It's looking more and more like Israel has its own brand of intolerant, fundamentalist "Taliban" extremists, bullying the majority of the Israeli people and now, re-defining what it is to be a Jew, so most American Jews are not Jews and most American rabbis are not rabbis.
Ultra Orthodox Jews have pretty much taken over Israel law, so it is illegal for women to carry a torah, at least at the wailing wall. and we all know that when rights are taken away, they start with a small incursion...
image collage of Arrest of Woman Carrying Torah, from youtube video below by rob kall, from youtube video
image collage of Arrest from youtube video below
It looks like a law may pass allowing only the most fundamentalist Rabbis-- Haredi-- to decide who is Jewish. Even modern Orthodox rabbi's credentials are not acceptable.
These ultra orthodox Jews often suggest that American Jews who criticize Israel are "self hating Jews." I would suggest that these ultra Orthodox are engaging in psychological projection. Actually, they are, themselves, Jew haters-- haters of Jews who don't follow their extreme taliban-like ways.
haredi orthodox in Israel by emilie raguso
I wrote to my reconstructionist Jewish congregation:
How's it feel to be considered to be part of a congregation whose Rabbi is not respected and whose members are not considered Jews?The article goes on to report that the policy is NOT based on observance, on thousands of years of Jewish tradition, or the teachings of Rabbi Hillel, but rather, on Haredi politics.
It is bizarre and wrong that a tiny extremist part of the world's Jewry is making the rules.
Because of a parlaimentary system that gives small minority parties major power, extremist fundamentalists hvae moved Israeli politics to the far, far right, so now, a handful of ultra Orthodox rabbis can now determine who is and who is not a Jew. That's the conclusion of a recent New York Times Op-Ed, The Diaspora Need Not Apply, which suggested that, if the law that just left committee in the Knesset is passed, the answer to the question, "Who is a Jew?" will be "Almost Nobody." The article begins,
On Monday, a Knesset committee approved a bill sponsored by David Rotem, a member of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, that would give the Orthodox rabbinate control of all conversions in Israel. If passed, this legislation would place authority over all Jewish births, marriages and deaths -- and, through them, the fundamental questions of Jewish identity -- in the hands of a small group of ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, rabbis.
The move has set in motion a sectarian battle that is not only dividing Israeli society but threatening to sever the vital connection between Israel and the American Jewish diaspora.
This is just the latest in a long history of Orthodox encroachment over everyday life and religious policy in Israel. The newest twist will reject Jewish conversions outside of Israel by all but a handful of the most fundamentalist Rabbis.
There are about 13 million Jews in the world, about half in Israel, most of the rest in the US. The way Israel is going, it will soon declare that only a tiny fraction of those 13 million are Jewish. They'll consider the rest to be "Goyim," or non-jews.
This particularly affects American Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist congregations, and even many modern Orthodox synagogues, where their rabbis are not considered Jewish enough or rabbinical enough for the Israeli "taliban."
The bottom line is the ultra Orthodox who are pushing for these laws are also guilty of much of the violence by West Bank settlers against Palestinians. They are guilty of treating most non-orthodox Jews as though they are not Jews at all. They are haters bigots and, sadly, among the most nasty anti-semites.