Sir, – Your April 21 front-page headline “Schalits ready to
politicize campaign for Gilad’s release” is not news. The campaign has been
heavily politicized by the leftwing “at any price” camp calling for the release
of murderers. The “price” for this approach will be the inevitable murder of
scores of additional Israelis.
Why is the law reducing the extravagant
privileges of Hamas prisoners not yet passed? Why is pressure on the Red Cross
so minimal? Why are we giving money, water, electricity and truckloads of
supplies to Gaza while Schalit is still being held? All these approaches are
being ignored due to the pressure of leftist organizations (and, probably, some
European countries) who support (politically and financially) “at any price” as
the only alternative.SHARONA BEN-AVRAHAM
Kfar Haroeh Blood is blood
– I saw red when reading “Bill to ban child-killers from prisoner exchanges”
Why should we exchange any prisoners with blood on their
hands? These Palestinians have killed Jews and will kill again. I think we
should having capital punishment like we did with Eichmann, and stop showing our
enemies there is no reason they should not continue to kill us.
in our jails enjoying privileges not given to Gilad Schalit and just wait for us
to exchange thousands like them for one poor soldier. There is something wrong
with this scenario.
Let’s wake up and pass a bill that bans the exchange
of all prisoners with blood on their hands, and not just the blood of
children.DORRAINE GILBERT WEISS
Jerusalem Peace before all
Sir, – In his
analysis “Unilateralism may backfire for Palestinians, experts say” (April 20),
Miller, like so many others, fails to even mention that the
whole point of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations is to achieve a peace
settlement, of which statehood for the Palestinians is just one
Indeed, the Palestinians are apparently using the pursuit of
statehood as a way of avoiding the issue of peace and recognition of Israel’s
legitimacy, sovereignty, Jewish character and territorial integrity as a way of
maintaining the state of conflict indefinitely. It is also seems the
Palestinians’ wish to overrun Israel with faux Palestinian refugees is alive as
At least US President Barack Obama has made it plain that for
America, at least, Palestinian statehood is a non-starter for the time being.
Israel should now ask Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to publicly
clarify to the Palestinians that statehood will be one of the results of peace
with Israel, and will not precede it.KENNETH BESIG
Kiryat Arba So why
Sir, – As I read Gil Troy’s innovative and intelligent take on the growing
trend of anti-Zionist rabbinic students and how we here in Israel can and should
deal with them (“Treat anti-Zionist rabbinic students like the Four Sons,”
Center Field, April 20), I kept asking myself what exactly is the motivation for
sending them here in the first place? The answer: All movements, streams,
sectors and organizations across the Jewish rainbow (with some super-extreme
exceptions) agree on one central point: Judaism without Israel is incomplete,
Troy points out three “facts” the students should recognize:
Israel’s Jewish population is the largest in the world, there is a vicious and
ever-increasing assault on Israel, and communal leaders are paid to uphold
communal consensus points. I would add a fourth: The very existence of a
sovereign State of Israel within the confines of the historic, holy and original
Land of Israel is a basic foundation and fundamental prerequisite of Judaism and
Jewish life on any and all levels.
Troy blames some of the modern and
disturbing trend of anti-Zionist rabbinic students on “the previous generation,
who failed to convey a compelling and complex Zionist narrative.” But it is also
the previous generation that understood how critical living and experiencing
Israel first-hand would be for any person who wants to not only live a Jewish
life, but serve as a spiritual leader.
None of this need contradict
legitimate criticism of modern Israel or social action on behalf of
Palestinians. But such actions or attitudes must complement a basic axiomatic
truth regarding Israel’s place in Jewish life and lore, and that without it we
are lost.GERSHON HARRIS
Sir, – I wonder why there has
been no mention of the Israeli seminaries in which these rabbinic students
study. Have we forgotten the power of education in providing information and
forming attitudes? Why are these students required to complete their studies in
Israel if their teachers fail to create leaders who will testify to the beauty
of this nation and its past, as well as present efforts to be a light unto the
nations and to the Jewish people? VICKY MANNIS
Sir, – It would appear
that Gil Troy and others are standing too close to the problem. They fail to
recognize that the phenomenon of agenda-driven student clergy has long been
endemic within liberal Christian seminaries and, increasingly, in Jewish
As religious praxis evaporates among the mainline Christian and
liberal Jewish constituencies, and ghost congregations become the norm, there is
a dearth of seminarians seriously committed to normative pastoral work, allowing
radical, agenda-driven activists to step in to fill the void.
church and temple pews may be empty, these radical clerics know they will be
well paid while enjoying a hijacked legitimacy for their activities, and a bully
pulpit from which to issue activist pronunciamentos that may or may not be
legitimate, but have little to do with core Christianity or
Absentee and indifferent congregations are willing to pay the
salary of a minister or rabbi who makes no religious demands yet is on hand when
needed for a life-cycle event that is, often as not, an intermarriage. Hence,
the rabbinic students being referred to are hardly naïve innocents who become
enamored of anti- Zionism during their mandatory year in Israel – they arrive in
Jerusalem already fired-up with anti-Israel zeal.
Indeed, it is often the
very reason they choose to become rabbis in the first place.J.J. GROSS
Jerusalem Magic of rationality
Sir, – Seth Frantzman claims that “The revolution
will be televised – and it won’t be democratic” (Terra Incognita, April 20),
referring to the Mideast turmoil.
Yet too much emphasis has been placed
on the question of democracy. A better way to judge progress is the move from
“magical” to rational thinking.
China, in the 1950s, was trapped in a
maze of magical thinking. It pursued disastrous economic and social policies by
dogmatically following Maoist ideology with religious fervor. It persecuted
thousands of innocent people as capitalists or reactionaries in a gigantic witch
hunt. But it learned from its mistakes, eased repression, and has turned toward
more pragmatic policies.
As a result, China is advancing.
countries of the Middle East have similar challenges. They can use their vast
human and natural resources rationally to build infrastructure, advance
education, compete for manufacturing and forge peaceful alliances.
they can mimic China in the 1950s and fall for the seductive magic of ideology,
hunt for heretics and demonize Israel.
The big question is not so much
whether people can vote, but whether they can think.DAVID KATCOFF