35 thoughts on “Shmuley Boteach’s Multi-Million-Dollar Hasbara Ad Campaign in U.S. National Media – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. According to a Pew study, Israel ranked 50th in the world in terms of positive attitude and environment for gays. It came in just after Poland. Better than most Arab states, but not something to be especially proud of.

    1. @ Sydney: While I respect your views greatly, Sydney, I think you know that Israel doesn’t aspire to be compared to the Arab world, but rather to the western world. And in this matter, Israel is far behind western countries because of the huge preponderance of Orthodox Jews who reject homosexuality. So if Israel wants to compare itself to the Arab world & be considered part of it, that’s fine by me. But you & I both know no Israeli wants or accepts that.

    2. Sydney – Can you please give a link to the study you refer to? The two I have found have Israel in a decent place especially considering the fact Israeli society have two big groups that will vote to not accept gays. If the poll would have cancelled those out or if poll would have been from Rishon Le’Tzion to Natanyah, I would expect the results to be similar to those in Western EU. If Poll was only in Tel-Aviv, I think San Francisco would have hard time staying ahead. I went last year to Pride-Parade in Tel Aviv to show support and it was a HUGE, colorful event!!!


  2. Richard wrote “Even civil (which would have to be performed outside Israel since there is no civil marriage in Israel) gay marriage is not recognized in Israel.”

    I am uncertain what you mean by this. Gay marriages performed outside of Israel in a jurisdiction that recognizes Gay marriage is absolutely recognized by Israel. I have several friends (3 couples to be exact including the daughter of Alan Gross btw) who are gay and were married in the US and they enjoy all tax/pension etc. benefits enjoyed by any married couple. Even cohabiting Gays in a serious long term relationship enjoy such benefits. An acquaintance of mine who was a Supreme Court law clerk, lived with his non-Jewish boyfriend in Jerusalem. Said boyfriend was issued a teudat zehut (national ID), residency permit, work permit, access to healthcare etc. and they weren’t married. But don’t take my word for it. You can find more information in Wikipedia since it now seems that that is an acceptable source here.

    But even discounting Wikipedia, Haaretz found that 70% of Israelis support equality for Homosexuals. The 2013 survey also showed deep divisions between Israelis at large, who were predominantly accepting, and Haredi and Arab Israeli communities who were largely unaccepting. Yes, Israel still has a ways to go but it’s record in the Middle East and Asia is actually pretty good.

    As for the threat of a theocratic Israel rounding up and murdering Gays – that would require a few things – a duly constituted Sanhedrin capable of dispensing capital punishment and 2 Sabbath observant male witnesses who have to observe “a man laying with a man as he would with a maiden.” Said witnesses would have to also warn the laying man in question twice and said warnings would have to be acknowledged by said man. It should also be further noted that in Mishnah Makkot 1:10: “A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called destructive. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says: even once in seventy years. Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Tarfon say: had we been in the Sanhedrin none would ever have been put to death. Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel says: they would have multiplied shedders of blood in Israel.” So yes, even the most theocratic version of Israel/Judaism would be (well at least in theory) loathe to impose the death penalty against anyone.

    This is how I view Gay rights in Israel, but I remain, as always, open to other viewpoints and opinions.

    1. @ Pea: Can gays divorce in Israel? No. Because no Orthodox rabbi would divorce them (as he wouldn’t marry them either). If they can’t divorce then their marriages aren’t fully recognized. BTW, until a few months ago the couple you mentioned could not have obtained citizenship under the Law of Return if one of them was non-Jewish. Heterosexual couples with one non-Jewish spouse have always been able to obtain citizenship for the non-Jewish partner. Since the non Jewish partner in the relationship you mentioned wasn’t seeking citizenship, he didn’t have to fight & fail to get citizenship as so many other gay couples have prior to the change in the ministry directive.

      A few months ago the education minister said gay couples aren’t legitimate families:

      Education Minister Shai Piron was criticized in June after declaring same-sex couples don’t count as families in an interview with Basheva newspaper. He added that proposals for a civil marriage bill should be changed to a civil “partnership” bill:

      As for the poll, the Pew Center, one of the most respected polling centers in the world says only 40% of Israelis find homosexuality acceptable. The Haaretz poll asked a different question: it asked whether you favored “equality” for gays (not whether you “accept” them as you claimed). It’s very nice to support equality for gays (even though btw, Israel doesn’t offer it). But it’s another thing to find homosexuality acceptable. On that question, Israelis, as I wrote, lag behind the west. BTW, Spain’s acceptance of homosexuality is 88%.

      As for whether you are “open to other viewpoints,” your comments here prove that largely you aren’t.

      1. Can Gays divorce in Israel? Yes they can. Under the 1969 Jurisdiction in Dissolution of Marriage Act (Special Cases & International Jurisdiction ) , which was streamlined in 2005. Under Israeli law, the only ground for civil divorce is mutual consent, but in certain situations the laws of the country where the marriage was performed will apply, and the divorce case can be decided in Israel, based on these. – See more at: http://www.family-laws.co.il/divorce-mixed-marriages-civil-divorce-process#sthash.21bTXxUh.dpuf

        So why are there Agunot? Because civil divorces aren’t recognized by the Rabbinate and the Agunah would not be able to get remarried by a Rabbinate approved Rabbi. In any case, this would not be an issue for Gay marriages which aren’t recognized by the Rabbinate but are recognized by the State as per Israel’s acceptance of laws and treaties regarding private international law.

        But yes, you are correct. The path to citizenship is much more difficult than the path to residency. And even the path to residency is often fraught with complications. The process in Israel favors those who are actually legally married as opposed to those who are merely living together. The foreign spouse of an Israeli citizen can get citizenship after 4 years whereas if they are not legally married, said spouse can only get permanent residency. In all cases the couple have to undergo a process: testing the sincerity of the couple’s relationship, shared life in Israel, and absence of security risk. This is similar to the process one has to undergo in the other Western countries. I do not have any statistics regarding rates of acceptance compared to other countries, but if you do I would sincerely like to read any such links.

        As for Education Minister Shai Piron, you only related part of the story. Prior to making his statement, he had voted in favor of every single bill that provides more rights for the homosexual community, including the surrogacy law and tax credits for single-sex couples. After the uproar caused by his statement, he apologized in a televised interview (reported in the JTA) “I am painfully convinced that my remarks were miserable. It’s not my place to decide who is a family and who isn’t … What bothers me more than anything is the children and adults who were hurt by what I said, and I am looking them in the eyes and saying I truly apologize.” A powerful government Minister brought low for his stance on homosexuality in a country where only 40% of the population finds homosexuality acceptable? That tells me that the situation is complex and complicated and not at all one sided, for the good or the bad. The story you linked to about the Gay father of surrogate twins born of an Indian woman shows that we still have a ways to go, though even that story created a groundswell of support for the Father, Dan Goldberg and his two sons, including statements of support from politicians, celebrities including PM Benjamin Netanyahu. They were put through the ringer but Dan came home with his boys and no such case has happened again as far as I know in the intervening 4 years. See http://www.nif.org/stories?start=283 for more info.

        And yes Richard. I am totally open to other viewpoints, especially if they tell the full story and are inspired by the desire to advance the conversation as opposed to merely scoring ideological points. I don’t say this to dis anyone though. I respect your perspective and it is one that is shared by many friends and colleagues whom I respect greatly.

        1. @ pea: Your comment neglected to mention that the FIRST gay divorce ever in Israel was in 2012. And the reason Uzi Even had to get a divorce was that the interior ministry intended to deport his current partner (who was not a native Israeli) on the grounds that Even was still legally married. In 2009 Even also had to sue the State to gain the right to adopt the couple’s son.

          So for the past year or so there has civil divorce for gays under limited circumstances. Again, not much to be proud of. Progress is exceedingly slow. Much slower than in the U.S. & even slower than in some other countries.

  3. I know personally Yishai, the guy who stabbed three people in gay parade in Jerusalem, and his family from my town. His family is suffering gravely from his actions (I won’t give any details as it is not my secret to tell). Yes, you can probably find some websites where he is called Rabbi Yishai but the broader Haredi community sees him as a lunatic who caused great Chilul Hashem.

    1. @ Ariel: The attacker has smicha therefore he’s a rabbi. And the irony is that if he’d knifed a Palestinian he’d be a hero in that community. He knifed a Jew so he’s ostracized. You & I know that if Israel was ruled by settlers or Haredim, he wouldn’t be ostracized.

      1. @RS -‘You & I know…’ – when someone starts a sentence with these words, it usually follows with a controversial statement, and you RS is no acception.
        Please refer one instance of an Israeli who became a hero after murdering innocent people marching by. Baruch Goldstein was admired by very few and Abu-Khdeir murderer didn’t even get that. If we are in the business of making generalization from 1% (or less) on a whole community then of course I agree with you.

        1. @ Ariel: Baruch Goldstein is worshipped by tens of thousands of settler & other Palestinian haters. Look at his gravestone calling him a martyr & hero. Look at hundreds who dance at his grave on anniversary of his death. Not to mention that other Jewish terrorists are similarly admired. Can you show me any rabbi who demanded Goldstein be ostracized in death? Anyone who said he shouldn’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery? If Jewish leaders believe his act was heinous they could’ve & should’ve demanded the ultimate penalty, and didn’t.

          1. I think there is an exaggeration here and incorrect interpretation.
            That there are tens of thousands is absurd. That maybe a few thousand and that is based on the premiss{which we cannot know} that he was preventing a terrorist attack.
            There is a syndrome among doctors who are over exposed to extreme situations and are removed from their duties in order for them to ‘reconstitute’ their psychological state. After all he did save Arabs as well as Jews being a doctor. A close friend of his with the friend’s children were gunned down very close to the incident where Goldstein killed the 29? people.
            I in no way condone what happened but take into account he was bludgeoned to death{which is a criminal act} and the police never searched out the perpetrators which they could have found.
            As far as being buried in a Jewish cemetery it has no halachic basis. There are many rumors like someone with a tattoo cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery but this is BS. And in addition to this anyone with a hand in rabbinics knows that a tattoo for beauty is no that which is forbidden.
            I don’t understand what you mean by the “ultimate penalty”? He was already dead so may I assume not to be buried in a Jewish cemetery is your intention?
            There is no ‘concrete source that a Jew must be buried in a Jewish cemetery or that one cannot bury a non-Jew in a Jewish cemetery. After all, at that point we are all equal.

          2. based on the premiss{which we cannot know} that he was preventing a terrorist attack.

            Are you out of your mind? Goldstein murdered 29 Muslims to prevent a terror attack? This is not just ridiculous, it’s contemptible & offensive. When I find something offensive, be very sure that your comment privileges hang in the balance. And after murdering all those people you’re offended that he was bludgeoned to death? Are you for real??

            Rabbis may determine that someone who has offended & endangered the community, as Goldstein did, can be refused burial. Of course all Jews who care about their religion are buried in Jewish cemeteries. I don’t care whether there’s a concrete source (a claim of yours I doubt) or not. It’s inviolable practice and might as well be halachic.

          3. @Ariel: Wrong. He was not buried in the main Jewish cemetery in Hebron. But as Oui points out, he was buried in a site which became a pilgrimage shrine. So settlers have turned his site into a Jewish shrine. Your claim is what we call a hasbara “fail.”

            Keep your comments to three in any 24 hour period.

          4. Dr. Goldstein was buried in a park named after Rabbi Meir Kahane — the militant Jewish nationalist who was assassinated in New York in 1990 — which lies at the entrance to this settlement (Qiryat Arba). The site was chosen after the army, fearing Palestinian unrest and vandalism of the grave, refused to allow a burial in the old Jewish cemetery in Hebron’s center.

            The shrine that supporters built at the grave mushroomed into a pilgrimage site. Jewish admirers of Dr. Goldstein from Israel and abroad would pray at the grave, kneeling and kissing the tombstone. ”He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land,” reads his epitaph.

            Israel Destroys Shrine to Mosque Gunman | NY Times |

          5. RS – He was NOT buried in a ANY Jewish cemetery. He was buried in a park that was not declared cemetery, then people make the place into a shrine which later the state destroyed and have left only the tombstone. He got no better treatment then those who just murdered in Har-Nof and their family was allowed to bury them. What did you want him to get? The Bin-Laden/Eichmann treatment?
            Richard, it won’t hurt to say ‘I was wrong’ especially when the facts are as conclusive as they can get.

            P.S. An article about the park and the fact it became shady place where teenagers go to hook-up at night. Not exactly the dream of Jewish mothers. http://www.nrg.co.il/online/11/ART2/557/870.html

          6. @ Ariel: I wasn’t wrong about anything. GOldstein is worshipped by tens of thousands of settlers & other far right supporters. His grave is a shrine dedicated to a Jewish terrorist serial murderer. As for Eichmann or Bin Laden: Goldstein killed 29, they killed more. But essentially a serial murderer is a serial murderer. He should’ve been cremated and his dust flung to the winds. May his memory be erased.

          7. @Richard 1. “Anyone who said he shouldn’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery?” – He wasn’t. His body was given to his family like any other terrorist and they buried him OUTSIDE of a Jewish cemetery.
            2. “Shrine” – It was destroyed by Israeli government.
            3. “Gravestone” – It was debated in Bagatz. Regardless, seeing pictures of past funerals of Palestinian murderers, I doubt their tombstone missing the word ‘martyr’.
            4. “tens of thousands of settler & other Palestinian haters” – the number is baseless and pulled out of thin air. The term “settler & other Palestinian haters” is extremely misrepresentation (to say the least but that a whole new topic).
            5. “ostracizing” – As ronan said, he is dead.
            6. “cremation and flunging” – the day we do the same with other terrorists who murdered, I will support it myself. I think it can be an excellent deterrent for potential killers

            All in all, Goldstein was outcasted/ostracize/banned etc by all but a few hundreds or possibly a few thousands, less then 1% of the Jewish population. All the quotes Oui brings just show how Goldstein’s family (?) and his supporters take advantage of the democratic system in Israel

            P.S. “Serial Killer” – He was a tragically ‘successful’ murderer and terrorist but serial killing requires ‘cooling period’.

          8. @ Ariel: You’re repeating claims already offered by others in this thread. Do NOT repeat arguments. Hearing them one time is enough. That means you must read what others have published before you before publishing your own comment.

            In effect, Goldstein’s tomb became its own shrine & cemetery. The site is a focus of celebration for his many admirers & supporters. So it is a shrine whether the previous one was destroyed or not. THe only way to prevent this is to make the site off limits to the public, which authorities have not done.

            Comparing Goldstein to Palestinian terrorists is a red herring argument used to justify or minimize his crime. I will not allow that here. Stay on topic.

            Goldstein was a mass murderer, plain & simple.

            You’re done in this thread. No more comments from you. Move on…

            Frankly, I don’t give a crap whether you acknowledge there are tens of thousands of admirers of Goldstein among Israeli Jews. But if you really want to prove this I’d love to see an Israeli poll asking that question. Ask Israeli pollsters to ask it in a poll. I’d love to see the result & prove you wrong. If you believe those who admire Goldstein aren’t “settlers & Palestinian haters” then you’re arguing in bad faith.

          9. @Richard – What I argued in “settlers & Palestinian haters” was that bundling them this way is blackwashing of all settlers. By now, many of them are there for many other reasons other then ideology. and those who are there for ideology believe it belongs to Israelis/Jews. To simply label them with Palestinian haters as Goldstein fans is something I would expect on Iranian PressTV not your blog.

          10. @ Ariel: Settlers, no matter how benign are part of a conspiracy to steal Palestine. So they are enemies of Palestine, hence “Palestine haters.” It’s a neat trick to try to differentiate between “good” settlers and “bad.” All settlers except those prepared to accept Palestinian sovereignty over their homes & communities are bad news for Palestine. Frankly, I couldn’t give a crap why they’re there. They are there and that’s the only fact that matters.

            You don’t have to be PressTV to know that settlers & settlements are poison for Israel, Palestine & the region.

          11. @Richard – Hemorrhoids are also bad for Palestinians but I do not see them on your list. If indeed you strive to “promote dialogue and mutual recognition”, I am not sure you are on the right path.

  4. Jerusalem most likely ranks equal with the ‘liberals’ in Middle-East, Baltic States and Russia. In Latvia, in view of preventing Baltic Pride 2012, it was proposed to amend Riga’s Public Order Regulations to ban the “propaganda” of homosexuality.

    The survey of publics in 39 countries finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia [plus former East-European Soviet bloc states]. Opinion about the acceptability of homosexuality is divided in Israel, Poland, Bolivia Venezuela and Japan.

    Boasting that Israel’s liberal democracy is superior to other regimes in the Middle East …

    Israel’s High Court is sadly silent in case of lesbian couple

    For four months an all-male rabbinical court has been disrupting the lives of two women whose only sin is their desire to live as a couple. An injunction by the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court forbids the two women from living together with the children of one of them, or even to meet in the children’s presence.

    We shouldn’t be surprised by the attitude of the rabbinical court, which argued in its response that the “Torah of Israel opposes homosexual relations.”

    Making Israel a Jewish state?

      1. Judges wrote in their verdict “The conclusion is that the accused showed excessive fanaticism… he has no semblance of tolerance in his heart for those who took part in the march… and there is no compromise in his world view. The accused was prepared, out of full awareness, to pay a heavy price for his acts… and was in control his actions.”

        Jerusalem to be divided amongst fundamental religious fanaticsof three major religion. No tolerance, no peace.

  5. I only stated the ‘premiss’ of the pro-goldstein faction as a matter of example. Right after that I wrote I do not condone what he did.
    As far as him being bludgeoned to death my point was that the police did not look for the perpetrators which they generally do but they do have an agenda to the way they react to incidents.
    As far a Eliyahu he is a total hypocrite. There was a case in the north where people were prosecuted because of him and because he in essence heis part of the system and the system does not like to prosecute their own because of the possible blowback. Because of him two youths were taken to court on a very minor charge and were sentenced to a year in jail.
    So the point of my statement about not apprehending Goldstein’s murderers is concerning the ‘dry law’ which they chose not to pursue.
    He lost the bid for chief rabbi of Jerusalem and also for the Sephardi chief rabbi of the country. So he has no chance the Jer rabbi only if the present one dies. As far the Chief rabbi it is another 10 yrs off so he is stuck in Safed which he hates.

    1. @ ronan: One of the most important of my comment rules is NOT to spread rumors or suggest claims that can’t be verified with facts. Advancing a disgusting unfounded rumor by apologists for a mass murderer here is a very serious comment rule violation. I don’t even know that this is such a rumor. I only have your word for it. And indeed it makes me wonder how you would be privy to the claims of such disgusting individuals unless you were close to them. In future, respect these rules. I make them for a reason. And if you advance claims offer citations, sources or links to support them.

      1. This is not a rumor but a known thing in Israeli circles. One does not have to be a participating Kahanist etc. to hear things.
        I visited in ’97&’98 at Gush Etzion for a celebration and was given a house to stay and there was on an alter like shelf a picture of Goldstein with the book ברוך הגבר I believe was written by Yitzchak Ginsberg. I was rather surprised and for my stay put the picture face down. After all it was not my house. I inquired among the locals and many affirmed that this opinion which you called ‘spreading rumors’ was quite prevalent among many settlers esp in the south which is known as being a hotbed for opinions like these. I believe it has been mentioned in print but my testimony of its existence is to me proof enough. It is obviously unfounded but who wants to argue with fools.

        1. The grave monument of Dr. Baruch Goldstein

          Here lies
          The saintly
          Dr. Reb Baruch Kappel Goldstein
          Of holy and blessed memory,
          May God avenge his blood
          (the religious code language for “killed by terrorists” E.)

          Tending of the Grave of Baruch Goldstein in Kiryat Arba

          In reply to Ran Cohen, the Minister of Justice, Tzachi Hanegbi said that there were two reasons that this bill could not be applied to the grave of Goldstein. One that it would make this law retroactive and the second was that Kiryat Arba was over the “green line” and not within the State of Israel.

          The discussion about the removal of the grave was continued at the next and final meeting of the Committee. It was pointed out that the Rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Dov Lior, had ruled that it was forbidden to move the grave and that the two Chief Rabbis, Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron and Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, had concurred. On this Ran Cohen commented: “This is a disgrace. They are indeed the Chief Rabbis, but it is a disgrace.”

          The parents of Baruch Goldstein employed the lawyer Naftali Werzberger to act for them and he informed the army of the family’s objections to any action which would affect the grave or the surrounding area. Nearly three months later, the Legal Adviser for Judea and Samaria informed Werzberger that he had considered his objections but was unable to accept them.

          In arguments before the High Court, Werzberger also argued that Goldstein had made a pre-emptive strike to prevent an Arab attack on the Jewish community he lived in.

          Following the Court ruling, Tzvi Katzover, the Mayor of Kiryat Arba contacted Avraham Ben-Yosef, the Mayor of the Hebron Jewish Municipal Council. The latter advised Katzover that the Kiryat Arba Local Council should not get involved with the demolition. Any such work should be left to the army. So early in the morning of 29 December 1999, the army and police arrived in force. As reported in the newspaper Ha’aretz: “The bulldozers then began their work, removing lamps, breaking up decorative tiles and turning over a small, enclosed stand for prayer books and memorial candles.” They even destroyed the hand-washing facilities, which are an essential part of every Jewish cemetery, since by Jewish law, one is required to wash ones hands after visiting a grave.

        2. @ ronan: Yes, unfounded rumor. But when you published it here you didn’t dismiss it or say it was unfounded. That’s my problem with what you did. You slipped it into the thread like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it would resonate. Not the way things operate here. Don’t do it again.

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