Without religion


One important step away from theocracy.

The court ruling last week that granted the writer Yoram Kaniuk the right to be registered with the Interior Ministry as “without religion” rather than as Jewish, is a step in the direction of separation of religion and state. Such is the view of Irit Rosenblum, who heads the New Family organization, which favors making civil marriage more easily available in the country.

Currently Jewish Israelis can only marry other Jews in the country under the auspices of the Orthodox rabbinate. A law was passed last year that allows civil unions and considers them as marriage for all intents and purposes – but only under special, limited circumstances in which both parties are registered as having no religion. The legislation was criticized for not allowing people to marry in a religious ceremony because they are not of the same religion, and for not allowing people who do not want a religious ceremony to get married in Israel.

God’s messengers meddle with people’s lives again.

Comments

  1. RJW says

    “One important step away from theocracy.”

    Yeah, sure, only a million more steps needed,the Israeli state also registers people’s ‘ethnicity’ as well,I wonder why.

  2. P Smith says

    Israeli Apartheid rears its ugly head again. It’s amazing how people can believe the lie that non-jews “aren’t discriminated against” in Israel.

    The most rabid pro-Israel christians in the US deliberately ignore cases where Israeli christian priests have left that country and been denied return despite being citizens and holding passports.

    The goal since 1940 is and always has been the forced removal or exile of anyone who isn’t jewish. It may not be genocide, but it certainly is petty revenge, an attempt to force non-jews to “wander the world” for 2000 years without a homeland. The jews are no better than those they condemn, especially when Israel employs tactics that people at Nuremburg were convicted of doing.

    .

  3. mirax says

    The above post by P Smith is full of the usual ugliness that Israel obsessives and jew haters display.

    Sad to see it here, unchallenged.

  4. says

    That’s quite a hateful comment, P Smith. In the comments on the articles about this, there was plenty of “If he doesn’t want to be a Jew, they should kick him out of Israel!!11111!!!!” idiocy, and here we see a different sort.

  5. Stewart says

    In my naivete, I was about to start responding to specific points and then noticed the gravatar…

  6. Stewart says

    “… … …And I finally get what you’re talking about!”

    Which means you also get what P Smith is (really) (talking) about.

  7. says

    Yes: it was late at/the middle of the night for the US and early morning for Europe – slow time for commenting. Now that it has been challenged I’ll leave it, for the record.

  8. Stewart says

    It’s ironic that a comment like that, that takes no care to separate its anti-Israel rhetoric from a generally Jew-hating tone, is in itself a source of support for Zionist arguments that the Jewish people need a homeland.

  9. Stewart says

    “Well, the gravatar didn’t add much to my recognition of what the comment was about.”

    What it added for me was clarity; that it wasn’t just someone who’d gotten some half-baked ideas into his/her skull without knowing where it positioned them. This person has taken the trouble to make an identification explicit. It helps me to know what else might be behind the comment.

  10. Stewart says

    There are three more articles on the Ma’ariv site, which don’t seem to have appeared anywhere in translation yet. One about the ex-Chief Rabbi criticising Kaniuk in sorrow (http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/292/209.html), another columnist who still considers himself religiously Jewish expressing understanding that the religious authorities are pushing people in Kaniuk’s direction (http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/292/629.html) and, most interesting, one about what is being called “the Kaniuk effect” (http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/292/615.html). I don’t know the sources for the figures, but Kaniuk’s lawyer says dozens more have now contacted her to do what Kaniuk did and the article says dozens more have also contacted other lawyers. Kaniuk’s lawyer says many are doing it for the sake of state/religion separation, but someone also told her he wants to get back at the rabbinate. Kaniuk also reports dozens of people, both acquaintances and strangers, contacting him with support and similar intentions. TV stations from the UK, Australia and Brazil have also contacted him. The most interesting point for me in the whole thing is that Kaniuk’s lawyer has said she won’t take on the cases submitted by young people who want to follow in Kaniuk’s footsteps, because of the implications it could have for them and their children in the future. I’m interpreting that as meaning that until this battle is actually won, it could ruin lives in the process.

  11. says

    What it added for me was clarity; that it wasn’t just someone who’d gotten some half-baked ideas into his/her skull without knowing where it positioned them. This person has taken the trouble to make an identification explicit. It helps me to know what else might be behind the comment.

    Yes, good point. It would also seem dumb that someone would try to use this post as a platform for their antisemitism. I mean, most of the people affected by and protesting the stupid religious registration and marriage laws in Israel are ethnically Jewish. But haters, of course, will try to use any opening they can find. (I’m surprised the creeps at ERV haven’t found a Rebecca Watson angle.)

  12. says

    Thanks Stewart – you’re invaluable.

    I wonder if Kaniuk’s lawyer is expecting the battle to be won via legislation rather than the courts. And for that matter why she won’t take on cases submitted by young people because of the implications it could have for them and their children in the future…unless Kaniuk is childless, in which case I can make sense of it. (If she had omitted the mention of children I could also make sense of taking on the case for an old person but not a young one.)

    Calling Skeptic Lawyer. She will doubtless be a mine of information on the legal issues.

  13. says

    I don’t know the sources for the figures, but Kaniuk’s lawyer says dozens more have now contacted her to do what Kaniuk did and the article says dozens more have also contacted other lawyers.

    I expect there’ll be many more.

    The most interesting point for me in the whole thing is that Kaniuk’s lawyer has said she won’t take on the cases submitted by young people who want to follow in Kaniuk’s footsteps, because of the implications it could have for them and their children in the future. I’m interpreting that as meaning that until this battle is actually won, it could ruin lives in the process.

    You mean there’s a fear that when people have declared that there could be retribution against them and their families from the authorities or others? That’s surprising and terrible. She can refuse to take cases for whatever reasons she wants, but I think that as long as people are aware of what they could be getting themselves into, it should be their decision to make. I don’t see how the battle could possibly be won without people taking on that risk.

  14. Stewart says

    Have seen Ophelia’s latest in my mail, even though it hasn’t shown up here yet. I think, to avoid any paraphrasing of mine causing misunderstanding, I ought to do a proper translation of that paragraph, which I hope to find a few minutes for in the next few hours. Kaniuk is not childless; he is married to a nominally Christian American and the thing really took off when he succeeded in getting his infant grandson registered as belonging to no religion, after the authorities had simply registered him as Christian (their default thinking if someone is unacceptable to them as Jewish – and is not an Arab – remember matrilineality). When that worked, he took it a step further and went to court to have it applied to himself; someone who, unlike his grandson, had been considered Jewish under religious law.

  15. Stewart says

    I’ll just say one further thing about this at this point. To all intents and purposes right now only religious marriages can take place in Israel. The law providing for an alternative has no teeth because it defers to the religious courts. What that means is that as of today, a person who may want to marry but has a black mark next to their name in the rabbinate’s books (for whatever reason, which could include the rabbinate’s knowing that that person took a step towards leaving Judaism), may not be able to marry at all. I think this is what she wants to save people from.

  16. Stewart says

    Here is that paragraph, in a reasonable translation. My guess would be that her main concern is that if, in the space of another generation, Jewish marriages administered by the rabbinate are still the overwhelming majority in Israel, the children of today’s enthusiastic youngsters could be locked out of marrying most of those with whom they share the country (unless they go to Cyprus or elsewhere, as so many have already done for generations).

    According to her [Katz-Mastbaum], she does not intend to help young people who might express their interest in it, due to the possible resulting implications for their children in the future. “Due to the enthusiasm so many are displaying, one must stop and think on all kinds of levels,” she says. “The rabbinical establishment must pay attention to this. In order that the Population Registration Law may change and people may be enabled to do this directly with the Interior Ministry, and not by having to apply to the court, which also costs money and will constitute a particular burden on the courts.

  17. RJW says

    #11 Stewart,

    “…is in itself a source of support for Zionist arguments that the Jewish people need a homeland.”

    No, it certainly is not, particularly when that “Homeland” was occupied by the Palestinians. Have you considered the ethical implications of your comments?

    Would you make the same comment in regard to the invasion and conquest of the Americas?

  18. Stewart says

    @RJW

    Didn’t mean to fink out of replying to that, but lacked time to do so properly.

    I was not making my own pro-Zionist argument with that; I intended, rather, to draw attention to the fact that anti-Jewish sentiments are seen by Zionists as reinforcing their case. I note that you yourself chose not to dispute that the comment that started this off did not separate its “anti-Israel rhetoric from a generally Jew-hating tone.”

    Your question about ethical implications suggests to me that you are of the persuasion that this conflict is very black and white, with all right on one side and all wrong on the other. I see it as a lot less simple than that.

    As to the Americas, I do have doubts as to whether that is an appropriate analogy, for quite a few reasons. One can argue that the people who began the Zionist movement in the late 19th century had no significant connection to ancestors who originally came from that part of the Middle East, or even any at all. They were nonetheless frequently persecuted as Jews, with their persecutors linking them to Jerusalem. Nothing remotely similar can be said of those Europeans who colonised the Americas. Israel was at least established, even if not according to its current borders, by some kind of international concensus. Again, the Americas come off a lot worse if that is any kind of yardstick. I presume that if you are suggesting that Israel must be eliminated, you are also suggesting the same fate for all American countries established by descendants of Europeans. In both cases, easier said than done.

    I’m sorry that this is still a very sketchy reply, but arguing about this is really not what I do, nor do I wish to do it any further on a blog really intended for other issues. There is no shortage of blogs and forums (or is it “fora”) on the Middle East conflict, but I’m afraid you won’t find me frequenting them.

  19. Stewart says

    Ah, yes, I was also waiting with three more links, each containing something of interest, until I found time to reply to that. Here they are (I don’t think any of them have been posted here yet):

    http://www.thejc.com/news/israel-news/55944/israeli-writer-now-without-religion

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/no-religion-does-not-mean-no-nationality-1.388225

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=240713

    Where there are comments, some are enlightening (or endarkening).

  20. RJW says

    @24 Stewart,

    “…anti-Jewish sentiments are seen by Zionists as reinforcing their case”. By Zionists, of course, they would see it that way wouldn’t they? Why should the Palestinians pay the bill for 2 millennia of anti-Semitism?

    I certainly don’t agree with PS Smiths’s tone,however it’s obvious that he/she is making some mischief with the icon. I realise you didn’t make the comment, but there’s no such thing as a ‘backwards’ swastika. The Nazis adopted the swastika because they believed that it was never associated with Semitic civilizations.

    “I presume that if you are suggesting that Israel must be eliminated, you are also suggesting the same fate for all American countries established by descendants of Europeans. In both cases, easier said than done.”

    Definitely not,where did you get that idea? Israel, like the nation states that developed from the European invasion of the Americas and Australia & New Zealand are here to stay. My point is that Israel is just another colonial enterprise.

    “…but arguing about this is really not what I do, nor do I wish to do it any further….” Understood.

    Thanks for the reply.

  21. captainahags says

    I think Israel still has yet to make the choice of whether it wants to be a democracy or a theocracy. This kind of thing makes me at least a little more optimistic that the former will eventually prevail.

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