Sir, – With regard to “The Elon lesson” (Editorial, December 22),
until recently, the Israel Prisons Service would provide therapy only for
convicted sex offenders who admit to their crimes, on the grounds that if one
fails to take responsibility for these crimes, he or she has no insight into
their severity and thus would not benefit from therapy.
Elon received his suspended sentence for serial pederasty last week, he not only
continued to proclaim his innocence, but also celebrated the fact that he will
be able to continue his “years of community service.”
sexual offender is clearly in denial and in need of a punishment that fits his
crime: a court-ordered program of therapy.
This might give the formerly
esteemed rabbi an opportunity to perform teshuva (acts of repentance) and
protect himself and the public from a likely relapse after his absurd suspended
sentence is served.ILAN CHAIM
Jerusalem Feting Wagner
Sir, – In regard
to the classical review “Wagner non-concert” by Ury Eppstein (Arts &
Entertainment, December 22), I found it repulsive that Mr. Eppstein defends
Israel’s right to play the works of Richard Wagner.
Would Afro Americans
fete a composer who inspired the Ku Klux Klan? Would Armenians give tribute to
an artist who paved the cultural road to their genocide? Why must some Jews lack
the self-respect to realize that they can live without a composer whose music
was the favorite score of the movement that gassed six million of their
brethren? (And this says nothing of the complete disregard for the tens of
thousands of survivors and their children who live in this country and find it
obscene that their tax money would go to support playing the works of such a
virulent anti-Semite.) PERCHYIA GANZ
Sir, – I was totally
flabbergasted at Uri Eppstein’s lack of sensitivity.
I have always
respected his classical reviews, but this time I must say I was very
As a survivor of Petain’s anti-Semitic round-ups in
Marseilles at the beginning of 1940, and as a musician, I do find that even a
“Wagner non-concert” is an affront to those of us who are still around and
protesting this outrageous celebration of the birth of a most anti-Semitic
composer. I say to the person Eppstein described as a “violent rowdy” kol
hakavod for having the guts to disturb the talk.
Shame on the organizers.
If at least they celebrated Wagner’s music – but to celebrate the birthday of
the man? Where is the respect for us, the survivors? Can’t they wait till our
generation is gone? Let this “Wagner non-concert” take place in Austria or
Let the people there enjoy their favorite
Farewell to Mandela
Sir, – Having
been a supporter of the cause of the ANC in South Africa prior to my aliya in
1975, I was disappointed in Nelson Mandela’s ambivalence toward the country’s
relations with Israel after his accession to the presidency.
I was thus
intrigued to read that he had spent time in Israel receiving training from the
Mossad (“Report: Mandela received Mossad training in 1962,” December
Mandela thus demonstrated his belief in Israel’s policies and
methods to protect its citizens.
Regrettably, his successors took up his
ambivalent attitudes and have gone much farther so that today South Africa is
the most anti-Israel country in the Western world.
During his lifetime,
Mandela had the opportunity to correct this situation but failed to do
I thus believe that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was justified
in not attending the memorial ceremony, although the stated explanation for his
decision was not appropriate.ROBYN ROTBERG
Sir, – We are
constantly reminded that Nelson Mandela believed in forgiveness and
reconciliation (“South Africa buries ‘greatest son’ Mandela,” December 16). This
clashes with King David’s deathbed order to his son, Solomon, to exact
retribution against Joab and Shimei for the wrongs they perpetrated against
David, and to reward the sons of Barzilai for the good he did to him (1 Kings
Which message is superior? While the former sounds like the New
Testament precept to love thine enemy – as Christians practice it – the latter
conforms with the distinction between good and evil in the Hebrew Bible. Would
Mandela have forgiven savages who dispatch suicide bombers to slaughter
civilians? If he did, he would have made a mockery of the principle of
There is a moral, however. It is unique to the Hebrew Bible and
observed by Jews, including David. It lies in hakarat hatov, the duty to
recognize the good someone does to you. It is the principle upon which Yad
Vashem in Jerusalem honors the Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust.
important to comprehend the authenticity of the Torah’s message of good and evil
because we live in a hypocritical, immoral world where, while the benevolence of
Israel is denied, the country has become a scapegoat for the world’s
Toronto Enormous benefits
Sir, – With regard to
“American Studies Association votes to boycott Israel” (December 17), the
boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is determined to get rid of Israel
There are far too few people in the world who have any idea of
the enormous benefits that things invented in Israel have. It is imperative that
those with the ability to do so continuously publicize them. It also doesn’t
hurt to ask people who are anti-Israel why they do not totally stop using
The more people know what Israel provides to the world, the fewer
will be anti-Israel.GEOFF CASS
Tewantin, Australia Gifts and messages
Sir, – The lead item on the front page of your December 3 issue (“Netanyahu in
Rome: Western sanctions already unraveling”) was accompanied by a picture of the
prime minister and Pope Francis. I enjoyed the letter by Rabbi Nachman Kahana
(“Gifts and loot,” December 4), who commented about switching around the picture
by having Netanyahu with a kippa and the pope returning the Temple menorah
stolen 2,000 years ago by Titus.
The prime minister was once again
brilliant. The reasons are deep, but some are hidden in plain sight.
part of its heritage, the Catholic Church has Greco-Roman culture. The silver
menorah represents our victory over both.
Silver, from a biblical and
scientific standpoint, needs to be refined from impurities to be useful. The
message is that the world can be refined and fixed without anyone having to
The receptacle of light can shine without nations warring, but
rather through self-refinement and an internal correctional process. The menorah
says we can ultimately live in peace and bring much needed
Netanyahu also gave a copy, in Spanish, of his father’s classic
treatise on the Spanish Inquisition. This magnificent work documents what can
happen when the Church makes unwise choices.
Both gifts conveyed the
message of Israel as a vibrant, living olive tree, still going strong and rooted
on moral high ground.AVRAHAM FELD
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