December 24: It’s legal, period
I would like to know is why the Prime Minister never tells the world that settlements are legal.
Letters Photo: REUTERS
It’s legal, period
Sir, – Israel declares that it will build more homes in Judea
and Samaria, and of course the whole world screams (“France: Settlement projects
call into question Israel’s commitment to peace,” December 21).
have been numerous articles and letters in Israel by very distinguished authors
providing very strong evidence that all the construction is perfectly legal. The
problem is that most of the world does not read them.
What the world does
see and hear is our prime minister speaking.
What I would like to know is
why he never tells the world that they are legal. When the world hears our
senior officials answer that this is the way we always do it, it is not
Sir, – Rather than harping on
Israel’s settlement building, the international leadership would do well to turn
its concern to the Palestinians: Stop the indoctrination and incitement to
hatred and murder, and return the the negotiating table. There you can discuss
settlements and any other issues you wish.
MILTON J. KRAMER
You report that France, Britain, Germany and Portugal issued a joint statement
saying they were “extremely concerned by, and strongly opposed, the plans by
Israel to expand settlement construction in the West Bank, including in east
Jerusalem” (“14 of 15 Security Council members condemn J’lem, West Bank building
plans,” December 20). But you don’t report it for what it is: a sectarian
Just as Sunnis and other Muslims have been slugging it out for
centuries, so too those sectarians on the other side of the river, the Jews and
Pity is, the Security Council members seem more determined to
reinforce sectarian disputes than resolve them.
Not just rabbis
Sir, – Jeremy Sharon (“High Court suspends Chief Rabbinate’s
provision of rabbinic ordination without written exam,” December 21) quotes
Rabbi Haim Sassi as saying “It’s absolutely crazy that a rabbi can get a job as
a rabbi through his personal connections.”
Use of the fast track should
be restricted to well qualified and experienced rabbis who have immigrated from
overseas, like the late Dayan Yechezkel Abramsky or Dayan Yitzchak Weisz, and
not as a way of providing “jobs for the boys.”
I always thought
protektzia was fairly typical of the way the job market works in Israel and was
not restricted to the rabbinate.
Using it as a stick to beat only the
religious establishment therefore is not entirely fair.
MARTIN D. STERN
We’re all alright
Sir, – I should like to reassure former Shin Bet
head Yuval Diskin (“What worries Diskin is that Israel is falling apart,”
Observations, December 21).
Institutions such as the family, community
and volunteer organizations are strong and dynamic.
There are many
charities, social action, self-help and support groups. Combat units of the IDF
must turn away young people because of the high number of applicants. The
country is holding elections next month without the prospect of violence at the
While our leadership could be better, our social fabric is stable
and we are not falling apart.
Sir, – I
have not yet reached the age of Judy Montagu’s friend of 97 (“About keeping your
balance, In My Own Write, December 19), but I fully agree that life is too
short. I find this every day when, for lack of time, I don’t get around to
reading The Jerusalem Post.
However, Montagu’s face kept looking up at me
from the kitchen table, begging me to read her article, which I finally got
round to doing between jobs, two days later. The content hit the nail on the
head so hard that I had to write a thank you, Judy, for reminding readers how
important proportion and perspective are in our lives.
Wall of inaccuracies
Sir, – Seth J. Frantzman’s “Liberating the Wall from whom?”
(Terra Incognita, December 19) is full of inaccuracies.
that prayer shawls are worn only by men, but they are worn by both women and men
in many places, and this has been true for many years. He also states that Women
of the Wall is a Reform organization. To the contrary, our members and
supporters include Conservative/ Masorti, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Renewal,
as well as Reform Jews.
He claims that we bring a Torah scroll into the
women’s section of the Kotel plaza. We have not done so for over a year
Women of the Wall was not founded at a Hadassah conference, as he
writes. And our attendance has been more than a dozen women for the past three
Most importantly, Frantzman writes that we come to the Kotel to
protest. We come to pray and we follow the same practice we have followed since
2003. That is, we pray morning prayers and Hallel in the women’s section and
then move to Robinson’s Arch for Torah reading and Musaf.
Our prayer does
not interfere with other women’s prayer. Most don’t even notice we are
And we are there for less than an hour, most of that time in
complete silence, as is true for most of the morning service. And of course we
only come on Rosh Hodesh, 10-11 times a year. We don’t come on Rosh Hashana,
which is also a Rosh Hodesh, and we don’t come on a Rosh Hodesh that falls on a
Rabbi Elyse Frishman joined us last week on her own. She was not
with the group from Netzer.
As for Frantzman’s charge that we would leave
the Kotel if we arrived one morning to find it empty, the truth is that we would
pray as usual. There is no way we would abandon the Kotel. It is our holy
We are not motivated against the “Orthodox Jewish manner of
worship.” In fact, we welcome it.
For years we worshipped only in that
way. Our Orthodox members still do.
I don’t believe that any of the women
who prayed with us most recently would agree with much of what was written in
Frantzman’s article. It’s hard to imagine where he got his
CHERYL BIRKNER MACK
The writer is a member of the
board of Women of the Wall
Seth J. Frantzman responds: I received my information
from op-eds, such as one by Elyse Frishman, and news reports and interviews in
Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post and The Jerusalem Report, in addition to interviews
and information posted on Women of the Wall’s Facebook page. As for the Women of
the Wall being closely connected to Reform Judaism, Anat Hoffman, its chairwoman
, is executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and
advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel. I stand by my rendering of the
Sir, – As one who lived through and well
remembers Munich 1938 and the betrayal of Czechoslovakia, it was interesting to
read “Czech envoy: While parallels between Israel and 1938 Czechoslovakia are
not exact, there are similarities” (December 14).
Britain and France had
an agreement to come to the aid of Czechoslovakia in the event of military
conflict. However, Britain’s Chamberlain and France’s Daladier went to Munich
and agreed that Czechoslovakia would cede the Sudetenland to Germany. This
forced Czechoslovakia to give up the areas that were its most important security
barriers, thus making possible the German annexation of the rest of the
It seems Britain and France are once again playing the same game