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Ehud Barak: "Let's Have a Separation of State and Religion in Israel"

by Staff Writer

Ehud Barak, suddenly, in Israel and in the U.S. declared his intention to exercise in Israel a total separation of state and religion. He argues that Israel, with a separation, will be a good Jewish state. Barak in a meeting in NYC, recently said that he dreamt about it for a long time. Others argue that he simply attacks the Israeli politically strong Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox camp. This camp turned to be militant because 'Shass,' a party which is a mixture of ethnicity (sephardim) and ultra-Orthodox kind of Judaism, gained 19 seats in the Knesset.

Shass is an extreme non-democratic party which is being ruled by its charismatic leader Rabbi Ovadia Joseph. Probably as a response to 'Shass' betrayal, Barak decided to be more militant and suddenly decided to have a written constitution, civil marriages like in America, public transportation on Saturday, and to let El Al fly on Saturday, an act which will pave the way for a privatization of 'El-Al", a dream of many Israelis.

Barak indeed wants to smash religious 'taboos' in Israel: "The rich Israelis have cars. They can drive on Shabat and enjoy the weekend. And the poor Israelis should have public transportation on Shabat. We should not discriminate them. Of course, we will do everything to defend the rights of the religious Israelis who live in Bnai Brak. We will find a compromise," explained Barak in New York City.

Barak can express his views and plans but without a solid majority he is not able to pass the needed laws. "I will not enforce my wish. I am looking for a dialogue," he said.


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