Strike in kind

Sir, – I am disgusted by the latest cynical “hunger strike” by criminals in Israeli jails (“Prisoners show solidarity with hunger strikers,” February 25).

Why not respond with a hunger strike by their victims? I am certain that thousands of supporters would be proud to join in this effort.

STEVE BERGER
Ramat Gan

Purim’s message

Sir, – Regarding “Unmasking the Purim story” by Shimshon Hakohen Nadel (Comment & Features, February 25), the message of Purim is explicit.

Megilat Esther (Book of Esther) says matanot l’evyonim (9:22). Alkabetz, author of Lecha Dodi, translates evyonim as “rejected.”

The secret weapon of the Jewish people is unity, with differences of opinion. “Give gifts to the rejected!” The very next phrase says vekibel (singular) hayehudim (plural) (9:23). Grammatically, it should say vekiblu (plural), but ideationally, unity among Jews is the explicit message of Megilat Esther.

JOSEPH DAVID LEVINSON
Jerusalem
The writer is a retired professor of philosophy and author of The Hidden Face of Purim Resonant chord

Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef’s “Addressing the issue of ageism” (Think About It, February 25) struck a resonant chord with me, a 74-year-old with her brain still functioning normally.

It especially annoys me when I am addressed as doda (auntie) or motek (sweetie). I realize the speaker means no harm, but I find it demeaning and disrespectful.

Judaism teaches us to respect our elders, even to rise when someone over the age of 70 enters the room. I don’t expect people to rise for me, just to show a little courtesy when they address me.

ANNICE GRINBERG
Rehovot

Chapter and verse

Sir, – For years I have read the term “occupation” associated with “international law,” without the citation of any competent source to support the claim. I feel that our enemies learned the lesson from the Nazi Joseph Goebbels, of hated memory, that repetition, not truth, is what prevails.

Finally, on February 25 The Jerusalem Post published two letters under the heading, “Making the case,” by readers Michael Tal and Howard Grief, respectively, who cited the legal basis for the Israeli presence on land captured in 1967. They mentioned the Levy Report and various international conventions of the 20th Century that deny the contention of our enemies.

I suggest that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs order every embassy and consulate to assign one staff member whose responsibility it will be to reply in print, on the air or on the Internet to every use of the generalized phrase, providing citations from the legal sources. Let us, with happy irony, use the lesson from Goebbels to imprint on the minds of the multitudes the rectitude and legal standing of our case.

DAN VOGEL
Jerusalem

Back to the bar

Sir, – Shalom Hammer tries to educate us on Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik’s interpretation of the obligations of a community (“Rabbis or bartenders – synagogues or pubs?” Comment & Features, February 24). But he would be well served to remember that to bring judgement on a fellow Jew requires more than a few quotes from The Wall Street Journal.

As a proud member of “The Shul” in Bal Habour, Florida, we are very lucky to have a promoter of yiddishkeit and outreach like Rabbi Sholom Lipskar. His works can be accomplished only through the charitable contributions the institution receives from its members. Just to list these works without elaborating on them would take a full page of this publication.

To isolate a lavish Kiddush, which actually provides a Shabbat meal to many who do not have the means to have one on their own, and drinking lechaim in celebration of Shabbat, does poor service to his tireless work of bringing Jewish values to as many people as possible.

PEDRO SEIDL
Miami/Tel Aviv

Hardly pleasing

Sir, – Reports that Yesh Atid may become the Knesset’s biggest party if new elections are called (“Poll: Yesh Atid would crush Likud Beytenu in new election,” February 22) seem to indicate that Israeli voters are either mad – or mad.

They might be mad, as in insane, by rewarding Yesh Atid for no concrete reason. The party is completely composed of unproven newcomers who have accomplished absolutely nothing politically. Indeed, the reason it has so many seats to begin with is largely due to last-minute, impulsive voting, not any true affinity for the party’s political message.

Or, the voters might be mad, as in angry, and seeking to punish Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his bumbling, fumbling attempts at coalition-building and for other political missteps by driving him from power – a goal easiest achieved by making Yesh Atid, currently the secondbiggest party, larger than Likud- Beytenu.

Bottom line: The prospect of Yair Lapid becoming our next prime minister thanks to pure populism, petty vengeance or a combination thereof hardly pleases.

MENACHEM G. JERENBERG
Beit Shemesh

Ayalon naive

Sir, – In a lengthy interview, former deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon (“Ayalon to ‘Post’: Liberman-led diplomacy played to the stereotype that Israel is the belligerent side,” February 22) discussed his controversial demotion in Yisrael Beytenu and his conflict with its leader, Avigdor Liberman.

At the very end he states that recognition right now of a Palestinian state would “change their own perceptions and make them feel masters of their own destiny,” as well as “change the atmosphere and the dynamics of the conflict.”

One can only shudder at the naivety of such a statement. In fact, it insults the intelligence of most Israelis. To the contrary, recognizing a Palestinian state would be an additional step in a long list of tactical and appeasing errors to the ultimate disaster of Israel’s demise as a Jewish state.

From Oslo to Gush Katif, from acquiescence to American pressure on settlement freezes to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s capitulation to a two-state policy, Israel has probed and given. What it has received is far from any change in atmosphere or the dynamics of the conflict.

Being politically correct during these dangerous times only whets the appetites of those who wish to destroy us. Shame on Danny Ayalon.

YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL
Modi’in

Prisoner X

Sir, – As a born and bred Australian I convey my grief and anguish to the family on the death of Ben Zygier in such tragic circumstances (“The Prisoner X factor,” My Word, February 22).

It is obvious that being a dual citizen using the everimportant Australian passport, he was also the victim of brainwashing that was bungled, whether it was manipulated for security or other reasons.

What a heartbreaking loss, particularly for the upstanding parents who encouraged and educated their son with a thorough Jewish background, fervent Zionist ideology and academic qualifications.

As a parent I would be demanding straight answers instead of the usual run-around Israeli blame game that I have seen repeated here many times.

JACK DAVIS
Jerusalem

Sir, – What possessed Or Heller (“Negligence and tragedy,” Analysis, February 15) to include “may his memory be for a blessing” in the closing sentence of his piece on Ben Zygier? Zygier’s memory is in no way a blessing.

JUDITH NUSBAUM
Rishon Lezion

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