December 15: Second Opinion

Why not invite prominent Jordanian and Egyptian engineers to investigate our findings regarding the bridge’s safety?

December 14, 2011 22:48

Second opinion
Sir, – Regarding “Mugrabi Bridge closure ‘religious war,’ says Hamas” December 13), why not invite prominent Jordanian and perhaps Egyptian engineers to investigate our findings regarding the bridge’s safety? If it is truly dangerous, surely they will agree, and then with their blessing we can proceed with the demolition.

This procedure would defuse a potentially explosive situation and prevent the riots and casualties that will surely follow if we unilaterally remove the bridge.

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Ramat Hasharon

More to do
Sir, – I was delighted to read your article on the haredi community’s change in attitude to children with special needs (“Haredim no longer hide their disabled children, December 13). However, it only emphasizes access to services.

The real challenge of achieving progress, at least with autism, comes from the at-home portion of a treatment plan, which is somewhere between impossible and unimaginable in a large family.

To ensure successful interventions, home therapeutic support is necessary.


Fresh air and hope
Sir, – As an Israeli-American living in a tendentious, cynical world, I find the candidacy of Newt Gingrich for US president a breath of fresh air. As usual, Caroline B. Glick (“Gingrich’s fresh hope,” Our World, December 13) hits the nail on the head by hailing the candidate’s support for Israel.

Gingrich unabashedly expounds his resolute support for the Jewish state as no Israeli politician would or could dare to do. In the past few weeks he has refuted the Palestinian claim of nationhood, described them as “an invented people,” pledged to support Israel in a confrontation with Iran, ridiculed President Barack Obama’s policy of appeasement to the Palestinians, and declared his support for pardoning Jonathan Pollard and moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Who could ask for more?


Leave it to Tevye
Sir, – Shmuley Boteach (“The rebellious man of faith,” No Holds Barred, December 13) usually discusses chicken soup and cholent topics – safe things that most Jews can agree upon. However, I think his Fiddler on the Roof-type “How long, oh Lord” meanderings show he is out of his comfort zone.

We can kvetch all we want, but our job is tikkun olam (repairing the world), not accusing God. Better to be rebellious against those who obsess with questioning His logic than allow ourselves to sing a litany of discordant “How longs.” That’s for Tevye.


Model behavior
Sir, – Esther Scheiner (“No news from the front of the bus,” Comment & Features, December 13) points out that the “accepted practice” on non-mehadrin buses is that “if two sets of seats are each half-occupied, with one man at each window seat, women will... politely ask one man to move next to the other man to free up seats for women (or vice-versa, with a male rider asking a female rider to move).” She adds that “I respect the men who avoid sitting down right next to me, to prevent accidental touching...”

This should be the model for everyone’s behavior: consideration for the other’s value system rather than attempting to force one’s own on them.

Salford, UK

High time
Sir, – Regarding “Islamic Jihad rise in Gaza challenges Hamas rule” (Analysis, December 12), there is a sincere cry by residents of the South for our government to take positive action to stop the constant flow of missiles rained down on us. We are positive that such action would have been taken a long time ago if the missiles were falling in the middle of the country.

In the past we were told that if we took strong action against Hamas it would kill captive soldier Gilad Schalit. As Schalit is now safely home, this excuse is no longer valid. Statements that Hamas is against launching missiles against us are pure fantasy – it could stop the smaller terrorist groups without difficulty if it only wanted to.

It is high time we wiped the terrorist leadership and their infrastructure off the face of the earth.


Do not disturb
Sir, – It is a shame to have read “Vote on ‘muezzin bill’ postponed” (December 12). For the residents of Jerusalem’s city center, where the nearest mosque is over a kilometer away and a night’s sleep is persistently disturbed by the predawn loudspeaker’s call to prayer, this is not acceptable.

For critics of the bill to call the legislation offensive, designed to harm the rights of the Arab minority and a deliberate insult indicates that they don’t have their night’s sleep disturbed.


Israel’s Palestinians
Sir, – May I remind James Adler (“‘Post’ is confused,” Letters, December 12) that some one million Arabs live peacefully in Israel and are to be found in the Knesset, on the medical staffs of our hospitals, in our universities and in all walks of life. Compare that with what the leaders of the Palestinian Authority reiterate constantly, that no Jew will be allowed to live in their new state.

Adler talks of an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria that would “help engender [the] decline” of “perpetual hatred...

inexcusable and bestial atrocities by extremists against Jews.” He forgets that we have been there, done that. The wicked, disastrous and futile withdrawal from Gush Katif brought not peace but a reign of terror on our southern cities.

If our refusal to commit national suicide loses us some friends, even good friends in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is a risk we can afford to take.


Sharing the burden
Sir, – Rabbi Yitzchok Elefant says that in order to increase the number of religious and haredi men serving in the army, their halachic standards must be taken into consideration – specifically, that they should not be forced to listen to women singing (“Song and the IDF,” Letters, December 12).

Our children serve in the army for years, endangering their lives so that we can all live free, not because they like or agree with how they are treated in the army.

They serve because they are lawabiding citizens.

Citing halachic reasons to evade army service is dishonest and goes against Halacha. Sharing the burdens of citizenship is the basis of ethics, and ethics are what Judaism is about.


Not fanaticism
Sir, – Regarding “Women’s battle” (Editorial, December 9), your call for mutual respect rings hollow when in the same sentence you refer to codified Jewish law as religious fanaticism.

Jewish laws governing women’s attire, singing and behavior with men protect these women and ensure they are valued for their intellect and personality rather than their bodies. By choosing not to draw attention to the physical with revealing clothing and behavior, women who observe Halacha are choosing to project to others their deeper selves. This approach ensures that relationships are built on more than just physical attraction and does not invite objectification by men.

Let us all answer your call for mutual respect by enabling women who want to serve to do so, and enabling men who want serve in the IDF to stay loyal to Halacha.

Beit Shemesh

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