in Israel; the Who is a Jew debate, Aliyah from the former-Soviet Union, education, conscription into the IDF, davening at the Western Wall, social welfare, Shmita and the possible destruction of Jewish agriculture in Israel. Think of any of these, and you’ll be thinking of an aspect of life in Israel poisoned by this overly cosy relationship between religion and state.

So, if you’re concerned about the incestuous relationship between Religion (read: Orthodoxy) and State in Israel, please sign up to receive the free “Religion and State in Israel Weekly E-newsletter”. If you were not really aware of this relationship, never considered it a threat, or even if you’re an incurable Haredi-basher, you should also subscribe. If you resent the marginalising of other streams of Judaism (Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform) in Israel, you should definitely subscribe. Lastly, if you strongly believe in a clear separation between church and state in your country (whether Israel, the US or elsewhere) you should subscribe. Even if you think you’re already subscribed to too many newsletters, you should subscribe!

You will receive a concise weekly (no more, no less) HTML e-mail highlighting coverage of events and issues affected by this situation, with links to the original news sources or publications. The newsletter is delivered to you Inbox late Monday/early Tuesday, and each edition is guaranteed to contain at least one issue that will make your blood boil.

My only criticism (actually a suggestion) is that no archive of previous issues of the newsletter exists. Or rather, that no publically accessible archive exists on the Web. This should be a relatively easy exercise to accomplish should the demand warrant it.

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