Yeshiva University Petitions the Supreme Court for Permission Not to Recognize the “Pride Alliance” Club

Aug. 30 2022

Located in upper Manhattan, Yeshiva University has always sought to be both a university in the full sense of the world and an Orthodox yeshiva. While its undergraduates are almost entirely observant Jews, most of whom undertake a rigorous program of religious study, its graduate and professional schools have many non-Jewish students. The tensions between these aspects of its mission have come to the fore in the ongoing controversy over whether it should recognize a club for gay and lesbian students. YU’s decision not to recognize the student group has led it to petition the Supreme Court. Ed Whelan explains the case, and why it deserves a hearing from the country’s highest judicial body:

The particular dispute arises from an effort by Yeshiva students to create an undergraduate LGBTQ club—and to do so precisely in order to alter Yeshiva’s religious environment—but the issue would be exactly the same if, say, other students wanted to form a Jews for Jesus club: does Yeshiva have the religious freedom to implement its beliefs about how to form its undergraduate students in Torah values?

A New York trial court ruled that the New York City Human Rights Law requires Yeshiva to recognize an official Pride Alliance club. It has entered a permanent injunction against Yeshiva, and New York’s higher courts have denied Yeshiva’s requests for emergency relief. The club application process is now open, so absent emergency relief from the Supreme Court, the permanent injunction will require Yeshiva to approve the club “immediately.”

Yeshiva compellingly argues that the lower court’s order tramples its First Amendment autonomy as a religious institution.

Read more at National Review

More about: Freedom of Religion, LGBTQ, Supreme Court, Yeshiva University

Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship