Know More About Palestine

Wednesday Jan. 12, 2011 5:17 PM (EST+7)
OPINION: Religious extremism comes from inside Israel

Read more: religious fundamentalism, orthodox jews, orthodox religion, Iran

RAMALLAH, January 12 (JMCC) - Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman last week compared Turkey with Iran before the 1979 Islamic revolution. However, for many, the greater threat to Israel from rising religious fundamentalism comes from within.

At the same time as he was doing his tough-guy act with the Turks, Israel’s High Court was buckling to the fait accompli of sexually segregated bus services (women at the back) on over 100 state bus routes, demanded by an emboldened ultra-orthodox community.

On the same day, an Israeli activist who defied orthodox Jewish custom by leading a group of women in open prayer at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall has been told to expect years in prison for breaching the peace – raising the prospect of Progressive Judaism’s first prisoner of conscience.
The rabbis are now infringing on every aspect of Israeli life – even death. When the former Liverpool footballer Avi Cohen was killed in a motorcycle accident at the New Year, he had an organ donor’s card in his wallet – a campaign he had publicly supported.

His family agreed that his organs should be donated before he was taken off his life-support machine, but several so-called “miracle worker” rabbis objected. They told the family that taking his organs while his heart was still beating was murder according to Jewish law. The family succumbed to the pressure, even though potential recipients had been told organs had been located for them.

If these were purely domestic concerns they would be worrying enough for supporters of democracy and individual rights – but there are wider, existential ramifications.

Thus, as Israel and her friends around the world battle a raising tide of demonisation of the Jewish state, they are being undermined by rabbinic extremism.

Read more at the Telegraph…






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