Tag Archives: Secular

Secular And Orthodox Jews Battle In Jerusalem

Discussions concerning Israel ordinarily revolve around issues pertaining to the Jewish-Muslim conflict and less attention is paid to the growing war between secular and Orthodox Jews for control of the nation. In the battle as to which groups would gain victory in the Jerusalem mayor contest, the city was treated to a blatant attempt by the Orthodox candidate to make clear he has no sympathy for secular Jews. In a statement caught on tape, Rabbi Meir Porush, said his goal was wiping out the secular opposition. “Within ten years there will not be secular candidate at all in any city, maybe in an abandoned village.” Secular Jerusalem residents were furious and some already are organizing to halt construction of an Orthodox kindergarten in west Jerusalem. “Kiryat Yovel has been a pluralistic place but now it is changing” as Orthodox residents attempt to impose their religious beliefs on secular residents.

Orthodox Jews account for about 25% of the electorate but they mobilize at election time and get out the vote for their candidates. As Jews argue, Muslim Palestinian residents are facing constant pressure to move and their future in Jerusalem will be doubtful if the Orthodox gain more power in Israel.

Does Turkey Need A New Political Alignment?

The people of Turkey are gearing up for radical changes in their political structure if the Constitutional Court decides to close down the Justice and Development Party(AKP) on grounds it has violated the constitution by emphasizing changes such as allowing females to wear the headscarf in universities. The Constitutional Court and high ranking military leaders remain the bastion behind guarding secular rights in their country. If the AKP is termed an illegal political organization then the Turkish political configuration must be altered. There are rumors, Abdullah Sener, one of the five founders of the Justice and Development Party is considering the possibility of creating a new center-right political party which will cooperate with secular leaders in forging a new coalition which can bring together both secular and religious leaders.

Speaking from the outside of Turkey, one notes legitimate concerns on the part of both religious and secular minded Turks. Perhaps, a mistake made by the AKP in ending the headscarf ban was failing to make clear it only dealt with the headscarf and was not the initial step in the imposition of sharia law ideas upon the population. Fears are not always based on reality, but if fears persist they must be addressed.