March 17: Waiting for Obama
“Does this look like an apartheid state?”
Letters Photo: REUTERS/Handout
Waiting for Obama
Sir, – One of the finest things US President Barack Obama can
do for Israel while on his visit here is quite simple.
When he meets
Yityish Aynaw, the new Ethiopian-born Miss Israel and a former IDF officer as
well (“Miss Israel tells ‘Post’ she is ‘very excited’ to meet Obama,” March 14),
all he has to do during the photo op is point out that they are both there at
the personal invitation of the Israeli president, and be publically quoted as
asking: “Does this look like an apartheid state?” Afterward, he ought to write
this across the photograph and send autographed copies to Nobel laureates
Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and others of their ilk, saving one more for The New
York Times, daring the paper to print it on the front page.
Sir, – Poor Barack Obama.
What ignorant advisers he
must have. We hear that all the universities in Israel will be sending
representatives to hear the US president speak later this week – except for
those who study at Ariel University (“Ariel students protest their exclusion
from Obama speech,” March 14).
I assume that no one among the president’s
entourage (including Obama himself) knows that there is a large group of Arab
students at the university.
So who is being punished? Who is being
boycotted now? They might as well not have invited the students from Hebrew
University’s Mt. Scopus campus. Albeit, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is
much older, but still, our ownership of the land it’s on is questioned by some
Many years ago, in 1925, my father attended the festive opening
ceremony of Hebrew University.
Of course, he was a child and was not
officially invited. He had climbed a tree to watch.
So Mr. Obama and
company: My family’s connection to this land goes back more than 100 years. The
connection of the Jewish people to this land goes back thousands of years. Don’t
try to take away any more pieces of it.
– With the imminent arrival of US President Barack Obama, I call on each and
every one of us to create a united front and demand the immediate release of
Behind the hugs and smiles of Obama lurks a cruel
paranoia due to which Pollard is rotting in jail.
Let us sanctify the man
we recruited to deliver information on Arab states, and who sacrificed
everything for us. His health is not good, and we bear full responsibility for
bringing him home, now.
Friend of ‘agunot’
Sir, – The many hundreds of civilly divorced but “chained women” whose lives are
on hold because their husbands refuse to grant them a get (religious divorce)
may feel cautious optimism in finding the name of their most important champion
on the list of cabinet ministers in the upcoming government (“The 33rd cabinet,”
For more than 20 years, Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, the incoming deputy
religious services minister, with responsibility for conversions, the Chief
Rabbinate and yeshivot, has been at the forefront in the fight to ease the
plight of agunot.
In the matter of divorce and remarriage, Halacha can
certainly appear to be restrictive – and yes, even cruel. Yet Ben-Dahan can be
expected to work hard within the bounds of Halacha to unchain these
Sir, – Despite the
retraction by Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes of her Twitter posting about MK (and
apparent education minister-designate) Shai Piron (“Yesh Atid’s Piron condemned
property sales to Arabs in 2002,” March 13), her message was quite clear: No
religious person should have any influence over the education of her children or
that of any children of modern-thinking Israelis.
Well, allow me to
disagree, and I base my disagreement on the achievement records of the more
outstanding education ministers, such as Shulamit Aloni, Amnon Rubinstein and
Yossi Sarid. (I am unable to mention the late Zevulun Hammer, since his hands
were effectively tied to ensure his impact would be kept to a minimum.) Today we
reap the achievements of the more enlightened ministers: overall low grades for
almost all elementary and high schools; student violence and even violence
against teachers; theft; drugs and alcohol; promiscuousness leading to rape and
teenage pregnancies. All are signs of social illness.
In addition, I must
sadly mention lack of patriotism and selfhate.
To his credit, outgoing
minister Gideon Sa’ar has shown that good education and grades are
Road to anarchy
Sir, – Is it now okay
for members of Knesset to not only violate Israeli law, but protect others who
do so. Has Israeli democracy come down to this? On March 13 you reported that
three female MKs joined the Women of the Wall in violating the ruling of
Israel’s Supreme Court, which outlawed the group from congregating at the
Western Wall in inappropriate religious garb and creating a provocation at the
holiest place in Judaism (“MKs join group’s prayers, no arrests,” March
Did not these MKs violate their oath of office to uphold the laws of
the State of Israel? Engaging in these illicit activities violates not only the
ruling of the Supreme Court, but also the directives of the
Are they sending a message that people can do whatever
they want, the law be damned? Like all civilized countries, Israel is a “country
of laws, not of men” (nor of women). Don’t these legislators realize they have
now given cover to haredi protests that are sure to come over moves to force the
enlistment of ultra-Orthodox men into the IDF – moves that are based upon the
Supreme Court’s overturning of the Tal Law, which previously exempted them from
such service? If the three MKs saw fit to intentionally violate one Supreme
Court ruling, how do they not thereby encourage others to violate other such
rulings? This is the sure road to anarchy.
Sir, – The production and consumption of meat violates basic Jewish
teachings on preserving human health, treating animals with compassion and
helping the hungry. A shift by Jews to plant-based diets would show the
relevance of Judaism’s eternal teachings and help move our imperiled planet onto
a sustainable path.
Another important reason for a dietary shift is that
the 65 billion animals raised for slaughter annually around the world are a
major contributor to climate change, deforestation, soil erosion, loss of
species, desertification, water pollution and other environmental
Kashrut authorities should consider whether producing meat and
fowl with great cruelty on factory farms violates the prohibition against
cruelty to animals, and whether such meat can be considered kosher. It might be
kosher by dint of shechita (ritual slaughter), but the ongoing cruelty that
inevitably precedes the cut renders the meat and fowl unkosher and unpalatable
to many Jews, both observant and non-observant.
The future lies in “in
vitro” meat; that is, meat grown in a factory lab from a single cell of a living
kosher animal. The meat would be exactly the same as regular meat and not entail
any cruelty at all. Steak and chicken parts in a test tube, if you
Slaughter could declared to be against Jewish law, as there would
be no more need to kill animals. This would be true “mehadrin” kosher, top of
the kosher line.
MARK J. FEFFER