Two comments before we discuss the main issue:
- Most of this site is in Hebrew - this page is for those of you who do
not have Hebrew fonts or do not read Hebrew;
- The Hofesh site is maintained by several people, during their free
time. Since these people are too busy to maintain an English version of
the site, currently you will have to learn Hebrew in order to read the
daily updates in the Hofesh site. We apologize for that. If you'd like to
translate the Hofesh site to English (or Russian) on a daily basis,
please contact us.
As you may know, Israel was founded as a Jewish homeland. However, our
declaration of independence vows to respect individual equality,
regardless of religion, gender or race.
Unfortunately, certain groups in Israeli
society are constantly trying to undermine these principles, taking
advantage of the fact that Israel has no constitution and that there is
no separation of Church and State.
The ultra-orthodox political parties have a
pivotal role in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) despite having
fewer than 20% of the seats, because they hold the balance of power no
matter which of the major parties wins an election. This is because no
party can get more than 50% of the seats. In many ways the
ultra-orthodox parties are ideal partners for parties of both left and
right because they do not have a political agenda regarding social or
national security issues. However, in return for their support, the
right and left transfer funds to the religious education system (which
is not supervised by the State) and pass oppresive Jewish religious
Did you know:
Well, you've probably got the idea . . .
- It is illegal to grow pork in Israel, and many municipalities forbid selling pork.
- It is impossible to get married in Israel by a civil ceremony.
- There is nearly no public transportation in Israel on Saturday.
- It is illegal to open a business on Saturday.
- Hurting someone's religious feelings is a criminal offense.
- Orthodox religious women and many religious men are
exempt from military service (which lasts for at least 3 years for men
and nearly 2 years for women).
- Religion lessons are mandatory in all Israeli schools.
- You cannot buy non-Kosher goods in major food chains (with the recent exception of Tiv Taam).
- A class in a religious school has on the average 26 students. A secular class has close to 40.
- The State does not fund non-religious burial ceremonies.
- Some of the main streets in Jerusalem are blocked every Saturday, because the orthodox people want them to be.
This site is all about what the religious
parties are doing, and about what secular people can (and should) do.
It contains links to organizations devoted to freedom of speech and
opinion and to commercial bodies which should be boycotted for
surrendering to religious demands.
Help us live in a free country - closer to Europe than to Iran!