May 22, 2017

How the Free Market Overcomes Religious Coercion in Israel

State-religion relations are a tough issue in Israel. Israelis come from very different religious backgrounds; from totally secular atheists to hardline ultra-orthodox and everything in between; and that’s only the Jews. This creates a lot of tension about the 70 year old compromise called “The Status Quo”. But in recent weeks, without any political action, something happened. Something big. “There is no public transportation on the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day of Saturday, in 95% percent of Israel” says Roy Schwartz Tichon, founder of “Noa Tanua” (Hebrew for Galilei’s “Yet it moves”). “That’s though 72% of the Israeli population supports public transportation on Saturday, polls says. But even if only one person wanted a ride and one wanted to offer it. How can the rest […]
March 12, 2017

Israel’s New Marijuana Bill: The Most Criminalizing Decriminalization Ever

After decades of prohibition since under British rule, the Israeli government approved the decriminalization of cannabis for recreational users. Hurray! Now hundreds of thousands of Israeli weed-smokers will no longer have to be afraid to smoke and grow marijuana in their own homes, right? Sadly, not really. It all started with one young member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) named Sharen Haskel, a politician for the ruling Likud party, who adopted a suggestion from the pro-legalization movement and proposed it to the government.  The suggestion included the complete decriminalization of the consumption of cannabis, including the ability to legally own up to 15 seeds and one plant. A decent proposal for decriminalization indeed. But the Minister of Interior Security, Gilad Erdan (a known anti civil […]
December 28, 2016

Israel Doesn’t Need Conscription

As the Swedish government plans to reintroduce conscription, and similar calls are heard in France and Lithuania, it’s time to look at where a long-time conscription is a harsh reality: Israel. Until recently, Israel had the third-longest conscription period of 3 years for men and 2 years for women, just after Eritrea (unlimited) and North Korea (10 years, probably). Just last year, the conscription period was reduced to 32 months for men, but with the price of raising it to 28 months for women. Israeli 18 year-olds are conscripted for one of the longest periods in the world. This, of course, is not true if the particular 18 years-old is an Arab, and ultra-orthodox Haredi, or a religious girl. All these groups are exempt for […]