Matan Kahana was our hero. The Minister of Religious Affairs challenged the Chief Rabbinate and the entire ultra-Orthodox establishment by promising reform of kashrut and conversion. According to the new rules, private non-profit organizations will be able to issue kosher certificates, which will lead to a general reduction in the cost of products and services in Israel, and will make life easier for restaurateurs, shop and hotel owners. But for the “ Russian '' Aliyah, liberalization in the area of converting should become even more important. It will save hundreds of people who have already linked their fate and the fate of their children with the Jewish people from humiliating and lengthy bureaucratic procedures and, ideally, will put an end to the division of repatriates into first and second class citizens.
Kharedim immediately accused the minister. undermining the Jewish character of the state. Radical groups even passed the formidable Dean Rodef order against him, giving him the right to murder. Nothing of the kind has happened in Israel since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, so the Shabak has assigned increased security to Kahan.
The main reason for the anger of the ultra-Orthodox is that they are losing a greasy feeding trough for a huge number of kashrut inspectors, as well as a less representative but still respectable staff of rabbis in charge of converting. The mere issuance of kosher certificates, which have to be renewed regularly, provides the rabbinical services with a steady stream of money. And of course, the monopoly on religious services preserves the influence of the haredi authorities on politics and life throughout the country. It is obvious that this order of things has long been outdated and leads to an ever deeper division of society. Therefore, the majority of Israelis, including those observing traditions, applauded the minister, who undertook to rake these Augean stables, and our Aliyah was looking forward to the changes with special impatience.
But as time went on, Matan Kahana walked with the Shabak's guards, and things did not move beyond loud words. Moreover, & ndash; The minister suddenly issued an unexpected statement, which did not coincide with his previous statements, that the clause on the right to repatriation of Jewish grandchildren should be removed from the Law on Return. In his opinion, if any of these people really suffer from anti-Semitism, the state of Israel is “ strong enough '' to bring it to the country without relying on the CALL.
What is this nonsense? As if we do not know how much time and effort any bureaucratic process associated with exceptional cases takes, and how dubious the chances of success are! But that's not the point. Jewish grandchildren were reasonably 'kosher' for the founding fathers of the state who passed the Law of Return, but for some reason interfere with the modern liberal minister. What happened to him, why did he start advocating the same measures that his haters are actively promoting – ideologues of the haredim community? Was he afraid of a religious curse?
Everything falls into place, if we recall the history of Israel, or rather, for a rather long time (up to the early 1990s), when control over the Chief Rabbinate was in the hands of representatives of the national-religious trend and, in particular, the MAFDAL party. Yamina, New Right, Union of Right Forces – all these are the ideological heirs of MAFDAL. In other words, the struggle is not so much for simplifying and making life cheaper for ordinary Israelis, but primarily for the redistribution of spheres of influence and cash flows. The minister representing the Yamina party in the government naturally supports and leads this struggle. Do not expect that Kahana and his associates are ready to go all the way, defending equality, democracy and, moreover, the blessing of aliyah. At some point, the interests of politicians coincided with the interests of society and the Russian-speaking community, but this is far from their main goal.
What does the Minister of Religious Affairs actually suggest? Facilitate the path to conversion for those non-Jewish immigrants who are already in Israel, and close the doors of the country for them in the future. A certain logic can be traced here: with the help of a prohibition, the problem is solved once and for all (“ there is no person – there is no problem ''). The way to 'keep out' very convenient for the authorities, but this is absolutely not what the people and the country need.
The current government is really expected to make a breakthrough in changing the status quo between religion and the state. Kahana remembered the Gabizon agreement for a reason – Meydan, in which an attempt was made to bring the values and principles of the country's religious and secular citizens to a common denominator. But these measures will require conviction, determination, fearlessness and consistency. In addition, such a complex and multi-stage reform cannot be carried out without reaching a consensus with the ultra-Orthodox, who represent a significant stratum of the Israeli population. Of course, the minister likes to walk in heroes, but this only aggravates the opposition in society. And with the next change of power, all reforms will be nullified, and the tug of war between the interested parties will continue indefinitely.
Author //: Ira Kogan