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April 24, 1987 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Israeli children with a computer: A new Orthodox look?

Modern Orthodox Are Needed
To End A Forty-Year Battle

EMANUEL RA CKMAN

A

conference of educators was re-
cently held at Israel's Bar-Ilan
University to deal with the rela-
tionship in Israel between religionists
and secularists. It was hoped that the
schools would contribute to a better
understanding between the two camps.
Israel's former Minister of Education,
now the Minister of Religion, was one of
the principal speakers. He made a point
worthy of consideration by all who want
to understand why the sad events that
shook world Jewry have developed at
this time and gave the impression that a
civil war is in the offing in Israel. Of
course, no such war impends, but even
the tension with occasional violence is
more than Israel can afford. Israel has
enough enemies outside. It should not
have to cope also with strife inside.
The minister, Zevulun Hammer,
reminded the audience that when the
state was first established it was agreed
between the major parties to the coali-
tion government that the status quo in
religious affairs would remain. Thus, for
example, the secular and religious
school systems would continue to be
state-supported; family law would be in
the exclusive control of the rabbinical
courts; where Sabbath observance pre-
vailed, there would be no change;

Rabbi Rackman is chancellor of Bar-Ilan
University in Israel.

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv would have no
public transportation on holy days,
while Haifa would.
Thus, the setup in 1948 fixed the
pattern, at least temporarily. Hammer
aptly described this agreement as an
armistice — not a peace. The two camps
were only delaying an inevitable kultur-
kampf At least, it so appeared. Each of
the two sides hoped to better its position
with the passage of time. Each concen-
trated on this. Nobody worked on the
problem of peace for a better under-
standing between the two competing
groups so that there would be a happy
consensus in a united Israel, with more
civility despite diversity, and more re-
spect for each other's point of view.
The present state of affairs is, there-
fore, the result of efforts by each side to
gain an advantage in preparation for
what was assumed to be an inevitable
conflict. Moreover, Hammer said that
what satisfied the people two genera-
tions ago could not be expected to satisfy
them 40 years later.
Secularists especially felt that the
religionists were making too much
headway and would, despite all their
promises to the contrary, establish reli-
gious coercion on a grand scale. Their
fears are grossly exaggerated, but in the
Israel media everything is blown up be-
yond reasonable proportions. That also
explains why the secularists, who do not
believe in God, allied themselves with
non-Orthodox movements, not because

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Continued on Page 30

7

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