April 1, 2023

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Israel: The first liberal rabbi in the Nazareth challenged the Orthodox monopoly

Israel must end the radical Orthodox monopoly on religious affairs, or pave the way for mixed prayer between men and women on the West Wall, AFP’s Glad Currie said in an interview.

Since an agreement was reached between David Ben-Gurion and the great Orthodox rabbis during the creation of Israel in 1948, the laws of the most conservative current of Judaism have governed the whole of Israeli life.

In Israel, Jewish people have to resort to Orthodox rabbis for marriage or divorce, public transportation is prohibited during the Shabbat, and religious food laws (kashrut) apply to all public institutions (ministries, schools, or the military).

But the liberal rabbi Glad Curve, 48, who was elected in March under the banner of the Labor Party, is violating the Orthodox monopoly.

In the United States, where a large number of Jews live after Israel, most of them claim to be liberal Judaism and Masordi, two unconventional currents that support equality between men and women.

Nonetheless, these movements remain a minority in Israel, which does not prevent the subconscious from thinking that “the majority of the secular public in the country feel closer to us (liberals) than to traditional Judaism”, he underscores. The head is covered by a small kippa.

“One thing that most people in Israel’s right and left agree on is the relationship between religion and the state.

Religious pluralism has been around for a long time through the training of this lawyer who was the leader of the liberal religious movement in Israel, more than a decade before a leap in politics.

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According to him, Israel is “a Jewish and democratic country, which does not mean hereditary and democratic”.

– Death threats –

“When the Jews in Israel have the opportunity to choose the most conservative religion in the world, the ultra-Orthodox will be the first to know what direction they will take. An egalitarian religion (between men and women), open, inclusive. They are fighting against it,” he told us. Promises.

When he came to parliament, some radical Orthodox representatives refused to greet him and called him “Satanism”.

Others continued to ignore the parliamentary debates in which he participated, and this habit occurred when he was called the leader of the liberal movement.

Travels Compared to the morning of 2016, when he found “a long knife with (his) name written on it” at the entrance to his synagogue, he recalled that the graffiti had written that he should be killed.

It was marked: “Divine Presence will not leave the Western Wall”, referring to the defender’s struggle to create a mixed prayer space in the most sacred meditation in Judaism.

The Western Wall, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, has been placed under the authority of the radical Orthodox Rabindranath, who has imposed divisions between men and women in the interval of prayer.

In 2016, progressive Jewish movements saw the growth of a mixed space, but former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a face under the pressure of his radical Orthodox allies.

Due to the absence of radical Orthodox MPs in the new coalition government that came to power in June, the agreement was again put on the agenda of the Haradim (“God-fearing”, radical Orthodox).

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In early November, during the “Rosh Hodesh” prayer on the west wall to mark the beginning of the month on the Hebrew calendar, President Isaac Herzog asked Gilad Carrie to cancel his visit.

Despite these tensions, the MP is hopeful that the new government will reach an agreement on the wall and promote religious pluralism.

“I think it fits in well with the spirit of government, broad and diverse coalitions,” he said, referring to the diversity of power, right, center and left parties.