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The Day In Israel: Wednesday July 21st, 2010

Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has cancelled a travel warning issued on Turkey after the flotilla raid.

The bureau issued a statement saying the warning had been withdrawn due to a “calm and lack of mass rallies against Israel”.

However the bureau recommended that Israelis residing in Turkey “stay away from any rally that may be, and refrain from getting into political arguments with locals”.

“The warning was not based on intelligence but rather a fear that the mass rallies there, which were rather outspoken, will deteriorate to violence against Israelis,” he said.

“Since then, for the past month and a half, there have been no rallies, and from an intelligence point of view no terror threats are known of.”

Har-Nof qualified his statement, however, by saying that “tomorrow morning something new could develop”, and warned Israelis against getting caught up in unnecessary political demonstrations.

“The rules of behavior for the entire world apply there as well: Don’t stand out, don’t speak Hebrew in problematic areas and don’t bear any sign of Israeli identity,” he said

But other than that, feel safe to go to Turkey!

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has met with head Hamashole Khaled Meshal in Syria.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

7:06PM: The IDF has reportedly turned another terrorist into worm food.

One man was killed and at least six more were injured near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday when IDF forces fired at suspected gunmen approaching the security fence, Palestinian sources reported.

The man killed has been identified as Muhammad Caparana according to the sources.  Army Radio reported that IDF tank fire killed the man who was a member of the Islamic Jihad.

The IDF said of the incident that tank fire was employed to deter a group of armed men who were approaching the security fence with the intention of placing an explosive device.

I think you know what time it is.

Reaper time!

4:10PM: I have not dealt with Israel’s conversion bill controversy because quite frankly, I do not have the time to cover everything and I prefer to focus on the Middle East conflict and not internal matters.

However, due to some commenters wondering why I have not mentioned it (ok, maybe one), I have decided to say a few words on the subject.

Firstly, the bill to which I am referring is available here in Hebrew, while here is an English translation:

Version for Discussion – Preparation for First Reading – July 12, 2010

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel (Amendment – Jurisdiction with respect to Conversions) Bill, 5770-2010
Amendment of Section 2

1. In section 2 of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law 5740-1980[1] (hereinafter: the “Principal Law”), the following shall be inserted after paragraph (6):

“(6A) Responsibility for Conversion Issues in Israel. The provisions of this paragraph shall not derogate from the powers to conduct conversions in Israel granted to the special conversion courts by government decision, nor from the existing powers of the Rabbinical Courts under any law;”

Addition of Sections 24A – 24D

2.The following shall be inserted after section 24 of the Principal Law:

“Qualifications of Members of Special Rabbinical Court 24A.

(a) A municipal rabbi or the rabbi of a local council, or a person who acted as a municipal rabbi or as a rabbi of a local council under the Jewish Religious Services Law [Consolidated Version], 5731-1971[2], and whose office was not terminated under the provisions of section 12A of such law (in this section and in sections 24B and 24C, a municipal rabbi) may conduct conversion together with two other municipal rabbis or with two members of a special conversion court set up by virtue of government decision, as set out in section 2(6A) (all three jointly – a Special Rabbinical Court), provided that the conversion is performed by the special court lawfully, following acceptance of the burden of the Torah and commandments as required by Jewish law.

(b) Should the Chief Rabbis of Israel find that a member of a Special Rabbinical Court has acted in a way unbecoming of his status or that a member of a Special Rabbinical Court is not conducting conversions in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (a), they shall be entitled to determine that such Special Rabbinical Court shall not be entitled to conduct conversions under this Law.

(c) Procedures for hearings and matters before the Chief Rabbis in proceedings under sub-section (b) shall be set out in regulations, with the consent of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset.

Powers of Special Rabbinical Court 24B.

(a) A Special Rabbinical Court shall be authorized to discuss the conversion of an Israeli National or a holder of a permanent residence permit in Israel under the Entry in Israel Law, 5712-1952[3] (hereinafter: a “holder of a permanent residence permit”), wherever the place of residence of the applicant may be, and to give certificates of such.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-section (a), a Special Rabbinical Court shall be authorized to discuss the conversion of a person who is not an Israeli National or a holder of a permanent residence permit if such person is given a certificate in accordance with the rules prescribed by the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

(c) The verdict of a Special Rabbinical Court allowing a conversion shall serve as evidence of the Jewishness of the bearer of the certificate; however, such conversion, if effected in contravention of the rules set out under sub-section (b) shall have no force regarding the granting of visas, including an immigrant’s visa, nor regarding the grant of Israeli citizenship.

(d) (1) Cancellation of a conversion conducted by a Special Rabbinical Court shall have no force unless the Court that conducted the conversion rules that it was conducted on the basis of misleading information or intentional concealment of information by the party seeking conversion prior to the conversion.

(2) Should the question of the validity of a conversion arise for any other reason, before a Rabbinical Court or before any other Court in Israel, or before the Registrar of Marriages, the ruling on the question of conversion shall be brought before the Court in which the conversion took place or before a special panel of a Regional Rabbinical Court to be appointed by the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

(e) Should the Special Rabbinical Court that conducted the conversion have dispersed or should at least two of its members have ceased to serve as members of the Court, the ruling under sub-section (d) shall be submitted to a special panel to be appointed by the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

(f) A decision to cancel a conversion shall require the consent of the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court, and shall be of no force in the absence of such consent.

24C. An appeal against a ruling to cancel a conversion under section 24B(d) may be submitted to the Supreme Rabbinical Court in a panel headed by the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court, the judges on which panel shall be appointed by the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court.
Registration of Marriage

24D. (a) A member of a Special Rabbinical Court serving as a Rabbinical Registrar of Marriages shall be authorized to handle registration of the marriage of a couple at least one of which has converted in a Special Rabbinical Court, wherever the couple’s place of residence may be.

(b) Should no member of the Special Rabbinical Court serve as a Rabbinical Registrar of Marriages, the Council shall, at the proposal of the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court, appoint one or more members of a Special Rabbinical Court for conversion who are qualified to act as a Rabbinical Registrar of Marriages to handle registration of the marriage of the couple as set out in sub-section (a).

Regulations under Sections 24A – 24C

24E. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 31, regulations and rules under sections 24A to 24D shall be made by the Minister of Justice with the consent of the Chief Judge of the Supreme Rabbinical Court and with the approval of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset only.”
Amendment of Nationality Law

3. The following shall be inserted in section 2(c) of the Nationality Law, 5712-1952[4], after paragraph (6):

“(7) to a person who, prior to entry into Israel, was not entitled to receive an ‘oleh visa or an ‘oleh’s certificate”.

4. The provisions of the Hearing of Conversion Applications Rules, 5766-2006[5] shall be deemed to have been made lawfully under the provisions of this Law.

[1] Sefer Hachukim, 5760, p. 90.

[2] Sefer Hachukim, 5731, p. 130.

[3] Sefer Hachukim, 5712, p. 353.

[4] Sefer Hachukim, 5712, p. 14; 5768, p. 810.

[5] Yalkut Pirsumim, 5765, p. 2062.

One of the clearest analyzes of the bill I have seen comes from Dr Jeffrey Woolf:

This bill has absolutely nothing to do with Diaspora Jewry. It does not affect the Law of Return. It does not affect conversions done abroad.

If anything, it is a salutary step in the right direction as it breaks the monopoly of the radical Hareidim who’ve taken over the rabbinical court system. De facto, it strengthens a more lenient approach to conversion, prevents retroactive anullment of conversions and opens the door to resolving the status of non-Jewish Russian immigrants.

True, it does not allow for Reform and Conservative conversion in Israel, but that was never the case. We can debate that one separately, but to argue that this bill denies any Diaspora Jew their place in Israel, or delegitimizes 2/3 of Jewry is to indulge in the kind of demagogy that we keep fighting against.

This bill (if it is applied correctly) should not be used by interested parties to undermine Jewish solidarity.

See also here.

1:58PM: Prison is too good for this man.

1:55PM: A Puerto Rican court has ordered North Korea to pay $378 million compensation to the families of those killed in the 1972 terror attack on Lod Airport, since they funded the training of the terrorists involved in the attack.

In May 1972 three terrorists from the Japanese Red Army, working with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, brought automatic weapons, ammunition and grenades with them in their check-in bags on a flight from Italy to Israel.

After collecting their luggage, they opened fire in every direction, hitting passengers, flight crew members and airport personnel. Seventy-four people were injured in the attack. Israeli Professor Aharon Katzir, a top scientist at the Weizmann Institute, was among the dead.

The terrorists also tried to bomb airplanes on the ground using hand grenades.

One of the terrorists was killed by security forces, another committed suicide, and the third, Kozo Akumoto was arrested and jailed in Israel. He was released in 1985 as part of the Jibril Agreement.

11:44AM: Israellycool contributor Brian of London asked Middle East for Foreign Office spokesman Martin Day whether he has any plans to visit either Gaza’s brand new shopping mall or Olympic size swimming pool to see, first hand, the impact of Israel’s crushing blockade.

Here’s Mr Day’s response:


I have not yet had the chance to visit Gaza, but the UK Government believes  the situation in Gaza is a tragedy and unsustainable. We welcomed Israel’s recent decision to ease restrictions on goods entering Gaza. All parties must now work together urgently to deliver real change on the ground – which will mean building capacity at the crossings, getting vital reconstruction projects up and running and ensuring that Gazans can export as well as import goods.


Talk about avoiding the question.

6:15AM: Sealed with a kiss (watch until the very end).

Seal is set to perform in concert here tonight.

6:06AM: And now for the next in my series on A Taste of “Concentration Camp” Gaza: The Aldeira Hotel

6:02AM: The spanking brand new Gaza mall, is now on video, replete with captions (as I had in these two posts)

A Palestinian man has been convicted of rape ‘by deception’ after having consensual sex with a woman who had believed him to be a fellow Jew.

Sabbar Kashur, 30, who had introduced himself as Daniel, was only charged with the offence when she later realised he was an Arab.

A court in Jerusalem made international legal history by jailing the delivery driver for 18 months despite acknowledging it had not been ‘a ‘a classical rape by force’.
Divided city: Jerusalem, where sex between Arabs and Jews is a taboo. Here, a court made legal history by convicting Sabbar Kashur, 30, of rape by deception after he had introduced himself as Daniel

Divided erusalem: Here, sex between Arabs and Jews is a taboo and Sabbar Kashur was convicted of rape ‘by deception’ after introducing himself as Daniel

The unusual case underscores the racial tensions between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities, where intimate relations between the two are often regarded as taboo.

The court heard that Mr Kashur misled the woman by introducing himself with a traditionally Jewish name during a chance encounter in central Jerusalem in 2008.

Mr Kashur, from the Arab sector of East Jerusalem, had also suggested he was a bachelor seeking a serious relationship.

The two then had consensual sex in a nearby building before Mr Kashur left before the woman, who has not been named, had a chance to get dressed.

When she later found out that he was not Jewish but an Arab, she filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault.

After striking up a conversation, the two went into a top-floor room of a nearby office-block and engaged in a sexual encounter, after which Mr Kashur left.

It was only later that she discovered the Arab’s true racial background, lawyers said, leading her to file criminal complaint.

Although Mr Kashur was initially accused of rape and indecent assault, this was changed to a charge of rape by deception as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

Handing down the verdict, Tzvi Segal, one of three judges on the case, acknowledged that sex had been consensual but said that although not ‘a classical rape by force,’ the woman would not have consented if she had not believed Mr Kashur was Jewish.

The sex therefore was obtained under false pretences, the judges said.

‘If she hadn’t thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated,’ they added.

The court ruled that Mr Kashur should receive a jail term and rejected the option of a six-month community service order.

He is now seeking to appeal, according to The Guardian.

Judge Segal said: ‘The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price – the sanctity of their bodies and souls.

‘When the very basis of trust between human beings drops, especially when the matters at hand are so intimate, sensitive and fateful, the court is required to stand firmly at the side of the victims – actual and potential – to protect their wellbeing.

‘Otherwise, they will be used, manipulated and misled, while paying only a tolerable and symbolic price.’

The decision immediately provoked an outcry among Israel’s liberals and human rights groups.

Commentator Gideon Levy said: ‘I would like to raise only one question with the judge. ‘What if this guy had been a Jew who pretended to be a Muslim and had sex with a Muslim woman?

‘Would he have been convicted of rape? The answer is: of course not.’

Arabs constitute about 20 per cent of Israel’s population, but relationships between Jews and Arabs are rare.

There are few mixed neighbourhoods or towns, and Arabs suffer routine discrimination.

Israeli MPs are considering a law requiring prospective Israeli citizens to declare loyalty to Israel as a ‘Jewish, democratic state’.

Leah Tsemel, a human-rights lawyer, an Israeli human rights activists said that Mr Kashur’s actions reflected the deceits many Palestinians are forced to practice.

‘It is very well known that Israeli-Palestinians living in Israel disguise themselves,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.

‘You change your accent and you change your dress because if you look like an Arab you face harassment.

‘If you want to enter a pub, you’d better not look like an Arab and if you want to have sex with an Israeli girl, you had better not look like an Arab.’

The prosecutor in the case was unavailable for comment and officials in the Jerusalem district attorney’s office declined to discuss it.

Read more:

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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