“Till Death Us Do Part” – Literally!


A couple of 14-carat gold wedding rings. Pictu...

Chained for life?

10-year sentence is stretched to ‘indefinite’

In groundbreaking ruling, rabbinical courts decides Meir Gorodetzki will not leave prison until he grants wife a ‘get.’

(Headline from an article by Jeremy Sharon in today’s Jerusalem Post)

So, here we are in the second decade of the 21st century, and a man is sentenced to life imprisonment for the “crime” of not granting his wife a divorce.

A Sefer Torah rolled to the Song of the sea.

This law controls all personal life in Israel - and it is rigidly enforced!

If further evidence were needed of the absurdity of religion, created and controlled by men, then this is surely it. Having developed a framework of rules, over many centuries, for defining every single aspect of daily living, the Rabbis now find themselves in 21st century Israel with the power of enforcement. They are also fortunate to have the political support that prevents the separation of religion and state.The state has placed the control of matters pertaining to birth, marriage, divorce and its consequences and, even, death, in the exclusive hands of the Rabbinate.

In this particular case, the couple were originally married in a civil ceremony. Only some years later, after they emigrated to Israel and became religious, did they have a second formal Jewish wedding. In reality, it would have made no difference to the present situation. In a masterstroke of even further absurdity, the state – while recognising civil marriage OUTSIDE of Israel for the purposes of status – still granted the Rabbinate sole control over divorce, even over civil marriages!

According to Jewish Law the man has to hand to his wife the “Get” or document of divorce in a bizarre ceremony which includes the following:

  • the writing of the get takes place, a process that takes about an hour, and involves the man who is getting divorced and the scribe. The scribe is an expert in writing holy texts, such as Torah scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzot. The scribe writes the get with quill and ink on a parchment that is prepared ahead of time in the appropriate size, 

  • the woman places the get under her left armpit, next to her heart, takes 2-3 steps forwards, turns around, and retraces her steps (walking altogether a distance of 4 amot, approximately 2 meters). By holding the get under her arm and walking with it the woman proclaims her acceptance of her divorce

  • The judge then rips the parchment of the get, lengthwise and widthwise, so that it is no longer possible to find any mistakes in it  (1)

Why is a “Get” so important?

Without this, the woman becomes an “agunah” – literally “chained to her husband” and cannot remarry. Should she do so, any children of such a union would be regarded as “mamzerim”, a specific form of “bastards”, and they, themselves, could never marry under Jewish Law. (2)

LOL Just divorced. And no, that's not my car.

Not so easy in Israel - no wonder the celebration!

It is known that there are hundreds of women in Israel in this unfortunate situation – but not always because the husband will not divorce them. They are in this position even if the husband simply disappears, or suffers from a mental condition preventing rational action. The worst situation of all affects women whose husband died in battle, but the body was never found. Without absolute proof of death she can remain “chained” for life.

Since the divorce agreement must be mutual, there are cases where women have refused to accept the “Get”  thus, effectively, preventing the men from remarrying. These situations are much rarer, but they do exist. The grotesque reality of Jewish Law affects everyone.

It is true that during the wedding ceremony, the man declares that he understands that the marriage takes place “according to the Laws of Moses and Israel.”

The words “Till death us do part” are not included in Jewish weddings.

They might as well be!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is

 

Update article

http://www.timesofisrael.com/congressman-caught-in-the-crosshairs-of-messy-jewish-divorce/

References

(1) For a full description of the ceremony you may refer to:

http://eng.itim.org.il/?CategoryID=206&ArticleID=283)

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agunah

http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=256634


In Defence of the “Oldest Profession”


“Proposed Israeli law would jail prostitute clients”

(Jerusalem Post headline)

English: Knesset Israel 61 years. עברית: מליאת...

Knesset to vote - "no more hookers" (don't hold your breath)

In a few days time a Knesset committee will consider a law which, among other things, proposes criminalising the clients of prostitutes. This is manifestly absurd and unreasonable, and is a desperate attempt to regulate a situation which requires a totally different approach.

Prostitution, until now, has been treated by successive governments as an activity which requires control within a criminal framework. Being a prostitute is not, in itself, illegal. The crime is living off the earnings of a prostitute. As with all previous attempts to control activities deemed to be against the best interests of society, this current plan is also doomed to fail. One only has to consider what happened to the prohibition on the sale of alcohol in America in the 1920’s, and now the failure of all efforts to control drug trafficking, to understand that more legislation simply drives the problem underground.

What is needed is a radically different approach. Rather than criminalising the prostitutes and/or their clients, it is time for us to face up to the reality. These women (or, sometimes, men) provide a much needed service in a professional manner, for which they charge a fee. That service will continue to be required, no matter what laws are passed. Consequently, a far better, and more realistic approach, would be to acknowledge openly that fact, and deal with it accordingly.

English: Prostitute waiting for customers. Esp...

waiting for clients..................

Government bodies, social services and the police should combine to provide support, and a comfortable working environment in which the services could continue to be provided, without threat of criminal prosecution. Rather than being harassed, these working ladies should be protected, provided with appropriate health services and controlled, perhaps even to the point of paying tax on their earnings. This is not as absurd as it might sound: a similar scheme is already in operation in parts of Germany.

The main problem will arise from the pimps, and others who make money from the activities of the prostitutes. This aspect is, and should be, criminal, and it is THIS that the police need to control and eliminate, as far as possible. What is unacceptable to society is the human trafficking aspect. Since that has not been controlled to date, it is that element that requires the energies of the legal services. Not the girls, and certainly not their clients.

חרדים ירושלמים. צולם על ידי אפי ב.

Potential clients?

It seems extraordinary to me that, in a society containing large numbers of ultra-orthodox Jews and Muslims, whose religious beliefs preclude pre-marital sex, the thought of eliminating prostitution should even arise.  It is a grossly unrealistic premise. A few nights spent in the area of Tel Baruch beach in Tel Aviv will suffice to show the reality, and the necessity of the services the ladies provide. There is even a body of opinion that claims that the very existence of open prostitution reduces substantially the incidence of rape.

One thing is absolutely certain. No matter the legislation, Prostitution will not disappear. It is not called “the oldest profession” for nothing. It has endured for thousands of years, and will continue for as long as mankind inhabits this planet.

Why is it considered evil? Is a prostitute less of a person than the wife in a loveless marriage who endures sex to maintain her financial security? Or a young girl marrying a wealthy old man, decades her senior? Prostitution is not just about money for a specific act for a limited amount of time with a total stranger. It is also a state of mind in so-called “normal”relationships.I

And what about “recreational”sex? Sex just for the hell of it? Or sex for relief?  It’s true that the internet today has many sites where sex is offered for free, but not everyone is into computers, especially the Haredim. What are they supposed to do? If I’m not mistaken, even masturbation is Biblically forbidden.

( Full disclosure)  

1. I, myself, have in the past, engaged the services of these working ladies in a number of different countries. I think the experiences were mutually satisfactory, as far as I could tell. Only in Israel did the  girls arrive with credit card machines at the ready. Strange, but organised at least. Unfortunately, the advent of AIDS caused me to no longer pursue this line of recreational activity, as I am sure it has for many people. The fear of disease is a far more potent controller than any man-made laws.

2. Many years ago I discovered that I had a pimp on my payroll! Needless to say, I was totally unaware of the fact that the company chief accountant was pimping out his wife and using our office facilities in the process. Only after the police arrived and arrested him did I learn what had been going on. After due process, he was fired – and promptly sued the company for wrongful dismissal. At the Industrial Tribunal he claimed that his private life had nothing to do with his professional abilities. Privately, I sympathise with this view, but as CEO of a large company in the retail field serving multinational conglomerates , I was left with no option from the position of corporate responsibility.

For your interest, the Tribunal dismissed his claim. He might have improved his chances for success had he not turned up at the hearing with his pregnant Black girlfriend, looking every inch a hooker!

But I digress.

As I said before, the ladies are in a respectable profession, provide a service and do so for a mutually negotiated fee. Much like lawyers. So what’s the difference between a prostitute and a lawyer? There are a number of comparisons available:

  • One you look forward to visiting, the other one you wish you’d never met.
  • One is illegal, and shouldn’t be; the other one is legal, and shouldn’t be.
  • One walks the street openly; the other one hides in an office.
  • One lets you lie back and enjoy it; the other one bends you over, and you don’t enjoy it.
  • One gives you what you paid for; the other one, you never stop paying.
  • A prostitute will stop screwing you after you’re dead.

Andyboy – Telling it as it is

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose


Jews need to read " the writing on the wall".......

“The more things change – the more they stay the same”

And this is certainly true for anti-Semitism in the UK.  A Jewish charity, the Community Security Trust, monitors anti-Jewish incidents in the UK and reported a slight drop in 2011 compared with 2010.

The way in which the changes were announced, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post today, proves that percentages in statistics are meaningless if the total numbers are relatively low. For example, a drop of 9% in direct anti-Semitic threats is, in reality a difference of 3 – down from 32 to 29. Hardly statistically significant. Similarly a fall of 19% in “violent”anti- Semitism is a difference of 22 incidents, and so on.

The last paragraph of the report is, perhaps, a more realistic way of looking at the figures. There it is revealed that the last 6 years have produced the 6 highest totals of incidents since the monitoring began.

I am not sure that presenting the results on the “glass half full” basis benefits anyone. It seems to me that nothing has changed in the way the community, and especially its leadership, tends to minimise bad things that happen to Jews. All this in the best tradition of trying hard not to do or say too much to annoy the goyim. Of course the incidents are reported, but their effects are played down and straws are grasped to place the best possible interpretation on the figures.

I am convinced that anti-Israel feelings are inextricably entwined in the anti-Semitic actions, and the report supports this contention. Given the ever-increasing growth of the Muslim and Eastern European populations in the UK, there is no chance of these sentiments ever-changing.

English: George Santayana, a Spanish American ...

It seems that UK Jewry does not wish to pay attention to the saying ” those who fail to learn from the lessons of history are doomed to re-live them.”

They can only live in the hope that George Santayana was wrong!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is

Related articles

http://andyboy1.com/2011/10/01/england-home-of-genteel-anti-semitism/

UK anti-Semitic incidents f… JPost – Jewish World – Jewish News.

Quotations

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Santayana


Only Removing “Controversial” Books – for Now!


Mea She’arim bookstore accedes to demands of extremist haredi vandalists

Headline of an article in today’s Jerusalem Post (written by Melanie Lidman)

Waiting inspection.....(photo: blog.eastersealtech.com)

The article details the horrendous sequence of events that has finally caused the management of Manny’s religious bookstore to capitulate to the demands of a fanatical haredi (ultra- Orthodox) sect known as the Sikrikim. The story explains what has been happening to the unfortunate owners. Since the store opened 18 months ago it has been subject to repeated violent incidents of vandalism. I quote:

the group has smashed its windows more than a dozen times, glued its locks shut, thrown tar and fish oil at the store and dumped bags of human excrement inside. The owners were also personally threatened multiple times.

Why did these haredim do these terrible things?

Are they carrying out a commandment from God? Or a desire of men, in the guise of  religious belief, to subjugate others to their will?

They seem to have had two major problems. Firstly, as many of the books were in English, the store attracted a clientele of Anglo Saxons -especially tourists. Their dress code did not conform to the “Taliban” style criteria demanded by the Sikrikim.

Secondly, they demanded control of the inventory, to ensure that only books that they approved would be sold. Weakened by so much harassment , and after spending over $70,000 for repairs and security guards, the management finally surrendered and agreed to a compromise:

Under the terms of the compromise, Ohr Hachaim/Manny’s put up a large sign requesting that all customers dress modestly. A mashgiach, who checks the store’s inventory to make sure there are no controversial books, will go over the books in the coming week and require that some books be removed from the shelves, though they will not be permitted to remove any English books,

I am not criticising the management. They had to take a commercial decision. My question is,why do we calmly accept the concept that some inspector, appointed by these extremists, will decide which (Hebrew) books the shop is permitted to sell? And what will happen to the removed books? I presume that they cannot be sold anywhere else.

Will they demand that these be burnt?

“That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.”   (Heinrich Heine)

Book burning

book burning.....

Well, in this case,  not burn people in the physical sense, of course. Too much history! But, certainly in the intellectual and spiritual sense.

And all of this in a country that makes so much of the fact that it is a free, open democratic society! Where is the anger? Where are the secular demonstrations of outrage? They don’t exist. And they will not happen.  It constantly amazes me that in situations like this, the huge non-religious section of the population stay passive.

It ‘s extraordinary that the Sikrikim,  that numbers less than 100 families, have succeeded in their objective. Or is it? The capacity of our secular and non orthodox majority to constantly pander to the whims of the religious loonies has no limits.

This case is just one example of the power of religious fanaticism. If the rest of our citizens do not respond, it will not be the last!

Cover of "A Man Without a Country"

Cover of A Man Without a Country

And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. 

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”    (Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country)

 

And where does the Israel that I love exist?

 

Not in Mea She’arim – that’s for sure!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is

Full Article

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=247516

A Palestinian State – in Israel’s best interests?


The editorial of the Jerusalem Post yesterday referred to the current crisis with the Palestinians as an  “opportunity “

It argued , in spite of all recent events, that  “the creation of a Palestinian state is an eminently Israeli interest, provided such a state respects the Jewish people’s right to political sovereignty within secure borders.” (my italics)

The proviso is loaded with contradictions – especially taking into account the entity which is being asked to accept and respect what Israel is, and where the final borders will be delineated.

English: Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmood Abbas - has to choose between peace with Hamas or peace with Israel

The Palestinian Authority,  under Mahmood Abbas‘s leadership,  cannot bring itself to agree that the Jewish people HAVE a right to any sovereignty in “Palestine”.

Abbas cannot agree because he knows that Hamas will never agree.

He is still desperately seeking a formula to unite Judea and Samaria with Gaza, and does not want to take any action which will jeopardise his tenuous (and presently illegal)  grip on power.

Should he succeed in this quest, he will create an Authority with a participating body fundamentally opposed to Israel in any form and within any borders – secure or otherwise.

Actually the infighting will be about tactics and strategy, rather than disagreement on the core issue of Israel’s continued existence.

Whilst it may be in Israel’s best interest to separate from the Palestinians, I question whether, deep down,  Abbas  really wants to separate from us. Economically he knows he cannot, at least in the short term. And if things go badly wrong with his Hamas love-fest, then – ironically –  only Israel can save him.

Irrespective of this, Israel has to face up to one regrettable but undeniable problem.

Anwar Sadat

Anwar Sadat - the agreement is rapidly becoming worthless.......

In Western Democratic societies,  agreements are made between governments – and are honoured by successive administrations. The only peace treaties we have at present were made with a Military Dictator and an Autocratic Monarch.  The first is already crumbling around the edges. And one can guess what will become of the second should the “Arab spring” reach Amman.

Will any agreement with the Palestinians be worth the paper it is written on given the fundamental potential instability of regimes in this region?

Would any body or nation, or group of nations, be willing to underwrite and guarantee the implementation of such an agreement? And, even if they did – could they be trusted to act  swiftly and incisively in the event of any breach?

I’m sorry, but I don”t see the present situation with the Palestinians as an “opportunity”.

I see it as a disaster , just waiting to happen.

And, given the underlying and unrelenting hatred of  (most) of the world towards Israel, there is nothing we can do about it!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

Images from Wikipedia