Avirama Golan, 2nd March 2011
The government’s lack of action in the face of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner’s letter in support of former President Katsav is causing Israel to gallop unrestrainedly toward destruction.
See also: Ari Galaha, Rabbi: Boycott MK married to gentile, 3rd March 2011
When the letter of support that Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and his friends from the Har Hamor yeshiva sent to former President Moshe Katsav came to light, Aviner protested that the letter was private. Now it turns out that in a class – hardly a private setting – Aviner told his students that Katsav was subject to a rigged kangaroo trial: The women who testified that he committed sexual offenses were lying, the media created undue pressure and the judge isn’t Jewish.
This disgraceful nonsense – which shows that birds of a feather flock together – is an outrage. Aviner has also been the target of sexual harassment complaints and has been accused of inappropriate behavior during meetings with women, though it is his good fortune that the women filed complaints with a rabbinic court rather than with the police.
The rabbinic court – which apparently would rather have boorish rabbis cause emotional damage to women than God forbid have psychologists and social workers getting involved in domestic life, just as they do to the secular – rebuked the women for defaming Aviner and acquitted him, saying that even the Talmudic sages hugged their sisters and “Israeli doctors feel for a woman’s pulse.”
The circumspect distanced themselves from the rabbi and his ways without waiting for the ruling, and some rabbinic judges said Aviner was no longer authorized to rule on intimate matters. Aviner, who has no certification to provide mental health counseling, nonetheless treats women and couples in a megalomaniacal manner that entails an embarrassing delving into marital relations under the guise of enlightenment mingled with self-righteousness.
His compulsive involvement in sexuality is so strange and bothersome that there are entire websites dedicated to feverish discussions of his behavior. In his many books and sermons, which are widely distributed, Aviner rails against girls joining the army and warns boys that they shouldn’t get close to girls, shouldn’t touch them, shouldn’t masturbate, shouldn’t fantasize – all in such detail that it feels pornographic.
Secular Israelis who think this abomination is something that’s happening among the religious, and therefore has nothing to do with them, are wrong. Even the fact that Aviner is a welcome guest in Katsav’s home (another enthusiastic supporter is Rabbi Moti Elon, who has also been accused of sexual harassment and has recently become close to Aviner as well ) goes beyond the religious. The support for Katsav is just a symptom of a far more serious problem, which Aviner himself put well.
“Rabbi Zvi Yehuda [Kook] said that the State [of Israel] is a sanctification of God’s name. But in the state there is also desecration of God’s name. Justice is a desecration of God’s name and the education is heretical.”
In other words, since the state does not uphold Aviner’s understanding of religious law, it is invalid. This statement is in line with various actions that rabbis of the same mindset regularly initiate, such as the call for Israelis to refuse military orders to evacuate settlements; the ban on renting apartments to Arabs and the accompanying racist rallies, strengthened by the claim that the Arabs are snapping up the good Jewish girls; and the support for a book that justifies the killing of non-Jewish babies and for Rabbi Dov Lior’s refusal to be questioned over his endorsement of the book, “Torat Hamelekh.”
All these have a single goal: to show a population torn between Jewish law and the rabbis, one the one hand, and the state and its laws, on the other, that Jewish law – or at least the fanatic Haredi-religious Zionist version of it – has won, and the state has collapsed. Justice, law, the army, the Knesset and the cabinet, and of course, freedom of speech and democracy in general are all as dust at the rabbis’ feet.
It’s tough to believe that any of these rabbis (who know full well how hard Jewish law is on rapists ) are actually convinced that Katsav did not commit the offenses, including rape, of which the court convicted him. The support for him is merely a good opportunity to strike a blow at the justice system in a provocative move calculated to incite the masses.
The esteemed rabbi is telling those Israelis who identify as religious or traditional, along with the confused secular public, that the court ruling is wrong – and boom, there goes another layer of the credibility and legitimacy of the establishment. Promulgating the hatred of Arabs and debasement of women is just a bonus.
This unruly behavior, which damages all citizens, religious and secular, not just women, has been threatening Israeli sovereignty and Israel’s democratic existence for years. Now, in the face of a government that is demonstrating weakness as such conduct intensifies and that sometimes even supports it, the state is unrestrainedly galloping toward destruction.
Ari Galaha, 3rd March 2011
In special article, head of Zomet Institute slams MK Einat Wilf over her non-Jewish German husband
He made his statement following reports that Wilf would be appointed chairwoman of the Knesset’s Education Committee.
“I hereby call for a boycott of all of her public activities in these fields, as a clear negative character, being married to a German who is not Jewish (and I believe hasn’t acquired citizenship either),” the rabbi wrote in an article published in a Shabbat leaflet.
“This call is not religious (there are more serious offenses) or nationalistic (there are greater ‘national traitors’ than her), or even social (there are MKs who present a poorer personal example). I just can’t comprehend having an MK with a mixed marriage.”
But the rabbi’s attack did not end there. “I know there are MKs who are not Jewish – Muslim and Druze for example,” he continued. “I won’t be surprised – and I won’t be able to object – if an immigrant from the former Soviet Union declares that he is the Knesset representative of the sector of immigrants who have yet to convert or who seek to maintain their foreign community as loyal citizens.”
The rabbi added that he acknowledged the fact that he was forced to live alongside a large foreign minority, who are offspring of the Jewish people.
“But a Knesset member in a mixed marriage, for no reason, is more than I can tolerate,” he said. “Especially when they have the nerve to declare Israeli ‘independence’ or claim the chairmanship of the Education or Immigration committees.”
MK Wilf said in response, “I was happy to read in Rabbi Rosen’s letter than he himself recognizes the fact that there are worse offenses than marrying a gentile and that there are greater national traitors than me.”