Saturday, July 15

Israel's Chief Rabbinate and Corruption are Blots on Israel's Democracy
The Chief Rabbinate and its branches throughout Israel are a threat to Israel’s democracy. Israel’s so-called democracy is already under threat by a right-wing Coalition Government with its attempts at eroding the power of the Law Courts by attempting to change the system of appointment of judges in favour of appointees, who are conservative and right-wing friendly. We must not forget the added corruption scandals in high places in order to make gigantic profits that give truth to “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts completely”.

The bottom line is that Netanyahu and his Government Coalition have been in power for too long. In western democracies, this would be a great excuse to have general elections to remove the corrupt government from power.

 Apparently, in Israel, this is a good reason to keep them in power as expressed in the words of Mr Average Israeli: “There is nobody to replace Bibi as a leader! Despite corruption under his watch, he is ruling Israel very well! Corruption is not a good enough reason to replace the present government!”  

Do we need more examples of Israel’s democracy threats? Certainly not! However, they do exist. Even in the sphere of culture, the cultural activity must conform to the ruling coalition line or else they will lose state funding. Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, has made this perfectly clear at every public address. She has her own standards as to what cultural loyalty is all about. Her antics and populist tactics reap the fruit that the right-wing desires. Cultural activities that in Regev’s eyes appear anti-Israel (more accurately, anti-right wing or critical of it) are treacherous, serving the interests of Israel’s enemies.

The Regularisation law, the lowering of the status of Arabic, the condemnation of NGO human rights groups apart from those sympathetic to the right-wing government and the delegitimization of Reform and Conservative Jews by the Orthodox Establishment Rabbinate. All these elements are eroding Israel’s democracy. 

The more powerful the government, the more corrupt it becomes as well. Cases 1000, 2000, 3000, and soon Case 4000 are examples of greed and power, and the desire to make lots of money out of public funds. Perhaps this is modern Zionism and patriotism for the Israel of today in action. Netanyahu has requested that his loyal members of the Likud support him in this trying period of his tenure and accusing the left-wing press and the left of fabrications to orchestrate his downfall. Maybe there is a spark of hope in that there are laws and that nobody is above the law, hence police enquiries into activities of various nefarious government bedfellows, out to make a quick buck at the expense of Israel’s taxpayers.

The establishment, monolithic Orthodox Chief Rabbinate and its subsidiaries all over Israel are wedded to power and money. They are always part of the ultra-Orthodox religious parties and can make and break coalitions.They view pluralism in Judaism as a threat to their merciless hegemony. They have euphemisms of course - the most famous is “status quo”, which is also being narrowed in interpretation. The much-publicised issue of Netanyahu’s betrayal of Reform and Conservative Jewry by trying to scrap the agreement for an egalitarian place of prayer at Robinson’s Arch near the Western Wall. The reason - placation of the ultra-Orthodox religious parties in the Knesset, who are an integral part of the Government Coalition, including the right-wing Bayit Hayehudi Party of Naftali Bennett. They threatened to bolt the coalition on this issue. There is also the issue of conversions. They issued a black list of rabbis of all streams - Orthodox, Reform and Conservative, whose conversions will not be recognized in Israel. This is disgraceful and divisive of World Jewry. It means that Jews not converted by rabbis recognized by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate will not be recognized as Jews. All this in democratic Israel - “A Light unto the Nations!” Judaism in Israel is apparently the monopoly of Orthodox Judaism alone.

“Israel’s 39-chapter annual State Comptroller report, published on Tuesday, May 16, was nothing less than a blistering indictment of the unholy alliance of religion & state in Israel, providing multiple examples of criminality, corruption, and discrimination conducted by government officials in the area of religion & state”.

There will never be freedom of pluralism in Jewish faith while this abominable institution of rabbinical bigots with its powerful bureaucrats and heartless pseudo-righteous, “holy men” wield the power to which they are not entitled. This merciless institution will remain until the Messiah comes! The time is overdue for the institution of Civil Marriage in Israel. This would put the Chief Rabbinate in its place and hopefully be the impetus for its disbandment.
Rabbi and Adv. Uri Regev 
There is no true separation of Orthodox Synagogue and State in the "only True Democracy in the Middle East".

References: Hiddush - Highly recommended. It gives a true picture as to how there is no true Jewish religious freedom in Israel.