Shame either way
Sir, – The glaring front-page headline “Abbas on Jaradat:
Israel wants anarchy by killing our children” (February 26) was deeply
disturbing. I was distressed even further by the veiled threat of Abbas, which
indicated that the death of security prisoner Arafat Jaradat would not pass
The above presents to many thousands of concerned, sensitive
and intelligent citizens of Israel a most awful dilemma.
We were recently
informed by President Shimon Peres that he has known Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas for decades, and Peres unequivocally assured us that
Abbas is not only an honorable man but indeed a worthy peace partner.
there is substance to Abbas’s accusations I would admit to being deeply ashamed
of our country. However, if it is established that Israel in fact does not
torture Palestinian prisoners, I would find myself in the position of being
deeply ashamed of our president.
Sir, – With regard to “UTJ MKs brief Shteinman on Kandel draft plan”
(February 26), the media have been exposed to so many different plans on how to
share the burden of army and national service for the haredi sector that they
miss the successful plan that is already in place, namely the “hesder”
The Kandel Plan, the Ya’alon Plan, the Yesh Atid position and
the Bayit Yehudi proposal are all very well intended. However, they will fail to
create a public sense of sharing the burden equally. The successful hesder model
combines army service beginning at the age of 18, and continued Torah study
during that service.
This approach would save tens of millions of shekels
that otherwise would go to support haredi families should the soldiers be
inducted at age 23, 24 or 25.
In EU’s graces
Sir, – The
European Union has yet to designate Hezbollah a terror entity despite the
organization’s planning and execution of murders on European soil and throughout
the world (“Dutch FM thinks Burgas report will lead EU to rethink Hezbollah’s
status,” February 26). Yet it condemns Israel, threatening it with sanctions –
for building apartments.
It would seem that in order to gain favor with
the EU, one must stop building and start killing.
Sir, – From “Work on eco corridor for animal crossings begins on Route
1 near Sha’ar Hagai” (February 26) we learn that the Route 1 project, which will
widen the road to Jerusalem in both directions, allowing more lanes, will cost
Israel about NIS 2.5 billion.
The raison d’être of the project is to
relieve the bottleneck at the entrance to Jerusalem. We have been told nothing
about intended changes at the entrance to the city, nor have we seen any sign of
road works there. Apparently, the designers have not realized a simple fact: The
rate at which a liquid pours out of a bottle depends primarily on the size of
the bottle’s neck, and not the bottle itself.
If Route 1 is made wider
but nothing is changed at the entrance to Jerusalem, the rate at which vehicles
enter through the Bridge of Strings junction will not improve, and there will be
very little benefit.
The obvious solution is a comprehensive underpass
system that would have an infinitely greater effect than widening Route 1, and
cost much less. It would be enlightening to hear from Transportation Minister
Yisrael Katz on this point.
With regard to “Women of the Wall hold costumed megila reading” (February 26),
one trusts that the supreme irony of the undisturbed reading on Purim of the
megila at the Western Wall by women dressed as men has not gone
Sir, – As long as
governments of Israel do not take serious constructive steps to increase the
supply of housing to answer the increasing demand, prices will increase (“Bank
of Israel keeps interest rate unchanged as housing prices rise,” Business &
Finance, February 26).
The price of land, major indirect taxes,
bureaucracy and severe limitations on credit are major reasons for price
Successive governments have taken no material steps to promote
rental housing, which has many advantages, especially for young couples, and
would over a few years reduce demand for real estate and cool the
In addition, housing built for rentals would reduce rental
prices, which have also risen excessively. The uncertainty of rental periods,
which are generally limited to one year, would be considerably
Most Western countries have supplies of rental housing and do
not push their citizens to buy apartments. This also provides the working
population with maximum mobility, and frees them from the need to find capital,
without which it is very difficult to purchase in a market where banks are being
regulated to limit the amounts loaned on mortgages.
Limitations on credit
could also force borrowers to look for credit in the unregulated private market,
the largest section being the grey market, which is completely unregulated by
the Bank of Israel and not seriously assessed for income tax.
Sir, – The Jerusalem Post has announced the
lineup for its second annual conference, the theme of which is “Fighting for the
One would imagine that the speakers’ list would be
balanced, representing people from the Left, Right and Center. Yet of the 11
Israelis featured in the ad from your February 26 issue, three (Avigdor
Liberman, Danny Danon and Gilad Erdan) come from Likud Beytenu’s right wing; one
(Naftali Bennett) is the head of a party that opposes the two-state solution and
calls for the incorporation of territory into Israel immediately; one (Caroline
B.Glick) is an outstanding rightwing columnist; and another is the
soon-to-be-out-of-office chief rabbi (Yona Metzger) who has done nothing to
solve problems of agunot (women whose husbands refuse to grant them a religious
divorce) or conversion, and is opposed to any religious pluralism in Israel. The
only politician on the list who advocates a peace process is Ehud Olmert, who
currently holds no office and is on trial, as is one other speaker
In its publicity the Post mentions that it is featuring
“leaders of American Jewry.” Yet there are only two Americans listed, one of
whom is not Jewish and is also known for his right-wing views (John Bolton).
Only Alan Dershowitz represents a more moderate view. Indeed, where are the
leaders of American Jewry? Not on this list.
Where are the Israeli
moderates, representatives of Center or Left parties? Where are the Post
columnists who are not right-wingers? Where are religious leaders of non-Orthodox
groups or even moderate Orthodox groups? Since the Post prides itself on
presenting a multitude of varied opinions, the current lineup seems to be a
distortion. It is unfortunate that it therefore will speak to only a very
limited sector of American Jewry and present an extremely skewed view of the
What a pity to miss an opportunity to truly represent
the variety of views that exists regarding Zionism and the very real and
pressing problems we face today.
The writer is a
rabbi and columnist (Tradition Today) in The Jerusalem Post Magazine.