Has Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Declared War on Modern Orthodoxy?

Shlomo Riskin, a leading figure in Modern Orthodoxy, has held the position of rabbi of Efrat for over 30 years. The Israeli chief rabbinate is now trying to force him from his post, as David M. Weinberg writes:

[The chief rabbinate] is taking advantage of a never-before-used loophole to “review” Rabbi Riskin’s tenure at seventy-five, and threatening to deny him the automatic five-year extension as city rabbi that he richly deserves.

It’s true that Riskin is a maverick religious leader, who has been willing to push the envelope of accepted public policy beyond conventional thinking within Orthodox circles. He has been a critic of the chief rabbinate and the rabbinical courts on various issues, including its policies on marriage, divorce, and conversion. More than that, he has established independent conversion courts and appointed women to formal positions as spiritual advisers.

Yet Riskin’s approach always has been one of pleasantness. He moves cautiously and civilly, always watchful to respect his senior colleagues and careful to anchor his moves within valid halakhic boundaries. Even those who disagree with him have no cause or right to strike at him so brutally. At most, they should continue to debate and challenge him. . . .

Crushing him will be considered open warfare against Modern Orthodoxy and religious Zionism—and I expect that those communities will fight back. They will fight back by doing the one thing they have debated and debated and so not wanted to do, and until now have tried to avoid: support the dismantling of the state rabbinate. But a nasty and radical rabbinate that humiliates Rabbi Riskin will have lost its legitimacy.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Haredim, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Chief Rabbinate, Modern Orthodoxy, Religious Zionism

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security