Israel News for July 12, 2016

Temple Mount Hallel
Hundreds gathered at the entrance to the Temple Mount today to participate in a memorial service for 13 year old Hallel Ariel, who was brutally murdered by a terrorist in her bed in Kiryat Arba two weeks ago.

Hallel’s family was joined by several MKs, including Yehuda Glick and Oren Hazan from the Likud party and Bezalel Smotrich and Minister Uri Ariel from Bayit Yehudi. The Knesset members were prohibited from entering the Temple Mount by order of the Prime Minister.

There were speeches and dancing and Hallel’s father, Amichai, blew the shofar and said, “The world needs this heart (Temple Mount), otherwise blood will continue to spill. The world is waiting for us to bring the light and banish the darkness.”

Hallel’s aunt said, “This isn’t a day of sadness, this is a day of joy. Not a day of mourning and destruction, but of rebuilding and expectation for the redemption.”

Hallel’s mother Rina thanked those who came saying, “We didn’t come here this morning to cry, we came to strengthen our hearts.”

Around fifty people ascended to the Temple Mount along with the Ariel family, under heavy police protection. Ignoring the regulations against praying on the mount, the Jews recited prayers and blessings out loud. They were confronted by angry Muslims shouting, “Allah Akbar.”

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Controversial Law Passes
Yesterday the Knesset passed the controversial “transparency law”, which requires NGOs to disclose details of overseas donations if more than half their funding comes from foreign governments or organizations such as the European Union. The NGO’s must disclose these funding sources in Knesset committee meetings and in all communications with public officials, the media and in ads to the public. Representatives of the NGO’s will not have to wear ID tags identifying their status while in the Knesset, as was first proposed in the earlier version of the law.

Around 27 NGO’s that receive funding from the EU or individual European governments will be directly effected by the new law, which has been categorized as anti-left by opponents, since right-wing organizations are usually funded by private donors and therefore exempt from the mandated disclosures. Almost all of the NGO’s effected by the law are left-wing human rights groups.

The law has been publicly criticized by the US and EU as being undemocratic. Peace Now has promised to challenge the law in the Supreme Court saying, “While the law will delegitimize left-wing organizations, pro-settler NGOs who receive millions of dollars in foreign donations without any transparency will remain unaffected. It is a law whose only aim is to silence and mark those who dare to voice criticism of the government or against settlements.”

Supporters of the law, led by its sponsor Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, claim that the law is necessary to prevent foreign governments from using funds to influence Israel’s domestic policies.

PM Netanyahu praised the new law, saying that it would “prevent an absurd situation in which foreign countries meddle in the internal affairs of Israel by funding NGOs and without the Israeli public’s knowledge. Contrary to claims on the left, the bill’s approval will increase transparency, will encourage the creation of a debate which truly reflects public opinion in Israel and will strengthen democracy.”

The new law will only apply to donations made after January 1, 2017 and the first report to the registrar of nonprofits will have to be made only eighteen months thereafter. The fine for non-disclosure is 29,200 shekels ($7,500).

Can the Europeans simply cover the fine and allow the NGO’s to remain silent?

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IDF Rabbi
Rabbi Col. Eval Karim has been appointed by IDF Chief of Staff as the next IDF Chief Rabbi to replace the outgoing rabbi Gen. Rafi Peretz, who is retiring after six years in the position.

Karim currently serves as the head of the Rabbinate Department in the Military Rabbinate. He previously served as an officer and then commander of the elite paratrooper commando unit, and fought in two of the Lebanon wars. He studied in the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva and headed up the pre-military academy of Ateret Kohanim, before returning to the IDF Rabbinate.

Karim has come under fire for statements he made implying that woman are prohibited from serving in the IDF and that soldiers can rape gentile women during war. But the rabbi has clearly stated that his statements were made in response to purely theoretical questions of Jewish law.

Yeah Atid head Yair Lapid has called on Karim to clearly declare that he approves of women being drafted and serving in the IDF.

In response to the claims that Karim sanctioned rape in wartime by IDF soldiers, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office issued a statement saying: “Col. Karim asks to clarify that his statement was issued as the answer to a theoretical question and not in any way whatsoever a question of practical Jewish law. Rabbi Karim has never written, said or even thought that and IDF soldier is permitted to sexually assault a woman in war—anyone who interprets his words otherwise is completely mistaken. Rabbi Karim’s moral approach is attested by his years of military service in command, combat, and rabbinical positions in which he displayed complete loyalty to the values and spirit of the IDF, in particular the dignity of the person.”

The Torah sanctions certain actions that are considered to be no longer applicable in practice. Examples of these are slavery, the killing of Amalek and the rape of gentile women during war. But these concepts are still “on the books” and are studied and analyzed as part of Jewish law. They also contain valuable homiletical messages and lessons that go far beyond their literal readings.

When a rabbi is asked a question relating to the intricacies of the laws of slavery or wartime rape, he must respond within the context of the question even though he doesn’t intend his answer to be taken as practical law. The entire discussion is clearly within the theoretical realm of intellectual scholarship.

Taken these theoretical statements as reflecting a rabbi’s practical stance is a mistake, and shows a lack of understanding of the concept of theoretical discussion and scholarship.

I think the statement of the IDF spokesman says it all.

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Druze Chief MD
The IDF has appointed Colonel Dr. Badar Tarif as its new Chief Medical Officer. He will be promoted to Brigadier General. Thousands of Druze serve in the IDF, including many who serve in elite combat units and as high ranking officers. As an example, the commander of the Golani infantry brigade is also Druze.

Go Druze!

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