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Two comments before we discuss the main issue:
- Most of this site is in Hebrew - this page is for those of you who do not have Hebrew fonts or do not read Hebrew;
- The Hofesh site is maintained by several people, during their free time. Since these people are too busy to maintain an English version of the site, currently you will have to learn Hebrew in order to read the daily updates in the Hofesh site. We apologize for that. If you'd like to translate the Hofesh site to English (or Russian) on a daily basis, please contact us.

As you may know, Israel was founded as a Jewish homeland. However, our declaration of independence vows to respect individual equality, regardless of religion, gender or race.

Unfortunately, certain groups in Israeli society are constantly trying to undermine these principles, taking advantage of the fact that Israel has no constitution and that there is no separation of Church and State.

The ultra-orthodox political parties have a pivotal role in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) despite having fewer than 20% of the seats, because they hold the balance of power no matter which of the major parties wins an election. This is because no party can get more than 50% of the seats. In many ways the ultra-orthodox parties are ideal partners for parties of both left and right because they do not have a political agenda regarding social or national security issues. However, in return for their support, the right and left transfer funds to the religious education system (which is not supervised by the State) and pass oppresive Jewish religious laws.

Did you know:

  • It is illegal to grow pork in Israel, and many municipalities forbid selling pork.
  • It is impossible to get married in Israel by a civil ceremony.
  • There is nearly no public transportation in Israel on Saturday.
  • It is illegal to open a business on Saturday.
  • Hurting someone's religious feelings is a criminal offense.
  • Orthodox religious women and many religious men are exempt from military service (which lasts for at least 3 years for men and nearly 2 years for women).
  • Religion lessons are mandatory in all Israeli schools.
  • You cannot buy non-Kosher goods in major food chains (with the recent exception of Tiv Taam).
  • A class in a religious school has on the average 26 students. A secular class has close to 40.
  • The State does not fund non-religious burial ceremonies.
  • Some of the main streets in Jerusalem are blocked every Saturday, because the orthodox people want them to be.
Well, you've probably got the idea . . .

This site is all about what the religious parties are doing, and about what secular people can (and should) do. It contains links to organizations devoted to freedom of speech and opinion and to commercial bodies which should be boycotted for surrendering to religious demands.

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