Terrorists or not...
Sir, – There is no reason for an entire group of
people who believe in Israel with all their hearts and souls to be labeled
“terrorists” (“Rioting Jews in West Bank will now be tried in military court
like any Palestinian,” December 15). What a shocking misuse of words! It is
necessary to keep in mind who the real enemies of Israel are and to put into
proper use the ardor, the fervent patriotism of many of our young
They are intelligent and simply feel in many ways alienated
instead of embraced by the State of Israel.
No one is above the law, but
instead of calling for insane measures against young people, we should be able
to make them more law-abiding and use their energies to further the cause of
Sir, – One should not lay the blame
for these seemingly terrorist actions on the youngsters from the highlands –
they have been breast-fed on hatred no less than have their Muslim
They have been exploited, manipulated and given false
promises by their rabbis, mentors and parents.
These youths are a sad
bunch of disturbed, frustrated and disappointed teens. Instead of using drugs or
alcohol to suppress their demons, they get their adrenaline from violence and
the sense that they are doing God’s will, exactly like their counterparts among
our enemies, who go willingly to blow up innocents.
It’s time that Prime
Minister Netanyahu take off the blinders – the lesson of Rabin’s assassination
has not been learned.ZELDA HARRIS
Tel Aviv ...it’s bewildering
Being a participant on a MASA program in Israel for five months has given me a
fresh opportunity to look at the state I’ve always loved and
I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly in politics, culture
and society. But something that I just can’t bear to witness or experience any
longer is the utter hatred in this Jewish state.
I’m trying to understand
my Jewish beliefs and identity, which I’ve never questioned before. I still love
Judaism and the various Jewish communities I’ve been privileged to embrace and
take part in, but I’m not quite sure if my Conservative day school or summer
camp education simply forgot to mention how Judaism promotes antagonism toward
I studied history and Judaic studies at university – I know the
importance of some Israeli political strategies and I of course understand the
necessity of Israel as a Jewish state. I’m more than aware of the sacrifices and
persecution that Jews endured for thousands of years – just to be the continuous
scapegoat and the center of negative media attention. What I can’t seem to wrap
my head around is how violence is the answer to this whole balagan.
you think I’m some kind of tree-hugger, peacenik or hippie, I’m hardly the kind
who would be making this argument in other circumstances. I’d like to believe
I’m merely a 22-year-old American living in Israel, hoping to make some sense of
everything in this region.
Being in Israel has given me more than a few
reasons to know and understand the importance of having an independent Jewish
state. However, it’s also made me question why hatred exists, and even more so,
why some of my own people have chosen to uphold this vice.HANNAH FARKAS
Tel Aviv Either way...
Sir, – In “Progress on divorce sanctions bill held
up” (December 15), you report that “Currently, batei din [religious courts] may
impose sanctions such as preventing the husband from traveling abroad,
confiscating his driver’s license, and even imprisonment, but they are not
obligated to do so, and are not even obligated to hold a hearing,” meaning that
“efforts to ensure that a recalcitrant husband gives his wife a divorce can drag
on for many years.”
The answer is to allow these courts to impose the
sanctions mandated by Halacha as Maimonides put it: “He should be flogged until
he agrees to release her or expires.” This would be far more effective than the
minor inconveniences apparently available at present, and if the husband still
refuses, the wife will be free to remarry by the end of the
Manchester, UK ...and both ways
Sir, – Article on
spouses who refuse to agree to a get (religious divorce) always seem to address
the plight of women.
But approximately an equal number of men suffer the
Personally, I have been waiting for a get for some eight
years, and despite minimal sanctions and orders from the highest rabbinical
court in Israel, none has been forthcoming.
A wife can refuse out of
spite, and even though today there is an option to ask for financial recompense,
what is the point if the wife has none to provide? The only option is a spell in
jail, but unfortunately, courts today seem unwilling to impose this.
would be interested to hear from other men in a similar position.STEVEN
Holon Eye on Newt
Sir, – Citing Newt Gingrich’s referral to
Palestinians as an invented people, Ray Hanania (“Look who’s talking about
‘invented’ peoples!” Yalla Peace, December 14) accuses him of ignorance, using
such eloquent descriptives as “completely stupid” and “idiot,” sophisticated
prose not heard since my eightyear- old’s last tantrum.
the difference between Palestinian people and a Palestinian people. Yes, Arabs
did live in Palestine pre- 1948, but they were Arabs living in Palestine and
were not a Palestinian “people.”
As far as Americans being an “invented
people,” the big difference is that they don’t claim otherwise.
Americans are quite proud of their invention of a country based on Jeffersonian
Here we have a classic example of someone who can’t state the
facts accusing someone else of not stating the facts.CAROL WILBUR
Sir, – My compliments to Ray Hanania for writing a column with so much
low-hanging fruit ripe for dissection.
First, it is a matter of
historical record that before the founding of the State of Israel, Arabs living
in the British-run territory of Palestine had no nationalistic
Second, no one is disputing Hanania’s ancestral connection
to this land. However, the same cannot be said of many other Palestinians on
whom the UN conferred refugee status if they spent a mere two years here before
Finally, we come to Hanania’s disingenuous
questions about Israeli national identity. Yes, the last sovereign nation of
Israel before 1948 existed 2,000 years ago. And yes, it was a
To which I reply: So what? Even by his own twisted logic, none
of this should have any bearing on whether Israel’s identity is
Newt Gingrich may be a liar, a hypocrite and a narcissist –
in short, the perfect politician. But even a stopped clock is right twice a
day.MENACHEM G. JERENBERG
Sir, – Regarding “Gingrich’s
fresh hope” (Our World, December 13), at some point in history there was no
French people, but there is now. Three centuries ago, there was no American
people, but there is now. And a century ago there was no Palestinian people. But
there is now.
A national identity is shaped over decades by common
geography, common faith, common enemies or a common experience.
remains that over the past century a Palestinian people did become defined and
any successful policy must take that into account.JACOB GORE