Lend your name to advance Jewish
inclusiveness and diversity in Israel
Join us in signing the “Jewish Leadership Statement on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Israel’s Chief Rabbinate” saying YES to Jewish diversity and inclusiveness in Israel, and NO to a coercive and exclusionary Chief Rabbinate!
Following Hiddush's Jewish Unity Statement, Rabbi Uri Regev has joined with leading colleagues of other Jewish streams to launch this Jewish Statement on Inclusiveness.
This statement is a response to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's recently divulged "blacklist" of rabbis of all denominations, including leading figures in the Modern Orthodox community.
Israeli Modern Orthodox rabbis speak up
in support of Jewish pluralism
Click HERE for video
This video from the Modern Orthodox 'Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah' movement is an important visual document, attesting to the rising trend within modern orthodoxy to speak up in support of a more pluralistic outlook in general, and regarding governmental policies in Israel in particular.
Hiddush has referred to this trend in the past. It was measured in the Hiddush 2016 Israel Religion & State Index where we created an expanded sample of Zionist Orthodox respondents. This revealed the existence of a segment within Modern Orthodoxy, which indeed holds views closer to other non-Orthodox segments of the Israeli Jewish population, which uphold the virtue of religious diversity and mutual respect.
This is also paralleled by a growing Modern Orthodox voice in Diaspora Jewish communities, particularly in the USA. This is evidenced, for instance, in the key role that organizational advocacy and rabbinic leaders in North America are playing in the pursuit of marriage freedom in Israel - for instance: The "Jewish Religious Equality Coalition" initiative launched by the American Jewish Congress, in which Hiddush plays an active part.
Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay:
Israel should recognize Reform conversions
Newly elected Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay has come out strongly in favor of religious freedom on issues ranging from education, to public transportation on Shabbat, and to marriage & divorce, as we reported last week [link]. More recently, he's expressed support for the official state recognition of Reform conversions.
Avi Gabbay's aim seems to be for the Labor Party pursue these issues differently than the party has in recent years. Of course, counter-voices have arisen against Gabbay, and explicit pressure has come in from the ultra-Orthodox political parties. Just this week, Gabbay met with United Torah Judaism Chairman Health Minister Yaakov Litzman who peppered him with challenges on his positions on religion and state matters.
Hiddush polling consistently shows that the overwhelming majority of Labor / Zionist Union voters support all aspects of religious freedom and equality in Israel. In the upcoming 2017 Israel Religion & State Index, Hiddush will measure whether political support and commitment by the Labor Party for religious freedom and equality will strengthen, weaken, or make no difference in terms of the likely continued support for the party. Stay tuned for this indicator.
As Hiddush has reported in the past [link], Israel's left and center parties have been pursuing a policy of avoiding any confrontation with ultra-Orthodox parties while directing all their fire at the settlers. This is so even as the ultra-Orthodox channel huge sums to seminaries for married men, which encourages them to remain outside the workforce, and to educational institutions in which children don’t learn core subjects such as mathematics and English. This is so even as they say awful things about Reform Movement Jews. This is so even when these parties have the exclusion of women at the center of their worldview.
The policy of disengagement from issues of state and religion, espoused by Labor, Meretz and Yesh Atid, is totally opposed to the position of their voters. Hiddush's Israel Religion & State Index in 2015 showed that 100 percent of Meretz voters, 87 percent of Zionist Union voters and 85 percent of Yesh Atid voters believe that all types of marriage should be recognized, including civil, Reform and Conservative. In addition, 86 percent of Zionist Union voters, 83 percent of Yesh Atid voters and 95 percent of Meretz voters said that they prefer a government without the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Hiddush will be reaching out to Gabbay to further discuss these issues, but it should be pointed out that repeated studies have indicated the correlation between fervent religious views and the political right (most recently in the Pew study of Israel religious views, in which most respondents who defined themselves as religious also supported the statement that Israeli Arabs should be expelled from Israel [link])
In recent years, communications between the Haredi parties and Labor were mostly used in order to jack up the Haredi parties' political demands to Likud, not as a sincere expression of willingness to join with the Left in implementing its peace and territorial policies. Therefore - it is clear to us that a strong and assertive position on the part of Gabbay on issues of religious freedom will not only better meet the preferences of his constituency and that of the majority of the Israeli public, but it would also reflect a mature and long overdue realization on the part of Labor that the Haredi parties of today are not likely to return to the long-gone partnership with the Left.
Hiddush in the Media