P.S. ALSO SEE: “Israel gives rabbinical courts unprecedented jurisdiction over Diaspora Jews”
By Jonathan Lis | Haaretz.com | Jun. 26, 2018 | 11:08 AM
Knesset passes controversial law permitting rabbinical courts to handle cases in which Jewish men refuse to divorce Jewish women – even if neither of the two is Israeli
The Knesset passed a bill into law on Monday that permits Israel’s rabbinical courts to handle certain cases in which Jewish women seek to divorce their Jewish husbands, even if neither spouse is an Israeli citizen.
The controversial bill was approved as emergency legislation, to remain in effect for three years, during which the Knesset will monitor its application.
The new law sets out a series of criteria according to which the rabbinical court can hear such claims. The couple must be married according to traditional Jewish religious law, halakha, and must live in a location abroad where there is no rabbinical court that could arrange a “get,” a Jewish bill of divorce.
Otherwise, a hearing in Israel can take place only in cases in which the husband did not respond for a period of four months to summonses by a rabbinic court outside Israel, or in cases in which a court outside of Israel ruled that a husband must give his wife a divorce, but the order could not be enforced. According to halakha, a Jewish divorce order is not valid until the husband himself grants the bill of divorce to his wife.
Up to now, Israeli law allowed Israeli rabbinical courts to handle divorces of Jews who weren’t Israeli citizens but only if one spouse had some connection to Israel, for example, having lived in the country for some time. The new law was advanced after the Conference of European Rabbis and other groups had discussions with the Israeli Rabbinical Courts Administration regarding situations in which men married according to halakha refused to grant their wives a get, rendering them “agunot,” chained women in Hebrew, who cannot remarry. The bill’s explanatory notes state that in some cases, men ignore rulings by their local rabbinical courts abroad and those courts have no authority to impose sanctions on the husbands that might persuade them to grant a get.
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) slammed the new law. “This bill actually gives the rabbinical court international powers. This is a new invention, an international rabbinical court for Jews. We have great difficulty with the fact that in Israel almost half a million citizens, whether by choice or because they cannot marry under Jewish law, end up getting married abroad. Let the rabbinical court solve the problems of those refused [marriage] here in Israel before it seeks to solve the problems of agunot abroad.” There is no civil marriage in Israel and marriage between Jews in Israel is governed by halakha, although civil marriages performed abroad are recognized by the Israeli Interior Ministry.
Nissan Slomiansky, the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, rejected criticism of the law, saying that it will allow Israel rabbinical courts to relieve the distress of women whose husbands have refused them a divorce, prevailing on them to do so.SOURCE – https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-gives-rabbinical-courts-unprecedented-control-over-diaspora-jew-1.6216340
RE: "Beinart’s detention at airport is said to signal new Israeli policy re American Jewish dissenters"
SEE: "Israel Is Not a Liberal Democracy" | Paul R. Pillar | NationalInterest.org | Aug. 12, 2018
Israel does not share many of the most important values of Western liberal democracies, including the United States.
[EXCERPT] Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a “defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the annals of the state of Israel” when the Knesset enacted earlier this month a basic law (having constitutional status in Israel) making the right of national self-determination “unique to the Jewish people” and not applicable to all citizens. The law further enshrined religiously based discrimination, including a clause that points to priority for Jewish-only communities by declaring “the development of Jewish settlement as a national value” and promising “to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
The law has been a subject of much controversy in Israel. It passed the Knesset by the narrow margin of sixty-two to fifty-five. Opponents argue that it constitutes a step away from democracy. But this was one more item on the agenda of the ruling right-wing coalition that, given the rightward move in Israeli politics in recent years, the coalition was able to push through.
However much sympathy one may have for the opponents, they are not only on the losing side of an Israeli political trend but also trying to square a circle. There always has been an inherent and fundamental tension between the idea of Israel as a democracy and the concept of giving preferential treatment to a single religious or ethnic group over all others.
Major proponents of the new law recognize this, and some of them have been disarmingly frank about it. The hardline Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, has explicitly disparaged the idea that Israel should respect universal values. She has stated openly that if there is a choice between maintaining the Jewish majority and Jewish character of Israel and observing human rights, it is human rights that should be sacrificed. Or take it from the most influential big-money backer of Netanyahu and of American support for Netanyahu’s policies: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. At a conference in 2014 that discussed implications of perpetual Israeli occupation or annexation of the West Bank without giving Palestinian residents the right to vote, Adelson declared , “Israel isn’t going to be a democratic state. So what?” . . . ENTIRE COMMENTARY - https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/israel-not-liberal-democracy-28392
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics
[EXCERPT] Epigenetics is the study of heritable phenotype changes that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence. The Greek prefix epi- (ἐπι- "over, outside of, around") in epigenetics implies features that are "on top of" or "in addition to" the traditional genetic basis for inheritance. Epigenetics most often denotes changes that affect gene activity and expression, but can also be used to describe any heritable phenotypic change. Such effects on cellular and physiological phenotypic traits may result from external or environmental factors, or be part of normal developmental program. The standard definition of epigenetics requires these alterations to be heritable, either in the progeny of cells or of organisms.
The term also refers to the changes themselves: functionally relevant changes to the genome that do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of mechanisms that produce such changes are DNA methylation and histone modification, each of which alters how genes are expressed without altering the underlying DNA sequence. Gene expression can be controlled through the action of repressor proteins that attach to silencer regions of the DNA. These epigenetic changes may last through cell divisions for the duration of the cell's life, and may also last for multiple generations even though they do not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.
One example of an epigenetic change in eukaryotic biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During morphogenesis, totipotent stem cells become the various pluripotent cell lines of the embryo, which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words, as a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – continues to divide, the resulting daughter cells change into all the different cell types in an organism, including neurons, muscle cells, epithelium, endothelium of blood vessels, etc., by activating some genes while inhibiting the expression of others.
Historically, some phenomena not necessarily heritable have also been described as epigenetic. For example, the term epigenetic has been used to describe any modification of chromosomal regions, especially histone modifications, whether or not these changes are heritable or associated with a phenotype. The consensus definition now requires a trait to be heritable for it to be considered epigenetic. . . .