Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tell me it ain't so!

Zvulun Orlev, chairman of the National Union-National Religious Party (Ichud Leumi-Mafdal) is also the head of the Knesset choir. I didn't know any of this until I heard on the radio today that the choir sang Hatikvah at special session of the Knesset in honor of Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister. No big deal. Ha, nothing in Israel is 'no big deal'. The choir sang without its three female MKs. Why? So the haredi MKs wouldn't be offended.

In the interview I heard with MK Orlev he told Galatz that he himself sings with the women in the choir but in this instance deferred to the sensitivity of the haredi MKs who are 'makpidim al kol b'isha erva'*. I can't believe he said that. For one thing, as an accomplished politician he should have just gotten someone or some other group to sing. What's the big deal? Does anybody think Gordon Brown or anyone else cares who sings Hatikva?
More substantively though, I would have expected him to cite support for women participating in a choir in public. I know it can be done.

Is all that we have left to Religious Zionism is a pale compromise of the real thing (represented by the haredim but which can be ignored sometimes if they're not around)????

Tell me it ain't so!

*Erva, which doesn't have an English translation, is a negative term which means something repulsive,defiling something you want to keep away from. When applied in this situation to women in this case it means that hearing their voices in this situation will have a repulsive or defiling effect.


Juggling Frogs said...

Why didn't those who were makpid on kol isha choose to step out?

This could be achieved with dignity and respect for all involved, with a brief introduction, saying "In a few moments, we are delighted to have XXX group singing Hatikva. Please note that there are women in this group. For those who wish to refrain from hearing women's voices in public, we will pause to all you to exit the room, and a bell will sound in the lobby when this portion of the program has concluded. Thank you."

Risa said...

Juggling Frogs,
The Arab MKs leave the Knesset hall when anyone sings Hatikva. Orlev felt that he didn't want the haredim to leave as well. (The interviewer actually asked him and that was his answer.) I guess everyone was afraid they'd be left with only the ladies who weren't singing as their audience.

Becky said...

Keep up the good work.

Risa said...

Thank you Becky!

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