New definition of dishonesty
With regard to “UTJ considers Basic Law to solve enlistment problem” (February 4), Israel’s army-serving and taxpaying citizens have long grown accustomed to being fleeced by a Haredi community that eschews both military service and (in many, if not most, cases) the payment of taxes.
That a majority of such young men do not seriously learn Torah is a fact. They do not learn simply because they cannot learn. Even in Talmudic times, when only a tiny percentage of highly capable young men entered the academy, it was known that “of a thousand who enroll, only one emerges” as a scholar of any merit. As Adina bar Yosef, the daughter of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, said, most of the yeshiva people “spend their time wandering from window to window and from cigarette to cigarette.”
The Torah system as we now have it is primarily a crime against the wastrels who languish in its four cubits. Their lives are being wasted to serve the lust for power by Haredi rabbinic and political leaders. No wonder there are no admissions requirements, no periodic exams and no standards of competence or knowledge in order to qualify.
Now, the colossal pickpockets known as the Haredi parties are hatching a plot to “solve the enlistment problem” because the study of Torah is a “supreme value.” This creates a new definition of dishonesty.J.J. GROSS
Same, just different source
In “Seeing the whole picture” (Health Scan, February 4), Prof. Yujiang Fang, a visiting professor at Rambam Medical Center, is quoted as saying: “Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays and other particles, such as gamma rays, to destroy cancer cells.”
X-rays and gamma rays are the same particles – both are photons. X-rays are usually a by-product of electrons impinging on a metallic target, while gamma rays are usually created in radioactive sources, but they are identical particles.YIGAL HOROWITZ
The writer is emeritus professor of radiation physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Slapping South Africa
I think your superb editorial “South African stupidity” (February 4) was the biggest slap in the face to all those who are pro-BDS in that country.
I read the editorial first thing in the morning. Later, I was out with my wife in Netanya. I saw so many Palestinians drinking coffee or shopping. I did not see any apartheid. They walked among us in peace and tranquility. They work in shops, nurse our sick in hospitals and work for the municipality. If ever there was an utter lie, this “apartheid” one beats the dust.
It is not too late for South African leaders – and I am thinking of Archbishop Desmond Tutu – to say they’re sorry for not having taken up Israel’s offer to fend off Cape Town’s water crisis.MICHAEL PLASKOW
Your editorial should be forwarded to all the leading newspapers in South Africa. However, it is probably a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, as Cape Town will soon be in dire straits. It is a situation beyond belief! SALLY SHAW
The Democrats and Israel
Regarding Ron Klein’s attempt to mollify Israelis with his “Democrats remain in the pro-Israel camp, despite Pew Poll” (Comment & Features, February 4), it’s no secret that the Democratic Party took a sharp turn left during the Obama days, and continues to do so at an alarming rate. The chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America can try his best at pulling apart the question on the poll, but there is no denying that the inclusion of the likes of Keith Ellison among the party leadership doesn’t bode well for Israel.
More importantly, the Democratic Party is still hell-bent on the continuation of former president Barack Obama’s policies, such as support for the Iran deal. It was the Democrat Obama who refused to veto one of the strongest anti-settlement resolutions in the UN Security Council, allowing it to pass days before his departure in an appalling act of abandonment of Israel.
Mr. Klein also claims that anti-Israel sentiment does not come from the Democratic Party, but from the likes of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, “who is not even a Democrat.” That statement would be hilarious if not frightening, considering the recently leaked photo of a smiling Obama, then a senator, standing side by side with Farrakhan.
Save us the whitewash, please. Instead, admit that the Democratic Party needs a serious overhaul and then get to work! MEIRA OVED
Israeli chauvinism, which equates the American political system with that of Israel, has led Israeli talking heads to call out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his alliance with US President Donald Trump, believing it will alienate Democrats who are sure to return to power – someday (“Gabbay: PM mishandling relationship with US,” January 31).
Indeed, Israel is losing support among Democrats. But taking a more laid-back role with President Trump will not only alienate the most pro-Israel president we’ve seen in decades, it will do nothing to improve Israel’s relations with the Democratic Party. What might help is a more laidback attitude toward settlements, rights for Palestinians and the two-state solution – all of which more closely reflect the Democratic agenda. If you want to champion these positions, fine, but say so – and don’t blame Netanyahu for turning off American Democrats just because he favors Trump.
Youth, especially Democratic youth, are abandoning the progressive, technologically savvy success story we call Israel because it does not align with their value system, which is to champion the underdog. I suggest that achieving Democratic support means not abandoning President Trump, but creating a hasbara (public diplomacy) package that young democratic minds can accept.
The problem is Israel’s inability to forge alliances with Diaspora Jews of all stripes, to attract youth of all faiths, and to make our cause – the world needs us – their cause.BARBARA PFEFFER BILLAUER
Banish Hazan from gov’t service
Oren Hazan had the temerity to call the speaker of the Knesset “Stalin” (“Hazan calls Edelstein ‘Stalin,’” February 1). Has he forgotten who Yuli Edelstein is? He is a former prisoner of Zion who was sent to prison for his love for Israel and the desire to live here as a Jew.
Hazan’s apology does not erase the disgusting comment and hurt. His suspension from the Knesset for six months is not enough – he should not be allowed to be a part of our seat of government. He is an embarrassment to the country.VICKY SCHER
Germany’s special obligation
My jaw dropped while I was reading your January 3 editorial “Germany’s dangerous FM.”
It is mind-boggling to me that a German foreign minister would open his mouth against the nation of Israel, let alone support and enable those who actively call for its destruction. It is appalling for him to malign the safe haven in which survivors of his nation’s atrocities found refuge.
If Germany’s repentance for the sins of its past is to be more than just lip service, it must be backed up by unwavering and vocal support for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Otherwise, the blood shed at the hands of their fathers will continue to cry out.JONATHAN POYTA
Westerlo, New York