Saturday, July 21, 2007

HARRY POTTER Clashes With Israel's Religious Laws

While the seventh and probably final book in the ultrapopular HARRY POTTER series has raised a huge worldwide throng of buyers to purchase this final work by J.K. Rowling after it's post midnight release one minute after Friday ends, in Israel fans of this book will just have to wait.

In Israel, where Old Testament Jewish religious law is written into the religious states official laws, by law all bookstores and businesses are closed on the Sabbath. Ultraorthodox lawmakers even attempted to pressure the publisher of the latest HARRY POTTER book to delay the worldwide release because of the type of problems it might create in Israel where young buyers would want to rush to pick up the book just like the buyers in 93 more nations will. The book will be translated into many languages and distributed eventually in nearly every nation at some point.

Interestingly, there is an "American English" translation that does vary somewhat from the orginal version that is released in England.

But in Israel, it has been interesting to see that a clash of a modern cultural phenomenon has presented one of the strongest challenges ever to the officially encoded religious laws of the state. For the first major time, there is a strong modernistic trend towards a secularism that questions the role of religion in a state, even though the state is officially a Jewish religion state.

While this HARRY POTTER incident will pass, it will nonetheless inspire more businesses such as nightclubs and bars and grocery stores, etc. to begin to challenge the authority of the state to impose religious law on private business and enterprise, as many persons in Israel, especially the young, live a more secular existence.

Israel is also far different that other parts of the Mideast in it's open attitude towards it's public sale of alcohol, lack of laws restrictibg the sale of pornographic materials, sometimes fairly open prostitution, and other open society factors that seem to sometimes clash with the official religious nature of the state.

Will this officially religious state at some point become even more secular in nature? Maybe. Yet the more Orthodox in the Jewish faith still believe that Israel is the only government and state truly established by God and subject to his laws from the Torah. Their version of honoring the Sabbath restricts all work and business on that day, and many will walk to worship, rather than ride in a car.


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