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Lend your name to RUACH HIDDUSH's protest against the treatment of Rabbi Dubi Haiyun by clicking HERE!

Protest letter
from Ruach Hiddush

August 2, 2018
21 Av 5778

At every Jewish wedding seven blessings are recited wishing the couple success in building a Jewish life and home together. The last of these blessings includes the hope that the couple will enjoy a life of love and companionship, peace and friendship.

We in Ruach Hiddush, an organization of over 350 Rabbis and Cantors of all denominations, and those who share our concerns are wondering what role love, companionship, peace, and friendship is playing in the issue of marriage in our beloved State of Israel.

We who stand with Ruach Hiddush as well as our members are particularly concerned about the recent detention and interrogation of Rabbi Dov Haiyun, a Conservative-Masorti rabbi, for violating a law that prohibits the performance of a marriage outside the purview of the Chief Rabbinate. We are shocked that Rabbi Haiyun was targeted for violation of this law since it is a well known fact that many Israeli Orthodox rabbis have performed weddings outside of the Chief Rabbinate’s orbit without having this law applied to them.

The law itself appears to be contrary to Israel’s Declaration of Independence which guarantees that Israel’s citizens are entitled to “…complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture….” Indeed, in a 2017 Hiddush poll, Israeli Jews and Arabs, who presently may be married only by their respective religious authorities, were asked if they agreed with the statement, “Every resident of Israel has the right to get married in Israel with whomever he chooses, in whatever way he chooses, and according to his beliefs.” The majority of Israeli Jews and Arabs responded in the affirmative.

The new reality created by Rabbi Haiyun’s detention and interrogation is of deep concern to us because we are firm supporters and lovers of Israel and we believe that the arrest and interrogation of Rabbi Haiyun is antithetical to the Declaration of Independence upon which the modern State of Israel was founded.

We are also extremely worried about the negative effect religious inequality and coercion has in distancing many Israelis from Judaism and many Diaspora Jews from Israel.

In view of this, we the undersigned protest against the treatment of Rabbi Haiyun and against the religious coercion in Israel allowed by state support of a single vision of Judaism controlled primarily by the Chief Rabbinate and its Haredi supporters.

Click HERE to sign!


Hiddush blocks Chief Rabbi's conflict of interest

This week, Hiddush received a statement from the Office of the Attorney General, confirming that our request had been received and that detailed instructions had been given to the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, regarding the official restrictions imposed upon him in his handling of kashrut issues due to a conflict of interest.

Given that one of the largest kashrut businesses in Israel is owned by the family of Chief Rabbi Yosef [The Badatz Beit Yosef], it is hard to believe that to this day neither the authorities nor Chief Rabbi Yosef have felt a need to prepare a conflict of interests arrangement. Chief Rabbi Yosef is the highest ranking kashrut supervisor in Israel, and his decisions and policies have far-reaching implications for the economic interests of his family's business, which is operated by his brother.

Hiddush appealed to the Attorney General several months ago, and just this week, two days after Chief Rabbi Yosef took office as head of the Chief Rabbinate Council [In the middle of the term of office, the two Chief Rabbis switch between two roles: President of the Supreme Court of Appeals and Head of the Chief Rabbinate Council], this opinion was given and the guidelines to bind the Chief Rabbi were set. The document is long and detailed. It basically prohibits the Chief Rabbi from dealing with any subject that has ramifications for Beit Yosef or private rabbinic courts that certify kashrut in general, with the exception of marginal and relatively unimportant matters. Legal mechanisms were established and a special committee was set up to supervise activities on kashrut matters in order to ensure that they would not be tainted by conflicts of interest.


Unlike the Government - Israelis support religious freedom and equality

This week, two important events occurred in Israel, and Hiddush provided special public opinion polling and analysis on the core issues that arose:

#1. The Supreme Court told the Agudath Israel party (an ultra-Orthodox political party) that it needs to allow women to run on its slate as candidates for national and local elections. The court gave the party until September 2 to resolve its position with its rabbinic leadership and allow women to run for office. “If you do not agree we will be forced to issue a legal ruling,” the judges said. [LINK]

click HERE for full size

#2. The Jerusalem Pride parade was held for equal rights for members of Israel's LGBTQ community, not long after the mass demonstration in Tel Aviv, which followed the enactment of a surrogacy law that perpetuates the surrogacy ban on gay couples. This legal prohibition forces homosexual couples to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars and to go abroad to have children via surrogacy.

click HERE for full size


A secret recording of MK Rabbi Gafni comes to light

In a secret recording that was broadcast on Israeli television, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni explains to the leadership of his party why they voted for the Nation-State Law and what his real opinion of the law is.

Once again the ugliness of the unholy alliance between religion and politics has come to light. In a secret recording that was broadcast on Israeli television, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (the leader of the Degel haTorah party, a government coalition member who serves as the powerful Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee), explains to the leadership of his party why they voted for the Nation-State Law and what his real opinion of the law is:

"The Nation-State Law is a basic law that includes serious things. We do not want this. It is all apostasy from the first word to the last word... The Nation-State Law is a bad law... because of the conflict with the Arabs and the provocation of [other] nations... Why did we agree to it? Because Netanyahu said that this is a law that matters to him and in exchange for supporting this law, he will do what we demand in [regard to] the [IDF] Draft Law."

This is seriously concerning on two levels.


Hiddush in the Media

Why Israel nabbed a rabbi for performing a wedding, and why people are incensed, The Times of Israel, July 21, 2018

Why Israel Detained This Rabbi For Performing A Wedding, The New York Jewish Week, July 23, 2018

Suspected police violations in detention of Conservative rabbi, The Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2018

For Liberal Jews, ‘Israel Has Lost Its Way’, The New York Jewish Week, July 25, 2018

Rabbi Detained for Performing non-Orthodox Weddings Is Suddenly in High Demand, Haaretz, July 24, 2018

Should Tel Aviv Restaurants Close For Tisha B’Av?, The Forward, July 20, 2018


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