Sir, – As I read the lead story regarding the further deterioration of Shas (“Shas rabbis reject Deri’s resignation letter,” December 30), I was reminded of the eternal wisdom of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). That seminal text teaches us to “despise authority” (1:10), which the commentator Rashi takes to mean: Do your utmost to avoid holding positions of dominance and leadership.
A “religious political party” is a prime example of an oxymoron – a clear contradiction in terms.
Shas, United Torah Judaism and other political parties/groups founded on religion are anachronisms.
Individuals who are purportedly Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox must realize they are in direct violation of religious principles.
I bid a fond farewell to Shas, UTJ and all their cohorts.
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Blame Channel 10
Sir, – I have really had it with those who blame everything wrong in Israel on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (“Critics blast PM over impending closure of Channel 10,” December 30).
If Channel 10 is closing, there is nobody to blame but Channel 10.
Its programming is lackluster and there is no difference between its news and commentary and those of Channels 1 and 2.
Sir, – Every so often we get the “tragic story” of poor Channel 10, seeking to be saved by the Knesset from mismanagement. I have yet to hear of the Knesset passing a special law to prevent people who fall behind in their mortgage payments from being turned out of their homes. After all, these are only “poor voters” who cannot persuade others to listen to their political point of view! How lucky for the commentators at Channel 10 that at present their favorite target is the (temporary) minister of communications.
They are lucky to be supported by such stalwarts of democracy as Isaac Herzog (silent at a police investigation), Tzipi Livni (who changes her politics and party affiliation for every election out of “patriotism” and supposedly not because she would like to be prime minister) and Eitan Cabel (who for the sake of free speech wants to pass a special law closing an “opposition” newspaper).
These three claim to have the money owed the Israeli taxpayer but will not reveal its source – this, in a year when the country was and still is racked by major bribery and money laundering charges against leading public figures! To our beloved Reuven Rivlin I would suggest that a president of all the people does not have to speak out on everything. I would refer him to Pirkei Avot 3:17 and suggest that at times it might more prudent to follow the saying, “Silence is golden” (see Herzog above).
Jerusalem Pretty clear why
Sir, – In “Mounting election turmoil” (Candidly Speaking, December 30), Isi Leibler writes that “younger voters... are inclined to vote for ‘centrist’ parties which they believe can impact social issues.” Assuming, that is, they even bother to vote.
There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that an increasing number of voters – younger as well as older – won’t bother to vote at all. Why should they? After all, this will be an election of “Who is least bad?” “Which leader is least repugnant?” “For whom will I have to vote in order to counter the ‘extremists’ on the other side?” We suffer from a dearth of true statesmen articulating a positive message of direction. To not vote is to abdicate a crucial civic responsibility, but it is easy to see why many are likely to take that route.
Jerusalem Loss for country
Sir, – So sad to hear of Uzi Landau’s coming retirement from politics (“Landau leaves politics after 31 years,” December 29).
Landau is the perfect example of what is so sadly lacking in Israeli leadership today, as displayed by the main leadership contenders. He has a toughness and resolve that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lacks. He has the strong principles that Tzipi Livni has abandoned. He has the big shoes that Naftali Bennett has yet to grow into. He has a gravitas and bearing that Isaac Herzog might envy. And he has the untarnished record that Avigdor Liberman can only dream of.
Such a loss for a wonderful country.
Sir, – While appalled at the content of the letter from alumni of Jerusalem’s Arts and Science Academy (“Jerusalem high school’s alumni call on students to refuse to serve in IDF,” December 29), I was reassured to read that one of the signatories, Gilad Leibovitz, is not even a resident of the country but is instead studying medicine in Italy.
Perhaps Leibovitz will consider remaining there should he successfully complete his studies.
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN
Mevaseret Zion No fan of Turkey
Sir, – It is horrendous that Seth J. Frantzman can recommend that Israelis holiday in Turkey (“Time for Turkey,” Travel Trends, December 28)! Also, that The Jerusalem Post should reward it with half a page of publicity.
That hateful, anti-Israel country is mentioned in another article on Page 9, where it is stated that the leader of murderous Hamas sat with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (“In Turkey, Hamas leader Mashaal vows to liberate Palestine, Jerusalem”).
The article appeared in December but would be worthy of an April Fools joke!
ALAN H. ZULMAN
Netanya Jews should ‘get it’
Sir, – With regard to “Animals Live urges IDF to provide better conditions for vegetarians” (November 23), when rampant animal abuse was documented in kosher US slaughterhouses, instead of rallying to halt them Jews seemed to just want to proclaim anti-Semitism. This was in light of the fact that it was fellow Jews who wanted these practices halted and that not demanding a halt to animal torture can only give fodder for more anti-Semitism.
I have never, ever understood why all Jews aren’t vegan, as we should be the first to “get it.” Abuses to animals don’t just trickle – they gush up to allow mankind to be cruel to one another.
Kudos to vegan soldiers who will hopefully influence others to include animals in their circle of compassion.
No answer yet
Sir, – While thinking about the events of the past week (two policemen stabbed in the Old City by an Arab coming from prayers at a mosque, Arab youths attack Jews driving to a burial on the Mount of Olives, a father and his 11-year-old daughter injured when Arab youths firebomb their car), my mind drifted to a seemingly unrelated event in the late 1990s. The event was a Torah dedication in Philadelphia for an adult Jewish education institution, Etz Chaim.
The donor of the Torah was an elderly lady in her 90s who dedicated it in memory of her two older sisters. They died while shielding her from hate-crazed villagers during a pogrom in eastern Europe.
Pogroms fueled the desire for a Jewish State with the hope of freeing Jews from centuries of persecution at the hands of their enemies. Unfortunately, the events of the past few months have proven that having a Jewish state is not a guarantee that Jews will be able to live safely and peacefully, and that even a synagogue is not a haven from persecution.
What is the answer?