A ruinous rabbinate
Sir, – The Chief Rabbinate can be very useful in the further
development of the Jewish character of the State of Israel if only it were
staffed by individuals who firmly believe in the validity of the state (“Has the
Chief Rabbinate outlived its usefulness?” Shlomo Riskin, November 13).
Unfortunately, this is not the case! Both the Chief Rabbinate and the Ministry
of Religious Affairs seem to be controlled by people for whom the State of
Israel is an anachronism and contradicts their view of not being independent
until the actual coming of the Messiah.
These non-Zionist (and sometimes
anti-Zionist) rabbis seem to do all they can to drive a wedge between observant
and nonobservant Jews. On the other hand, organizations such as Tzohar are doing
everything possible to keep the Jewish people as one nation, indivisible, under
God, with liberty, justice and tolerance for all. They are to be supported and
commended! HAIM M. LERNER
Ganei Tikva Defining a state
Sir, – The report “NGOs
duel over proposed Basic Law to define Israel as Jewish state” (November 11)
tells us of squabbles about the exact status of Arabic if the Basic Law is
passed (the status of English, incidentally, is not even mentioned), but it all
seems irrelevant to the main issue.
If the Palestinian Authority can seek
to have Palestine, within the old 1967 borders, declared a sovereign state by
the United Nations, there can surely be few objections in principle to Israel
passing a Basic Law declaring the country to be “the national home of the Jewish
Indeed, this is how Israel is perceived by large parts of the
world, and would simply be restating the basis on which the League of Nations
granted a mandate to Britain after the First World War. The mandate was to
implement the Balfour Declaration, in which the British Government had stated
that it viewed with favor the establishment in Palestine of “a national home for
the Jewish people.”
This was also the assumption underlying the UN’s
resolution in 1947 which called for the establishment of a Jewish
The preamble to Israel’s Declaration of Independence is also
unequivocal on this point: “This recognition by the United Nations of the right
of the Jewish people to establish their independent state is
The PA in general, and its President Mahmoud Abbas in
particular, have consistently refused to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.
Well what is sauce for the Palestinian goose, is sauce for the Israeli gander.
If unilateral declarations are the order of the day, why should it not be
Israel's turn? NEVILLE TELLER
Ramat Beit Shemesh Ticking clock
Sir, – Despite
being slowed by sanctions and a computer virus, Iran’s nuclear progress is
steady, and no package of incentives, which only improve with time and
misbehavior, could match the deterrence capability and international clout
afforded to nuclear regimes (“UN chief urges diplomatic solution on Iran to
avert military strike,” November 11).
Only with a credible military
threat would Iran seriously consider terminating its program, and it has become
increasingly clear that preemptive military action is unpalatable to most UN
member states, some of whom are already planning containment strategies to
address what they view as an inevitability.
The US, with its current
military obligations, cannot be expected to act unilaterally in this case. Yet
the time for a definitive gesture to answer the Iranian situation is
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad advocates for the destruction
of Israel, denies the holocaust and supplies Hezbollah and Hamas with arms.
Though all of the world should be concerned with the most powerful terrorist
state gaining a nuclear capability, Israelis would be the first
An important lesson that the civilized world taught us over 60
years ago is that the Jewish people cannot depend on others for our protection.
There are more than 30 Holocaust museums throughout Europe which testify to this
We do not want more museums.BRIAN FUCHS
New York, NY No
Sir, – In regards to the November 11 article, “Israeli firm says cost
of Iran strike too high,” presumably this investment firm and Amir Kahanovich
believe the cost of letting Iran get a nuclear bomb would be less than a strike,
should it be necessary.
He indeed would not have to worry if Iran got the
bomb beyond the mushroom cloud over his office; for him and the rest of the
country there would be no tomorrow.
I believe in finance they could also
refer to such things as no “futures.”
Apparently in such a “financial
box,” thinking in terms of common sense and reality is impossible.I.
Nahariya No big deal
Sir, – “We don’t like him!” intimated the leaders of
France and America referring to the leader of Israel (“With friends like these,”
Column One, Caroline B. Glick, November 11).
Who cares? What's the big
deal? It’s politics! Politicians don’t need to like each other to do the right
thing for their countries and we all know that very well. Probably even news
reporters know it too.
So grow up press people.
“shocked” and trying to shock the public over nothing at all. All we Israelis
care about is that our politicians are doing the best they can for our country
internally and on the word stage.
Try to return the “yellow press” closer
to the black and white press it once may have been! MICHAEL SCHNEIDER
Sir, – Rolene Marks, ex-South African, claimed in “Kangaroos
in South Africa” (Comment & Features, November 10) that the use of the term
apartheid “to describe Israel... makes a mockery and cheapens the tremendous
suffering endured by South Africa’s black citizens.” She concludes: “Jurists of
the tribunal, under the laws of balanced, democratic jurisprudence, I find you
guilty of racism.”
However the Russell Tribunal’s focus was not apartheid
crimes in Israel as Marks assumes. The question the tribunal posed was: Is
Israel guilty of apartheid crimes in Palestine? Not once did Marks refer to
Israel’s conduct in Palestine, thus in the West Bank and in Gaza.
seems as if she is unaware of public declarations by black South Africans in
support of the Russell Tribunal’s findings.
Zwelinzima Vavi, general
secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, for example said:
“Black South African workers – especially a mineworker like myself – who bore
the brunt of South African racial capitalism, and understood the purposes and
mechanisms of apartheid, know that when we talk about the conditions faced by
our Palestinian comrades we are talking about apartheid.”
In her own
words, Marks is a “proud Zionist Israeli.”
Her underlying message is “We
are right and they are wrong.”
Such a position of exclusivity contributes
to a divide between people. For peace based on human rights and for a society
that rejects apartheid, we need to face the facts and deal with them within
applicable international law.
This was the agenda of the Russell
Stellenbosch, South Africa Words of praise
– It is high time that a few words of praise should be sent in the direction of
your sports correspondent, Allon Sinai. His reporting – always of an
unparalleled standard – never fails to capture the essence of the game at hand.
His phraseology, vocabulary and composition, always a pleasure to read, place
him in a league of his own.
Long may he continue to grace the pages of
your newspaper.DAVID S. ADDLEMAN