Scarfe cartoon

Sir, – Your January 28 editorial (“Fighting anti-Semitism”) failed to mention the hopelessness of the fight when cartoons such as that of Gerald Scarfe in The Sunday Times can be published in a respectable newspaper without any self-reproach by the editorial staff (“Cementing peace?,” January 28).

A clear incitement to anti- Semitism and a step on the road to the next Holocaust, The Sunday Times should be ashamed and disgusted with itself for being so biased. I can only feel helplessness and frustration at the unfairness of the attacks against us. How they expect that breeding more hatred will lead to peace is beyond me.

Seeing that whatever we do, good or bad, will elicit the same negative images, we should make ourselves as strong as possible before the next war. Instead of just talking about E1, we should start building.

CECILIA HENRY
Kfar Bialik

Sir, – It is absolutely shocking that a British newspaper such as The Sunday Times would stoop to such raw, unabated anti-Semitism and publish such a disgusting cartoon! Our Arab enemies apparently do a very good job convincing people of their point of view, even though their propaganda is very far from the legitimate truth. One would think that the otherwise liberal, fair-minded British public would see through this kind of bigotry and reject it.

HAIM M. LERNER
Ganei Tikva

Sir, – The countless words, analyses, and opinions that constituted the sound and fury of the party campaigns in Israel’s recent elections have yet to reveal their ultimate worth and significance.

In the world at large there is a clear and ominous rise of hatred and hostility toward our beleaguered state. It found its most recent expression in the obscene anti-Semitic cartoon posted by The Sunday Times of London.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, it chose to depict a big-nosed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu building and cementing a wall with the blood and limbs of Palestinians.

And Yet! We are able to respond and show the world what we truly are and how we differ by virtue of two recent, magnificent achievements of which we can be justly proud.

The first is the most beautiful and meaningful way that we and Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael commemorate the Tu Bishvat holiday. We did so by having hundreds of thousands of participants plant one million saplings all over Israel.

Surely there can be no more positive and elegant way for a nation to express its wholesome respect and love for the genuine values to which they subscribe.

Second is the almost unbelievable technology developed by Dr. Shai Meretzki and his Bonus BioGroup, where they have demonstrated the ability to grow healthy bone and cartilage, and literally create spare parts for people who suffer from the loss or deterioration of limbs.What a marvelous contribution to all of mankind and a most fitting response to our detractors.

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah Tikva

Sir, – There is certainly no antidote to people of the caliber of Gerald Scarfe, whose scurrilous and odious cartoon was published recently in The Sunday Times.

There will always be those anti- Semites whose feverish minds are constantly at work, waiting for an opportunity such as our elections to vomit out their special brand of filth.

While sympathizing with our British Jewish brothers who can only remain helpless in the face of this gargantuan insult, it is at such times that we must all realize once again how wonderful it is, and how blessed we are, to have our own country and be the masters of our own destiny.

DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Mevaseret Zion

Sir, – I guess it’s easier to produce a cartoon depicting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as being bloodthirsty and risk receiving a few indignant letters, than to criticize the lunatics the security barrier is designed to keep out – who would happily slit the throat of anyone depicting Muhammad even in a cartoon.

YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem

Not just in Ireland

Sir, – I was very happy to read again my favorite column, Another Tack, by Sarah Honig after her return from abroad.

“That unwitting indecency” (January 25) was for me just another confirmation of opinions of a number of “good” Christian believers about Jews throughout the centuries.

The Irish teenagers are not alone in the Christian world in believing that “Palestine” should be freed from the Jewish “villains” who “crucified [their] Lord” without knowing exactly the history and what is going on now in Israel and the Middle East.

In my opinion it is not “Palestine” they care much about.

Rather, it is the fact that Jews survived along with their religion, having today even their own country, Israel.

As for Jesus, ask any believer in any parish throughout the Western world – especially in the eastern Europe, including Russia – who crucified Jesus. I guarantee that 90 percent would answer by saying the Jews, not the Romans. This has been, I believe, the main source of hatred against Jews for two millennia.

Unfortunately, it continues to dominate the minds and hearts of some segments in the Christian world.

The State of Israel and its rabbinate, together with rabbis and Jewish communities all over the world, should constantly fight with efficient hasbara against such erroneous and malicious conceptions.

AVRAHAM ATIJAS
Jerusalem

Head in the sand

Sir, – The article “Deri on Lapid’s plan for haredi enlistment: ‘It will not happen’” (January 25) brings into focus the head-in-the-sand mindset of Shas.

This mode of thinking will have inevitable consequences for Israel if it is allowed to continue to influence the Israeli economy. It is also contrary to rabbinic traditions and biblical teachings.

The highest percentage of Israelis living below the poverty line are ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Those not taught the core curriculum are ill-suited to earning a living.

Israel’s two biggest haredi school networks, those of Agudat Yisrael and Shas, receive the same funding as state schools.

The state is thus fully supporting educational frameworks that train their pupils in a way that bars them from joining the work force and encourages them to avoid enlisting in the IDF or performing national service. Taxpayers’ money spent on haredi education thus exacerbates poverty.

While one hears of increased IDF service by the ultra-Orthodox, the avoidance of military service through the framework of Torato Omunato (Torah is his trade) far outstrips this. The demographic increase in the haredi population is growing much faster than its enlistment rate.

Those advocating Torato Omunato choose to ignore those teachings of the Torah that do not fit their politics. In Numbers 32:6 we read: “Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?” They also ignore the example of rabbinic sages who worked and were thus part of the general community: Akiva was a shepherd, Hillel was a woodcutter, Shammai the Elder was a builder, Yochanan Ben- Zakkai was a businessman, and Abba Shaul was a grave digger, to mention just a few.

Two statistics make it obligatory to spread the burden of national service if Israel, surrounded by hostile countries, is to survive: 1. Male non-employment rates (as distinct from unemployment rates) among working-age ultra- Orthodox have tripled over the past 30 years.

2. If trends of the past decade continue, in another 30 years 78% of Israel’s primary school students will be haredi or Arab, and only 14% will be in the nonreligious state school system.

GERRY MYERS
Beit Zayit

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