Haredi Parties Are Considering the Separation of Religion and State https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2021/08/haredi-parties-are-considering-the-separation-of-religion-and-state/

August 6, 2021 | Haviv Rettig Gur
About the author: Haviv Rettig Gur is the senior analyst for the Times of Israel.

For the first time in many years, Israel’s ḥaredi parties are not included in the governing coalition. As a result, they are unable to stop the current government’s efforts to reform the chief rabbinate—which include measures currently before the Knesset that would break the rabbinate’s monopoly on kosher certification. Haviv Rettig Gur examines the response of ḥaredi leaders, focusing on those who have suggested the most radical of steps:

On Thursday morning, a startling column appeared in Mishpacha, the most-read ḥaredi weekly. Penned by the Jerusalem deputy mayor Haim Cohen, a longtime [affiliate of the Mizraḥi ḥaredi party] Shas, it carried the blunt headline: “Religion and State: Is It Time to Separate?”

Given the government’s new reforms, Cohen argued, and the resulting decline in ḥaredi control over religious standards, perhaps it’s time to consider dismantling the coercive state religious apparatus altogether. [But] a single column by a single ḥaredi politician isn’t the point. It is the response to it that signals a new disquiet within the community over the ḥaredi demand to control the country’s religious life. . . . [I]t wasn’t the usual run of liberalizing ḥaredi activists who have taken to discussing seriously the idea that religion and state should, for the first time, be separated in the state of Israel. It’s the mainstream.

Read more on Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/facing-religious-reforms-some-haredim-now-call-to-separate-religion-and-state/

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