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Old 01-31-2006, 07:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
^ I believe it's the case (though I could certainly be wrong) that quite a few Israelis who don't want to go through the Orthodox marriage procedures, for whatever reasons, travel outside of Israel to get a civil marriage, which *I think?* is recognized by the state (though not by the rabbinate of course).


At the risk of being nosy, where if anywhere do you fall on this spectrum?
Yes it's true. Many secular Israelis go through civil marriages or even travel outside Israel to get married (to Cyprus for example).

There is a term in Jewish law called: "Non-Marriagable" (for the lack of a better term). This refers to several groups within the population who are limited when it comes to marriage.

For example:
1. People who are designated "Kohanim" (descendants of the High Priests of Israel) are forbidden from marrying a divorced woman.

2. People considered "Bastards" (literally): Born out of wedlock (and other cases).

3. A Jewish man/woman who wish to marry outside the faith.

I know that all of this sounds very archaic and outdated, but there is a reason behind all these strict rules. I believe that the goal is to preserve the Jewish way of life and to prevent the dwindling of the Jewish population through assimilation and mixed marriages.

My view on all of this is very complex. On the one hand, I really don't believe in forcing people to follow rules they don't believe in but on the other hand I am fearful that Israel will lose its Jewish character by gradually fading out the Jewish laws in favour of secular ones.
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:56 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
How do you feel about the Jewish diaspora, particularly the Americans?

I ask because I work with quite a few Israeli Jews and they hold the American Jews in the highest contempt for various things, like dictating policy via a remote control and pushing a hardline agenda without having to live with the actual consequences day-to-day.
For one thing, I certainly don't hold American Jews in contempt. I believe they have a right to express their opinion on issues concerning Israel because, after all, it is their spiritual home too.

My answer to your question is in the second part of it:
You really have to live here a long time to appreciate the day-to-day struggle in Israel.
Don't get me wrong, Israel in itself is a beautiful country with really beautiful people, but because the security situation is so unstable - especially now that Hamas has won the Palestinian elections - we are the only ones who can understand our needs.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:30 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
what do you think individual israeli citizens can do in their day-to-day lives to make the region more peaceful?

what, if any, legal rights do gay couples have?
Excellent questions....thank you.

To the first one:
I've always maintained that its the LEADERS that are screwed up and not the people. I honestly believe that the average Palestinian and/or Israeli is so tired of all the political bullshit and, in a perfect world, wouldn't hesitate for a second to sit down with each other over a nice felafel and smoke a Nargilla pipe and just be good neighbors.

The late "self-help" guru, Leo Buscaglia, mentioned something called "The rule of 250". This basically says that the average person interacts with approximately 250 people a day on various levels - including family and friends. Its very similar to the premise of the movie "Pay it forward", meaning that every good deed you do for someone will be forwarded by that person to someone else, and so on.....

Personally, in my day-to-day activities, I always have a smile on my face, greet everyone with a cheery 'Good morning' - whether its to the cab driver who takes me to the train station in the morning or the waitress who serves me when I go out with friends. A smile and cherry attitude goes a very long way and I've found that even the hardest people to please can be mellowed-out by seeing a friendly face.

Another way to make this region a more peaceful one is through the process of education. The Palestinian children are taught from a very early age that Jews in general, and Israel in particular, are sworn enemies who must be wiped off the face of the earth. Many is the time that we've seen pictures of little children dressed up as miniature suicide bombers with Hamas headbands. This disgusts and outrages me - you would NEVER see such spectacles among the Israelis. I believe that Palestinian teachers should be teaching the children not how to continue the cycle of violence but rather how to STOP it.

I am an eternal optimist and believe that eventually someone will wise up and realize that talking has a better effect than shooting.



As for the issue of gay rights:
As mentioned in an earlier reply, we have a large gay and lesbian community and there is an organization that protects their rights as far as discrimination goes.
Only recently have the Israeli legislators started addressing the issue of gay rights within the context of civil unions, etc. We still have a way to go but we're getting there.
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Old 02-05-2006, 08:52 AM   #19
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*bumping for anyone who missed this the first time*
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