Police work

Sir, – The whole country breathed a sigh of relief when police finally caught the motorist wanted for killing three women and then leaving the scene (“Police nab fugitive in deadly Netanya hit-and-run,” August 21).

Our thinly-stretched police force took three days to find this man – presumably because it also had to arrest women at the Kotel for the heinous crime of wearing a tallit (“Four women detained for wearing ‘male-style’ prayer shawls at Western Wall,” August 20).

One wonders who is responsible for deciding on the priorities for our hard-working police. Could it be the very same powers who found time to legislate against women in prayer shawls but could not find time to legislate a replacement for the Tal Law?

ELLIE MORRIS
Asseret

Sir, – I am so glad to know that our police force is free to make sure that women do not commit dangerous crimes at the Kotel.

Arabs and Jews brawl? Arson attacks all over the area? There are priorities, people!

GERALD SCHOR
Ra’anana

Two things overlooked

Sir, – “Tolerance at the Kotel” (Editorial, August 21) criticizes the Israeli secular High Court of Justice for banning women from wearing a man’s tallit at the Western Wall plaza. But it makes two basic errors.

First, it ignores Deuteronomy 22.5, which states: “A woman shall not wear what pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for whosoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” Cross-dressing at the Kotel is offensive not only to haredim, it is offensive to anyone who has read the Torah.

Second, the Western Wall includes Robinson’s Arch, an area set aside for non-Orthodox services. Members of Women of the Wall are very well aware of this but prefer to offend.

JOSEPH FELD
London

CORRECTION It was the High Court of Justice, and not as stated in “Four women detained for wearing ‘male-style’ prayer shawls at Western Wall” (August 20), which ruled that the 1981 amendment to the 1967 Law for the Protection of the Holy Places means women may not conduct religious ceremonies usually performed by men in Orthodox Jewish practice at the Western Wall.

Credit where due

Sir, – It was not the Bank of Israel that won first prize at the International Vicenza Numismatica competition in Italy (“Israel gets gold for Olympic coin,” August 21). It was the design of David Harel, and he deserves to be mentioned.

MURRAY S. GREENFIELD
Tel Aviv

Lowdown on Assange

Sir, – David Newman (“Security versus freedom of the press,” Borderline Views, August 21) is less than forthcoming in discussing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s battle to avoid extradition from Britain.

Newman begins by noting only allegations of “sexual misdemeanors in Sweden.” Actually, Assange is wanted on a European arrest warrant for rape and sexual assault.

Newman mentions “hundreds of [secret] documents” published by Wikileaks and criticizes the ease with which documents are classified. In fact, Wikileaks released tens of thousands of documents. Assange admittedly failed to review them individually to determine whether there was a legitimate reason for their classification, thereby cavalierly endangering the lives of military and security personnel as well as ordinary citizens.

Newman renews the argument that journalists may violate duly enacted laws in the name of the public’s right to know. But the potential for abuse is frightening. May a journalist avoid paying income taxes because he is writing a story about the tax structure? How about participating in a conspiracy to commit murder while writing about organized crime? There is great irony in Assange’s seeking asylum at the London embassy of Ecuador.

That country’s government is suspected of being responsible for over 100 cases of assault and threats against journalists who had the temerity to criticize its leaders.

Laws are adopted to protect society as a whole. All members of society – including journalists – are subject to the same obligations.

EFRAIM A. COHEN
Zichron Ya’acov
The writer is a former US diplomat and currently is a senior fellow at Bar-Ilan’s Center for International Communication

Promises, promises

Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“Obama, don’t let us do it!,” Encountering Peace, August 21) explains why Israel should not attack Iran before receiving assurances from President Obama that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. He is much more troubled by the fallout of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities than he is by the danger of an Iran that possesses a nuclear device that can destroy Israel.

Recent articles in The Jerusalem Post have correctly pointed out how most American presidents (as opposed to Congress) have failed the State of Israel in its hour of need. It was our “friend” Ronald Reagan who punished us with an embargo of planes after the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear plant in June 1981, and it was Lyndon Johnson who reneged on his promise to open the Straits of Tiran in 1967.

One has to question why Baskin believes that Obama would help Israel in its hour of need.

MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva

Sir, – Every point Gershon Baskin labors to make is easily refutable.

I am certainly not glib about the loss of any Jewish, indeed, any human, lives, but apparently Baskin would prefer that we live under nuclear blackmail or die in far greater numbers than act in our own self-defense.

Baskin also seems to suggest that only until he gets proof – satisfactory to his own view – can we conclude that Iran really wishes to destroy us. This, from someone who no matter what their offenses and no matter what they say, still feels the Palestinians want to make peace.

As to the unintended consequences of such a strike, Baskin seems to have no worry whatsoever as to the consequences of failing to act. Is this not exactly what Britain’s Chamberlain did prior to World War II? Finally, as indicated by the title, can the writer realistically suggest that we rely on Obama? Since Baskin might be the only person on earth more dovish than Obama regarding Israel, his willingness to rely on the US president is, perhaps, understandable. For those of us, especially Prime Minister Netanyahu, who are concerned with the survival of Israel, a dose of reality is essential.

CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ
Jerusalem

Kashrut foul

Sir, – In light of “US government sues Florida over ending kosher meals in prison” (August 20) and “Sex offender sues prison for kosher food” (News in Brief, August 20), I would like to voice my disappointment with the Men’s National Basketball Youth Team for not making significant efforts to provide kosher meals for two players during the European championship games this summer.

We are a small country that must accentuate any and all national symbolic virtues – not respecting Jewish athletes and their religious beliefs is just plain embarrassing.

If the US government can sue Florida over ending kosher meals in prison, if a sex offender can sue a prison for non-provision of kosher food, and if Shimon Peres can decline to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympics because they took place on a Friday night, then surely the Ministry of Sports can provide or demand kosher meals for Israeli athletes competing abroad.

JAIME REICH AMIRAM
Tel Aviv

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