I’m normally a quiet, easygoing person, but your lead news item “In stinging blow to Diaspora Jewry, gov’t reneges on Western Wall deal” (June 26) hit a nerve and I feel compelled to comment.
Once again, our gutless prime minister has jumped to the tunes played by the haredim. How low can he go, and how high can he jump to their demands? This is not a democracy; it’s a type of dictatorship that totally disregards court decisions.
I am an everyday secular Jew (and proud of it) who made aliya a few years ago, hoping that Israel would offer me a home among like-minded people without being dictated to by extremist, 17th-century ideology. I worry about the conditions being imposed on my children and grandchildren.
This is a disgraceful turnabout and a slap in the face for any normal Israeli citizen or Jew in the Diaspora. I, like some others, now wonder why we decided to relocate.
The biggest enemy of Israel is not our Arab neighbors but our moral and ethical disintegration.
My suggestion is that the entire Diaspora cease donating vast amounts of funds to Israel until the government comes to its senses.
GEORGE KALISCH Ra’anana It’s sheer chutzpah every time “Diaspora Jewry” is used synonymously with “liberal Jewry.”
In the US today, per demographics, the plurality of children who actually practice Judaism are Orthodox. (No, a giant, sports-themed 13th-birthday bash alone doesn’t count.) The vast majority of liberal Diaspora Jews don’t even think about religion, let alone practice it. Witness the high rates of intermarriage.
Most “classically” religious Jews of the Diaspora strongly oppose the political positions of liberal Jews. What is heard by Israeli politicians is flak generated by liberal organizations. In reality, most liberal Jews are unaffiliated and couldn’t care less.
At the same time, to ignore the existence of the most active Diaspora participants in Jewish practice is to gravely insult them.
Inadvertently, writers are casting aspersions on them by usurping their voice. This in itself is a source of intolerable divisiveness.
GERSHON DALIN Modi’in At the conclusion of “Kotel indecision” (Editorial, June 26), you say: “Israel is a Jewish state and it should remain that way.
But the means of Jewish expression are many and varied.
These diverse means of expression should be encouraged and fostered, not restricted and legislated.”
This is a total misrepresentation of the desire of both the rabbinate and the government to preserve Jewish identity and the future of the Jewish people.
The Conservative and Reform movements have shown themselves to be complete failures when it comes to preserving the future of the Jewish people.
I am certain that nearly all Jews who follow these movements have a genuine desire to develop their connection to the Jewish people. However, facts on the ground show that their Jewishness and religious observance suffer from high intermarriage rates.
This question is once again: Who or what is a Jew? If one faces the facts, the conclusion must be that however sincere Conservative and Reform Jews are in their Jewish observance – and I am sure they are – the chances that their future generations will call themselves Jews is very unlikely.
Most Orthodox rabbis have a genuine desire to help to maintain the religious integrity of the Jewish people, both in Israel and the Diaspora. Some have gone astray and lost their own direction, but the majority see what is happening and realize that Jewish education and values are the only way to preserve the Jewish nation. In this case, the government and the Chief Rabbinate are 100% correct in rejecting so-called egalitarian prayer at Judaism’s most holy site.
EDGAR ASHER Petah Tikva I am a 70-year old ex-South African Israeli and a proud Jewish Zionist. I have traveled quite extensively and have been fortunate never to have personally encountered antisemitism – that is, until I came to live in Israel.
You see, I am a Reform Jew by choice, having grown up in an Orthodox family and received my education in Orthodox institutions.
I consider the haredi intolerance and hatred of the Reform and Conservative movements here in the Jewish state to be as wicked and sinful as any antisemitism against Jews in general.
Most Israelis pride themselves on Israel being the only democratic state in the Middle East.
Well, it is not. It is a theocracy, ruled by a minority of haredi bigots in coalition with an assortment of right-wing political parties that don’t have the guts to stand up to their bullying tactics when they threaten to topple the government if they do not get their way.
The malevolent and frightening power the haredim wield is insidiously affecting the lives and trampling the civil rights of anyone who does not think, believe or act as they do. I find it amazing and sad that tough Israeli sabras are prepared to put up with being dictated to by these undemocratic zealots. As for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I feel ashamed, embarrassed and infuriated that I have this cowardly and duplicitous man serving as prime minister of my country.
I can only hope and pray that in time, the electorate will come to its senses and elect a truly democratic government that honors and respects the religious and other rights of all its citizens, and sees its way clear to separating religion and state.
MICHAEL TUCKER Netanya The Temple Mount and Western Wall are virtually all that remain of the holy Temple of Mosaic-inspired Judaism. They are is not the remains of a Reform, Liberal, Conservative or any other form of a gender-related Jewish place of worship.
That being the case, what is the true significance of all the fuss being made by sundry representatives of these and other divergent sects of Jews concerning its use? STANLEY COHEN Jerusalem After reading “Liberman: Coalition must vote against haredi conversion bill” (June 25), I am absolutely disgusted that the government even thought of looking at this legislation. A Jew is a Jew.
Who are these people to sit in judgment of any other person? They are not God. Only He can make these laws.
SHIRLEY HYMAN Tel Aviv Recently, I wrote a long piece explaining Israeli policy and history, arguing that Israel had a right to exist. Now, I find out that my type of Judaism doesn’t exist and I am wondering why I am bothering to fight for a state that doesn’t believe in me.
I was brought up with Am Yisrael Chai – together, if we hold strong and support each other, we will live and survive. Now, a group of religious leaders and their government allies have decided to limit who is Jewish.
That means forget Am Yisrael Chai. It is now Jews saying that other Jews aren’t Jews. Who needs antisemites? What is the ultimate goal of these people – to have a standard of purity so fine that most of us worshiping in synagogues and temples in the US won’t qualify as observant, religious Jews? I bet that even though they want to cut us out of the religion, they still hope we’ll raise our voices every time we hear folks talk about delegitimizing Israel. I also bet they hope we’ll write a check for as much as we can to help support the State of Israel even though they think we’re not really Jewish.
Respect is a two-way street. If Israel is not willing to support my right to worship and my right to be Jewish in a 21st-century way, why should I support it? JANYCE C. KATZ Columbus, Ohio