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Author Topic: Religious Freedom in Israel
The Rabbit
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Before the two state solution thread was locked, there was a question asked that deserves an answer requesting data about the restiction on proselyting in Israel.

The LDS church is not allowed to participate in any form of proselyting in Israel. The LDS churhc has to the best of my knowledge never been allowed to have missionaries in Israel, certainly not since the 1970s. In order to receive permission to build the BYU Jerusalem center in the late 80s, the LDS church had to agree to do no proselyting whatsoever in Israel. I do not know the legal standing of this agreement but I do know it is an agreement the Church takes very literally. Every person who attends the BYU Jerusalem Center or travels to Israel as part of an official LDS group, must sign an affidavit promising that they will not discuss the LDS religion with any Israeli's or Palestinians during their stay. If an Israeli citizen or Palestinian resident of Israeli territory approaches the LDS church and requests to be taught or baptized, they are refused.

So at least as far as the LDS church is concerned, proselyting is prohibited in Israel unless there has been a recent change. I do not know if this type of agreement is unique to the LDS church or is more widespread law that is frequently ignored. But I do know that the LDS is (or at least was last time I checked) barred from proselyting at any level in Israel.

Furthermore, I have an friend/acquaintance who was born in Jerusalem to German Jewish parents who were fleeing the holocaust. As a young man he immigrated to the United States where he converted to Mormonism. He later returned to Jerusalem where he was for many years denied citizenship despite having been born in Israel to Jewish parents because he had converted to Mormonism. He has repeatedly experienced various types of legal discrimination including being forced to move from his Jewish neighborhood and refused government assistance. He is restricted legally from living in many areas because he is Mormon. His children who were born in Israel have had difficulties getting citizenship.

So based on my first had experience, Israel does not have religious freedom.

I suppose its possible that the LDS church and my friend are lying but both my friend and the LDS church are very pro Israeli and I can't think of any reason they would have to lie about religious freedom in Israel.

I hope posting this does not rekindling the fight. That was not my intension.

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Jhai
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Neither example you cited is "first had" (or first hand) experience.

Just sayin'

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Scott R
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Rabbit, from what I understand, the Church agreed to not proselyte in order to stop protests. I don't think that's the same thing as being legally restricted from proselyting; they could proselyte, but they would then have to deal with protesters again.
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Puffy Treat
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It might be wise to wait longer than the very next day after an extremely heated thread is locked.
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Xavier
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Yeah, if I enter into an agreement willingly, it seems a bit lame of me to complain about how much that agreement restricts me.
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Scott R
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quote:
if I enter into an agreement willingly, it seems a bit lame of me to complain about how much that agreement restricts me.
...

Do you own your own home, perchance?

[Smile]

I don't think the Church, officially, complains. (From one point of view) Israel's going to be converted by the return of the Savior, not by clean-cut boys in shirts and ties, speaking garbled Hebrew.

The reaction to Israeli protests is similar to the reaction to ANY objections from just about all quarters: "Us? Hey, we don't say anything bad about YOU...Why you gotta be mean, huh?"

And then we politely acquiesce.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
The LDS church is not allowed to participate in any form of proselyting in Israel. The LDS churhc has to the best of my knowledge never been allowed to have missionaries in Israel, certainly not since the 1970s. In order to receive permission to build the BYU Jerusalem center in the late 80s, the LDS church had to agree to do no proselyting whatsoever in Israel. I do not know the legal standing of this agreement but I do know it is an agreement the Church takes very literally. Every person who attends the BYU Jerusalem Center or travels to Israel as part of an official LDS group, must sign an affidavit promising that they will not discuss the LDS religion with any Israeli's or Palestinians during their stay. If an Israeli citizen or Palestinian resident of Israeli territory approaches the LDS church and requests to be taught or baptized, they are refused.

That makes me respect the LDS Church a bit more. Because there's no law preventing them from doing so. But they made an agreement not to do so, and they're standing by it. I think that deserves some kudos.

In all honesty, I didn't think it'd happen. And I wasn't alone. When the BYU complex in Jerusalem was built, there were huge demonstrations. I was at the biggest one. We were opposed to it for two reasons. One was the fact that LDS is a proselytizing religion, and the other is that it simply isn't appropriate to have big Christian edifices sprouting up in Jerusalem.

But note: the government ignored us and went ahead and sold that land to BYU, and the building went up. And they've been there, unmolested, for over 20 years now. Okay, they conditioned the sale on a commitment from the church not to proselytize, but the church agreed to that deal, so you can hardly call that a lack of religious freedom.

Maybe you're looking at it incorrectly, Rabbit. Maybe instead of castigating us for "banning" missionaries and intimating that it's illegal, you should place a little more reliance in your leaders, who apparently think that it's a good thing to honor commitments made. Clearly, you disagree with them about that. I guess it's a good thing you aren't running the show there.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
So at least as far as the LDS church is concerned, proselyting is prohibited in Israel unless there has been a recent change.

Prohibited by your elders. Complain to them. Stop libeling Israel.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Furthermore, I have an friend/acquaintance who was born in Jerusalem to German Jewish parents who were fleeing the holocaust. As a young man he immigrated to the United States where he converted to Mormonism. He later returned to Jerusalem where he was for many years denied citizenship despite having been born in Israel to Jewish parents because he had converted to Mormonism.

Well, yeah. The guy apostasized, Rabbit. Sure, he's still Jewish, but he's the one who opted out. Now he wants to complain that he isn't being given the same perks as Jews who didn't? That's awfully self-serving.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
He has repeatedly experienced various types of legal discrimination including being forced to move from his Jewish neighborhood and refused government assistance.

Oh, poo. I guarantee you he wasn't forced to move from his Jewish neighborhood. Maybe he was made to feel uncomfortable by neighbors, but if you're implying that there was some sort of governmental coercion, on a national or local level, you're either mistaken or lying through your teeth.

I could say that we were forced to move out of our neighborhood in Ramat Beit Shemesh. After all, we were refused the right to membership in the synagogue we attended. Our apartment was egged. The very first text message I ever received was when we were living there. It said "F--- YOU I KILL YOU". Without the dashes. But we chose to leave. And for all that I criticize the people in town who acted that way, it'd be dishonest in the extreme to claim that we were "forced" to leave.

"Refused government assistence"? For those here who don't know how this works, when a Jew immigrates to Israel and claims citizenship under the Law of Return, there are certain "rights" given to them. Entitlements would probably be a better term. Special mortgage rates. Other things to make immigration easier. Because we want to encourage that. These entitlements are not given to anyone else. If this guy received Israeli citizenship not through the Law of Return, or if he isn't a citizen at all, then of course he wouldn't receive them.

Rabbit, Israel was created as a state for the Jews. As a refuge, but also because it's our home, and after spending almost 2000 years expelled from it against our wishes, and proclaiming our intent to eventually return on a daily basis, we've finally started to do so. So we offer special incentives in order to facilitate the return of our people to our land. To claim "religious discrimination" because we don't offer that to everyone is just silly. Of course it's discrimination. Israel isn't the Israeli state. It's the Jewish state. That's what it exists for.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
He is restricted legally from living in many areas because he is Mormon.

That's a lie. I challenge you to support the claim. When Arabs tried moving into a Jewish neighborhood and an attempt was made to prevent them by the people living there, it went to court, and the court overruled the locals. There is absolutely no law of the sort that you're claiming. Either you're making that up, or your friend made it up, or you misunderstood your friend.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
His children who were born in Israel have had difficulties getting citizenship.

Are they Jewish? Did he marry a Jew? If they aren't Jewish, why do you think they should get citizenship? Just because they were born there? Because that's how it works in the US? Sorry, but that's hardly the rule, and it'll never be the rule in Israel. As I said, Israel is the state of the Jews; not the state of the people who happen to live there at any given time.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
So based on my first had experience, Israel does not have religious freedom.

"First hand"? You have a strange definition of that term.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I suppose its possible that the LDS church and my friend are lying but both my friend and the LDS church are very pro Israeli and I can't think of any reason they would have to lie about religious freedom in Israel.

If they actually told you he's forbidden from living in certain places, then yes, he lied. Or perhaps you misunderstood him. And as far as the proselytizing goes, again, that's because some people in your church have the moral sense to keep their word. It's no law of ours, more's the pity.
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Xavier
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quote:

Do you own your own home, perchance?

I rent. I'm trying to anticipate what you are getting at here, but I'm not sure I've made the connection just yet.
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Scott R
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People complain about rent/mortgage all the time. Despite it being a contract walked into with one's eyes open (supposedly), willingness doesn't always remove the pain of having to comply.
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Blayne Bradley
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I completely agree with Lisa, this seems very valid and straightforward.
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scifibum
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So - religious freedom, yes. Tempered by significant religious discrimination, yes. Right?q
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Xavier
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quote:
People complain about rent/mortgage all the time. Despite it being a contract walked into with one's eyes open (supposedly), willingness doesn't always remove the pain of having to comply.
Sure, but if I claim that my apartment complex is somehow oppressing me by making me pay rent, I'd be rightfully laughed at. Saying that LDS members don't have religious freedom because they can't proselytize is implicitly claiming oppression.

The word "complaining" was perhaps was not strong enough for what Rabbit was doing.

I am not claiming that religious freedom in Israel is not restricted in other ways, some which are more convincing to me personally than Rabbit's initial example.

Added: For instance, I don't think the amount of "religious freedom" in a country is determined by it's government only. Legal religious freedom is not always actual freedom. I think the population of a country can oppress it's minorities as effectively as it's government can.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
...
So based on my first had experience, Israel does not have religious freedom.

I don't know if that would be literally be "does not have religious freedom." Surely religious freedom, even in the US, is not some boolean value and there are floating-point values of religious freedom that different nations have chosen to permit.

In other words, Israel, taking what you described at face value, is a far cry from areas and periods of history that could really be described as not having religious freedom.

quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
... Rabbit, Israel was created as a state for the Jews. As a refuge, but also because it's our home ...

In retrospect, it seems less of a refuge than a pretty well "designed" trap. I don't mean designed in the sense that there was any malicious intent, but one would be hard-pressed to design a place with a better draw for a population, better surrounded by enemies, and cursed with worse interfering "allies".

quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
... To claim "religious discrimination" because we don't offer that to everyone is just silly. Of course it's discrimination.

Heh.
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Scott R
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NOW that we've gotten that out of the way-- I'm not sure we should consider Israel our A#1 national charity case until they agree to stop discriminating against non-Jews.

I'm NOT in favor of a Jewish state. I think it's ridiculous.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
So - religious freedom, yes. Tempered by significant religious discrimination, yes. Right?q

Basically, yes. Discrimination, but no persecution. And for the record, the state is so secular that sometimes the discrimination is reversed. For example, the child of a Jewish mother is Jewish according to Judaism. But Islam (at least according to the Muslims in Israel) says it goes by the father. So in cases where a Muslim man marries a Jewish women (r'ltz), the State of Israel, in all its slavish wish to bend over backwards and make others happy, registers the child as Muslim.
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Lisa
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Bummer, Scott. God disagrees.

Anyway, if you want to start a petition to cut off all aid to the entire region, I'll sign it. And I live in Chicago, so I can sign it several times, if you like.

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adenam
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Rabbit, if your friend was born Jewish in Jerusalem, wouldn't he already be a citizen?
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Scott R
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quote:
God disagrees.
About what? There being a Jewish state?

That the land of Canaan is meant to be the homeland of the Jews is fine (religiously speaking). I'm perfectly fine with continuing to support democracy there. I'm not fine with continuing to support discriminatory practices, or restriction of non-Jewish immigration.

Israel is the homeland of my religion, too. I'm willing to share, and I think we can get along peacefully.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
...
Anyway, if you want to start a petition to cut off all aid to the entire region, I'll sign it.

Amen to that.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
God disagrees.
About what? There being a Jewish state?

That the land of Canaan is meant to be the homeland of the Jews is fine (religiously speaking). I'm perfectly fine with continuing to support democracy there. I'm not fine with continuing to support discriminatory practices, or restriction of non-Jewish immigration.

Israel is the homeland of my religion, too. I'm willing to share, and I think we can get along peacefully.

Under certain circumstances, and for now. Sure.
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Baron Samedi
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
And for the record, the state is so secular that sometimes the discrimination is reversed. For example, the child of a Jewish mother is Jewish according to Judaism. But Islam (at least according to the Muslims in Israel) says it goes by the father. So in cases where a Muslim man marries a Jewish women (r'ltz), the State of Israel, in all its slavish wish to bend over backwards and make others happy, registers the child as Muslim.

That's your definition of a "secular" state?

This might blow your mind, but some countries are so secular that they don't legally assign a religion to every newborn infant. Scandalous, ain't it?

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Scott R
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quote:
the State of Israel, in all its slavish wish to bend over backwards and make others happy, registers the child as Muslim.
Slavish? If the child was Jewish, they'd have to give it "entitlements..."
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Stephan
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J4J plans on ending their worldwide city tour in Israel. (They may already have?) I remember them in Baltimore a couple of years ago. When reading about it, I never saw anything about it being illegal to try and spread their religion. I can imagine more than a few protests though. But freedom of speech tends to go along with freeedom of religion.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
the State of Israel, in all its slavish wish to bend over backwards and make others happy, registers the child as Muslim.
Slavish? If the child was Jewish, they'd have to give it "entitlements..."
Nope. Just new immigrants. Yes, there are some entitlements that are given to soldiers after finishing regular army, but those are different.
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adenam
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Wouldn't a better term for the benefits recieved by people with 1 Jewish grandparent upon immigration be 'incentives' rather than 'entitlements'.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
But note: the government ignored us and went ahead and sold that land to BYU, and the building went up. And they've been there, unmolested, for over 20 years now. Okay, they conditioned the sale on a commitment from the church not to proselytize, but the church agreed to that deal, so you can hardly call that a lack of religious freedom.
As I understand the sequence of events, the government would not agree to sell the land and permit the building until the church agreed to do no proselyting. Refusing to allow groups to buy property and build schools unless they surrender their religious liberties is an infringement of religious liberty.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by adenam:
Rabbit, if your friend was born Jewish in Jerusalem, wouldn't he already be a citizen?

He was born in Jerusalem during WWII under the British mandate. He had 4 Jewish grandparents. Based on those facts, he should have been recognized as a citizen automatically when he returned to Jerusalem, he was not because he had converted to Mormonism. He was eventually granted citzenship after a long legal battle. His children were born before he won his battle for citizenship which is why they have also had difficulties. But the fact is that if he had been a Jew who was a completely non-observant athiest, he wouldn't have had any trouble. He was discriminated against because he had converted.
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Xavier
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quote:
As I understand the sequence of events, the government would not agree to sell the land and permit the building until the church agreed to do no proselyting. Refusing to allow groups to buy property and build schools unless they surrender their religious liberties is an infringement of religious liberty.
Did the land belong to the Israeli government?

If so, I disagree. They have every right to refuse to sell their land, for whatever reasons they see fit.

Now if it was a private individual or group that was selling the land, and the government blocked it, then I'd have to reconsider. Not sure how I'd feel about that.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... But the fact is that if he had been a Jew who was a completely non-observant athiest, he wouldn't have had any trouble.

From context, would it be correct to guess that the Israeli government asks about your religion when you return and that the hypothetical non-observant atheist would have to identify as a Jew or something?
Or is it ok to be non-religious, simply not to be "something else"?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Maybe you're looking at it incorrectly, Rabbit. Maybe instead of castigating us for "banning" missionaries and intimating that it's illegal, you should place a little more reliance in your leaders, who apparently think that it's a good thing to honor commitments made. Clearly, you disagree with them about that. I guess it's a good thing you aren't running the show there.
What gives you the idea that I think our church leaders are wrong to honor the commitments they made? I don't. I agree that they should honor those commitments. My point is that they shouldn't have been required to make that kind of commitment before the government would grant them building permits and selling them land. That kind of requirement is an abridgement of religious freedom.

How is this any different from a Condo association banning the display of a Mezuzah? link In this case the condo owner also agreed to follow the rules of the condo association when she purchased her home. Why is restricting peoples religions as a condition of property any less a violation of religious freedom in Israel than it is in the US.

Your religion is not the only one that considers Jerusalem a sacred place. The fact that you find it inappropriate for Christians whose religion was founded in Jerusalem to build a school in Jerusalem is a good reason alone to object to having people who share your views in charge of an area held sacred in 3 major world religions.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
"Refused government assistence"? For those here who don't know how this works, when a Jew immigrates to Israel and claims citizenship under the Law of Return, there are certain "rights" given to them. Entitlements would probably be a better term. Special mortgage rates. Other things to make immigration easier. Because we want to encourage that. These entitlements are not given to anyone else. If this guy received Israeli citizenship not through the Law of Return, or if he isn't a citizen at all, then of course he wouldn't receive them.
The point is that he had four Jewish grandparents and so should have been granted citizenship under the right of return along with all the benefits associate with that. He was not because he had converted to Mormonism. If a law grants citizenship and benefits to all people with at least one Jewish grandparent except those who belong to particular sects -- that is religious discrimination.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
If so, I disagree. They have every right to refuse to sell their land, for whatever reasons they see fit.
No! I mean certainly a government can make any rules it wants to make but if the US government (or even a private group in the US) refused to sell the land to people because of their religious beliefs and practices, we would consider it a violation of religious freedom. I don't see why it is less so in Israel.

As I understand it, the land on which the Jerusalem center is built was not owned by the Israeli government. It is a special class of land whose owners are unknown because they were displaced during one of the Israeli wars. There are a very large number of restrictions to building on this type of land which required government approval. The LDS church met (and I am told) exceeded all these requirements included extensive search for the owners of the land or their descendent and establishing a trust fund of Palestinian students. I believe that the LDS church only leases the land and does not own it (a rare circumstance for the LDS church).

Exceeding all the written requirements was however not considered adequate to receive government approval until the church agreed to what is in essence a gag order. That isn't religious freedom.

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MattP
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Yay Wikipedia:
quote:
The land the church wanted for the center, located on the southwestern side of Mount Scopus, had been acquired by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967 and could not be sold under Israeli law. The church decided to obtain a lease on the land instead. Leasing the land also prevented the politically controversial problem of the church owning a piece of Jerusalem land. Israeli officials saw the building of the center on the land as a way of solidifying control over land whose ownership was ambiguous under international law. By August 1984, the church had the land on a 49-year lease, building permits had been obtained, and construction on the building began.
<snip lots of text about protests>
quote:
A subcommittee of the Knesset requested that the LDS Church issue a formal promise not to proselytize Jews.
So it doesn't sound like it was a requirement, though it's possible it would have become one.

Edit to add: In case it's not clear, they started building long before they made the agreement. The agreement was made at the request of the Knesset in response to protests after construction was already underway.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
From context, would it be correct to guess that the Israeli government asks about your religion when you return and that the hypothetical non-observant atheist would have to identify as a Jew or something?
Or is it ok to be non-religious, simply not to be "something else"?

I don't know but does it really matter? Israel does not require that you observe the Law of Moses to become a citizen. It does not require that you are recognized as Jewish by the Jewish Rabbinate. it does not require you even profess a belief in the Jewish God. What the law requires for citizenship under right of return is at least one Jewish grandparent. If they exclude people with one type of religious belief (Mormonism) but not another (Atheism) that is religious discrimination.

If it were the other way around, they excluded people of Jewish ancestry who confessed to being athiests, wouldn't you consider that religious discrimination?

[ June 11, 2009, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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The Rabbit
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Thanks Matt for confirming my recollection about the ownership of the land.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
So in cases where a Muslim man marries a Jewish women (r'ltz), the State of Israel, in all its slavish wish to bend over backwards and make others happy, registers the child as Muslim.
Is this true regardless of the wishes of the parents? Could the parents choose to have the child registered as Jewish or something else?

According to my sources, interfaith and non-religious marriages are not recognized in Israel so I'm not sure what you mean about the state Slavishly bending over when Muslim man "marries" a Jewish woman.

What do the do when a child has a Jewish father and a Muslim mother?

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Mucus
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The Rabbit: I'm asking out of curiosity mostly. The mechanics of it are kind of interesting.

As I understand it, Lisa has already acknowledged that it is discrimination, period, so it is not really necessary to ask me [Wink]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
The land the church wanted for the center, located on thSo it doesn't sound like it was a requirement, though it's possible it would have become one.

Edit to add: In case it's not clear, they started building long before they made the agreement. The agreement was made at the request of the Knesset in response to protests after construction was already underway.

From the same Wikipedia article,

quote:
Protests and opposition to the building of the center springing from the Haredim made the issue of building the center a national and even international issue. After several investigative committees of Israel's Knesset reviewed and debated the issue, Israeli officials decided to allow the center's construction to continue in 1986.
It was during this review period that the Knesset requested that the LDS promise it would refrain from proselyting in Israel and only after the church agreed that the building was allowed to go forward. View that how you will.

In my mind, it doesn't really matter whether either side explicitly stated that this was a condition required for building -- the implication is very clear.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Are they Jewish? Did he marry a Jew? If they aren't Jewish, why do you think they should get citizenship? Just because they were born there? Because that's how it works in the US? Sorry, but that's hardly the rule, and it'll never be the rule in Israel. As I said, Israel is the state of the Jews; not the state of the people who happen to live there at any given time.
And this is exactly what I object to. Every human being deserves the right to citizenship in his native land. I can see possible exceptions for people who are born in a country where their parents are visitors and have citizenship in another country, but not for people whose permanent homes and parents homes and citizenship are in that land. This is a fundamental human right and restricting fundamental rights based on religion is wrong.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Under certain circumstances, and for now. Sure.
That's just the sort of talk that engenders long, peaceful relations with one's neighbors.

Edit: And y'know Lisa, you've said many times that you'd support a complete and immediate cessation of US foreign aid to Israel. I believe you mean it, but I'm not so sure at all if you'd keep meaning it if this ever became anything more substantial than the very abstract issue it is right now.

Because right now, and for the forseeable future, US foreign aid is going to keep flowing to Israel. Both parties want it to continue, with no signs showing of that mutual desire tapering off. So I guess what I'm saying is, "It sounds nice."

ETA:
quote:
This is a fundamental human right and restricting fundamental rights based on religion is wrong.
Is it always wrong, in all cases?

[ June 11, 2009, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: Rakeesh ]

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by adenam:
Wouldn't a better term for the benefits recieved by people with 1 Jewish grandparent upon immigration be 'incentives' rather than 'entitlements'.

It doesn't connote properly. Zechuyot are usually called rights by Anglos, but to be zakkai to something means to be entitled to it.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
But note: the government ignored us and went ahead and sold that land to BYU, and the building went up. And they've been there, unmolested, for over 20 years now. Okay, they conditioned the sale on a commitment from the church not to proselytize, but the church agreed to that deal, so you can hardly call that a lack of religious freedom.
As I understand the sequence of events, the government would not agree to sell the land and permit the building until the church agreed to do no proselyting. Refusing to allow groups to buy property and build schools unless they surrender their religious liberties is an infringement of religious liberty.
Think of it as zoning.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by adenam:
Rabbit, if your friend was born Jewish in Jerusalem, wouldn't he already be a citizen?

He was born in Jerusalem during WWII under the British mandate. He had 4 Jewish grandparents. Based on those facts, he should have been recognized as a citizen automatically when he returned to Jerusalem, he was not because he had converted to Mormonism. He was eventually granted citzenship after a long legal battle. His children were born before he won his battle for citizenship which is why they have also had difficulties. But the fact is that if he had been a Jew who was a completely non-observant athiest, he wouldn't have had any trouble. He was discriminated against because he had converted.
Well... yeah. You make it sound like "big deal, he converted". Israel isn't America. Israel is a country of the Jews, by the Jews, and for the Jews. Someone who has utterly turned his back on that and then turning around and asking for the perks that go with being Jewish... that's a fairly good definition of chutzpah.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... But the fact is that if he had been a Jew who was a completely non-observant athiest, he wouldn't have had any trouble.

From context, would it be correct to guess that the Israeli government asks about your religion when you return and that the hypothetical non-observant atheist would have to identify as a Jew or something?
Or is it ok to be non-religious, simply not to be "something else"?

When you move to Israel, you're asked your religion. If you don't identify as a Jew, then you don't get the rights given to a Jew.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
My point is that they shouldn't have been required to make that kind of commitment before the government would grant them building permits and selling them land. That kind of requirement is an abridgement of religious freedom.

How is this any different from a Condo association banning the display of a Mezuzah? link

The United States was founded on the premise that it is a nation of the people, by the people and for the people. Israel wasn't. It has a specific purpose, and that's for a specific group of people.

I was furious that they allowed BYU to build there, and I still look forward to the day when that building is used for something more appropriate to its location.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Your religion is not the only one that considers Jerusalem a sacred place.

So? It's still our country.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
The point is that he had four Jewish grandparents and so should have been granted citizenship under the right of return along with all the benefits associate with that. He was not because he had converted to Mormonism. If a law grants citizenship and benefits to all people with at least one Jewish grandparent except those who belong to particular sects -- that is religious discrimination.

Okay. And I'm fine with that. If I lived in Vatican City, I'd expect that there are things available for Catholics that aren't available for me. But I wouldn't accept that in Chicago. If someone doesn't like the fact that the Jewish state is Jewish, they don't have to go there.
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katharina
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Every word you say makes more convinced that a theocracy is a disaster for human dignity.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
... When you move to Israel, you're asked your religion. If you don't identify as a Jew, then you don't get the rights given to a Jew.

If that is correct, then it seems to me that it didn't make sense for The Rabbit to breakout atheist Jews and Mormon Jews as being treated separately, both get treated the same.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
If so, I disagree. They have every right to refuse to sell their land, for whatever reasons they see fit.
No! I mean certainly a government can make any rules it wants to make but if the US government (or even a private group in the US) refused to sell the land to people because of their religious beliefs and practices, we would consider it a violation of religious freedom. I don't see why it is less so in Israel.
You don't see, or you don't want to see? You seem intent on considering Israel a mini-USA, and judging it by the standards of the USA. But it isn't the USA. It's Israel. As a mini-USA, it's a terrible failure. As a Jewish state, it's also pretty screwed up, but at least there's some Jewish character.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
As I understand it, the land on which the Jerusalem center is built was not owned by the Israeli government. It is a special class of land whose owners are unknown because they were displaced during one of the Israeli wars. There are a very large number of restrictions to building on this type of land which required government approval. The LDS church met (and I am told) exceeded all these requirements included extensive search for the owners of the land or their descendent and establishing a trust fund of Palestinian students. I believe that the LDS church only leases the land and does not own it (a rare circumstance for the LDS church).

That's a technicality. All land outside of the Green Line (the 1949 armistice line) is leased. When I bought my home in Maaleh Adumim, I bought the structure, and leased the land. It's a 99 year lease, and while we haven't had to deal with what happens at the end of the 99 years, I suspect they'll all simply be extended. Or rolled over into another 99 year lease.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I don't know but does it really matter? Israel does not require that you observe the Law of Moses to become a citizen. It does not require that you are recognized as Jewish by the Jewish Rabbinate. it does not require you even profess a belief in the Jewish God. What the law requires for citizenship under right of return is at least one Jewish grandparent. If they exclude people with one type of religious belief (Mormonism) but not another (Atheism) that is religious discrimination.

Don't feel bad. It isn't that you're Mormon. It's that you're Christian. A nation that's been targeted by Christians and Christianity for 17 centuries, with forced conversions and pogroms and torture and all the other fun and games, is entitled to require restraint from them in our own damn home!

Also, atheism isn't a religion; it's a mistake.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
If it were the other way around, they excluded people of Jewish ancestry who confessed to being athiests, wouldn't you consider that religious discrimination?

If the Jewish state were to do that? Yes, I'd consider that a mighty big problem. As a matter of fact, the State of Israel does discriminate against Jews. I remember a letter in the Jerusalem Post from a Christian lady who'd come to Israel on a visit. She went up to the Temple Mount, and she was so spiritually charged by the experience that she took out a psalmter (is that the right word? A book of Psalms?) and started saying them quietly to herself.

She was immediately arrested, and only released when she managed to prove that she wasn't a Jew.

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