Israel News for April 6, 2016

IDF Kosher
The IDF is taking unusual measures to make sure that those who avoid the draft because of religious exemptions are being totally “kosher”.

In one case the army saw a social media post in which a girl described having a sexual relationship with an Israeli Haredi man, saying that he broke her heart. She posted a photo of him. It turns out that he had an exemption from military service because he was listed as a full time yeshiva student.

In response, the army summoned the yeshiva student to an induction center to enlist, maintaining that the student was merely keeping up a guise of religious observance — the grounds for his deferment request — and therefore should not be exempt from service.

The IDF is even considering opening a special cyber unit to track ultra-Orthodox students on social media, monitoring those who were openly eschewing ultra-Orthodox practice and drafting them, according to a Channel 10 report. The unit would be tasked with verifying that the Haredi yeshiva students were living in accordance with Jewish religious observance.

So basically the IDF will be inline with the Yeshiva heads and rabbis. They’ll both be making sure that students are strictly following religious law. Who can argue with that?

For further reading click here.

Left Behind
In 1961 Eli Cohen, an Israel of Sephardic decent, was sent to spy on Syria by the Mossad. For the next four years Cohen succeeded in penetrated the highest levels of the Syrian government and sending Israel a steady stream of reliable intelligence, which ended up saving countless lives in the 1967 Six Day War. Cohen was captured in 1965 and executed. For the last 50 years Israel has tried to get Cohen’s remains back so that they can receive a proper burial in Israel. Cohen’s widow Nadia has spearheaded the effort.

In 2007, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was very close to Assad, to help in the matter. In 2010 PM Netanyahu sent asocial Ronald Lauder to Assad to ask for the remains. Now President Rivlin has asked Russian President Putin to help. Given their large military presence in the country and their role in saving Assad from defeat, Rivlin hopes that the Russians can persuade Assad to finally return Cohen’s remains.

Putin has promised that he will look into the matter.

For further reading click here.

Blood Money
The family of Muhannad Halabi, the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita in Jerusalem’s Old City last October, has purchased a new villa after the IDF demolished their home in January. The purchase of the massive mansion was made with money donated by the Palestinian public.

Speaking in the Knesset today, Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Oren Hazan (Likud) responded to the news saying, “It appears that the Palestinian Authority has found a creative solution to the housing crisis – a family that sends a representative to murder a Jew will be awarded with a luxurious villa, in addition to the honor that the family receives.”

He added, “I have said in the past and say again, the demolition of the homes of terrorists is an effective punishment, but it requires followup and accompanying steps! We have to take off the kid gloves and start acting with a hard hand against these murderers who benefit at our expense, including the expulsion of families.We must negate the stipends, negate their residency and send them to Gaza, Syria or any other attractive destination.”

For further reading click here.

Kotel Compromise
Moshe Gafni, the senior Knesset Member of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) haredi party, implied yesterday that his party would accept the government’s compromise agreement allowing a non-Orthodox prayer area at the southern end of the Kotel, under one condition: that there will be a separate entrance for the new area.

A joint entrance is apparently one of the critical demands of the Reform and Conservative movements and the Women of the Wall organization, and it is unlikely they will agree to concede on this point.

Referring to the issue Gafni said, “They can go wherever they want, they can do whatever they want but not together with us. We will not allow them to be with us in any way. Not at the entrance to the Kotel, not at the exit, we won’t allow in any way recognition of the Reform, and not those similar to them.”

Gafni added that if this change is accepted then further deliberations would be needed to decide on who will manage the non-Orthodox site, but indicated that an agreement on this would be possible.

For further reading click here.

Good Reading
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The Outsider’s Guide To Orthodox Judaism is a handbook (that means it’s brief and to the point) that explains Orthodox Judaism’s basic beliefs, rituals (like Sabbath and Kosher), lifestyle, lifecycle events, holidays, and more. Also included is a list of holidays and time-line of Jewish history.
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The first part of the book describes how I dealt with my mother’s terminal illness, specifically her final days. Several chapters are dedicated to explain how prayer can be used as a healing tool (based on Jewish sources). I also describe the proper way to deal with a loved one who is dying. 

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