Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 22:01:27 -0500 (EST) Subject: RE: Aliyah Carls basic point about Aliyah was that parts of America (like the public schools) are 'spiritual deserts' and Israeli schools are not. I would like to bring in some (unpleasant) topics connected with the aliyah situation that have not yet been mentioned. I believe in certain areas America surpasses Israel in 'atmosphere'. The question I am about to propose was in fact asked to Professor Alon when he presented a lecture at Penn Univ discussing including civil rights in a new Israeli constitution, 3 years ago. I did not get an answer then nor since. Briefly I would posit that sexual harassment is much more common in Israel then it is in the US and this constitutes a legitimate reason (halachically and morally) for not going on Aliyah. First let me mention that there was in fact an (embarassing) cover story on Times Magazine (in 1994?) that dealt with this topic. The question I asked Prof Alon was for details in the progress Israel is making in eliminating sexual harassment at the 4 critical points of a womans life a) TEENAGE YEARS: A former prime minister of Israel openly said that the army is "where people learn about sex." I know that Carl will probably tell me that religious girls are exempt from the army, but I don't want to emigrate to a country where all non-religious girls are subjected to a 'military' life. Furthermore, although people learn about sex in colleges the distinction is that the colleges do not have an enforcable environment. Whether we like it or not America has no forced military conscription while Israel does. b) WORK PLACE: As indicated America has very strong harassment laws; CEOs and managers try and avoid lawsuits(this fact is not contradicted by American promiscuousness in the workplace--harassment is very distinct then promiscuousness). By contrast there is little legal protection in Israel (though some recent supreme court decisions may be changing that) c) DIVORCE: The waiting, inefficiency of courts, & necessity to give up equitable shares of estates for a divorce are all public knowledge d) EMIGREES: People still crack jokes about Russian emigrees asking where to find employment who are told to go to places where prostitutes hang out I would be happy to find out only 1 or 2 of these are still serious problems But they are problems and Israel has to offer a comparable work environment to those who want it. Saying that Bais Yaakov teachers have none of the above problems is avoiding issues. Religious girls have a right to be CEOs or computer scientists or whatever they want. Halachically, the right to a 'safe work place' is one of the 3 permissabilities for leaving Israel. Since I have a habit of being misunderstood let me make it explicitly clear that ALL I am saying is that in certain areas America is superior to Israel in atmosphere and the deficiencies in these areas halachically justifies not emigrating to Israel--that is ALL I am claiming. Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; RHendel@Towson.Edu, Math Moderator Rashi Is SImple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/