The Jewish Interest in New Federal Regulations on Insurance Coverage for Birth Control

Oct. 16 2017

Reversing regulations instituted in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services recently allowed employers to request exemptions on religious grounds from providing their employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives. While many on the left see the new rules as an assault on individual rights, Bethany Mandel argues that they are in fact a victory for religious liberty, and one that Jews in particular, whatever their personal opinions on birth control, ought to appreciate.

This “right” to free birth control, which only came into existence with Obamacare less than a decade ago, is now apparently sacrosanct to liberal Jewish groups like the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and Bend the Arc Jewish Action, who are opposing the rollout of these new [regulations]. . . .

Jews more than anyone else should respect the sanctity of religious freedom, which is what’s behind the Trump administration’s rollback. . . . And if these Jewish organizations can’t understand why others would oppose abortion, maybe they can understand why companies shouldn’t be forced to pay for something their owners consider a violation of their religion’s core beliefs. We don’t have to agree with these beliefs in order to . . . respect them. . . .

If women choose to use birth control, nobody—neither President Trump nor their employers—can force them not to. And just as nobody should be able to dictate the healthcare choices of American women, we should not be dictating to Americans that they have to violate their religious principles in order do business.

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Read more at Forward

More about: American politics, Freedom of Religion, Obamacare, Politics & Current Affairs

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror