Look to Lincoln

Sir, – With regard to “Tensions simmer ahead of Netanyahu- Bennett meeting” (February 8), I wish to say to our prime minister: Bibi, your non-handshake with Naftali Bennett on the first day of the new Knesset has been well documented. Shame on you. It’s not your hand anyone cares to shake.

By coincidence, your hand is the hand of the leader of the State of Israel. My leader. If you are incapable of putting personal issues aside (or worse, your wife’s), go home. A leader is meant to lead by example.

You and all our elected officials are our representatives.

Now your job is to work together for the betterment of our country. There’s no room for personal slights when the Jewish people depend on you.

A little advice that I share with my own kids: Read some books about Abraham Lincoln if you don’t have time see the movie.

Part of his greatness was in his ability to be magnanimous. Ever wonder why he is considered one of the greatest leaders of all time?

DAVID BARTH
Ra’anana

No to racism

Sir, – With regard to “Bright Tag Coalition to protest against rise in racist incidents at Betar Jerusalem games” (February 8), we the undersigned, a group of former members of South Africa Betar living in Israel: 1. Decry the racist attitudes of some of the supporters of the Jerusalem Betar football club.

2. Are extremely unhappy about such wholly unacceptable behavior being linked to the name Betar, and the damage caused to the philosophy and teachings of Ze’ev Jabotinsky.

3. Support all actions by the authorities to prevent racism wherever present.


HARRY BRAND
Kiryat Ono

YOSSIE GAITELBAND
Ra’anana

HYMIE GREEN
Ramat Hasharon

HYMIE JOSMAN
Tel Yitzhak

MATTHEW KARP
Kfar Saba

HERTZEL KATZ
Herzliya

LENNIE KOHLL
Herzliya

RAPHAEL MELMED
Bin Nun

BENNIE PENZIK
Ramat Hasharon

BARNEY WAINER
Tel Aviv

IVOR WOLF
Ra’anana

Sir, – I focus on the parents who taught these perpetrators or did not stop them when they espoused racist hatred. Could elders have forced their progeny to act differently or even halt the hatred consuming their offspring? I think they could.

Then, I am one who believes that there are members of Knesset, too, who have spoken with tongues of scorn about these Muslim soccer recruits. I watched the faces of the haters at the fence and wondered where were the MKs, the members of the government, to put a halt to this ridiculous behavior.

A sad day for Betar.

DAVID GEFFEN
Jerusalem

OCHA clarifies

Sir, – In your article “UN severs ties with controversial official” (February 8) by Stewart Stogel, some incorrect statements were made that require correction.

Khulood Badawi was not “de facto” fired. It is also incorrect that the United Nations’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “opted not to renew her contract.

Badawi chose to leave on her own accord upon expiration of her contract.

AMANDA PITT
New York

The writer is spokesperson for OCHA

The haredi draft

Sir, – David Weinberg (“The solution to the haredi draft problem,” Observations, February 8) seems to think that all yeshiva men do during their time off is vacation and travel.

Let me enlighten him.

When do these men get time “off?” At holiday time! From Yom Kippur on they are busy with Succot, buying lulavim and etrogim, taking care of the kids so wives can have a break, helping with household matters, and getting some learning in as well.

During the month of Nissan they are helping get the house ready for Pessah. And during Av, for three weeks, they help maintain their wives’ sanity.

Most of those I know do not go on fancy-filled trips. Many volunteer with special-needs children or work as camp counselors.

That’s service too, isn’t it? Besides, what army would and could train them enough in three weeks for them to truly be efficient? By the time they are fit for duty it would be time to go back to the yeshiva! BATYA BERLINGER Jerusalem Sir, – A better solution to the draft problem that would meet all the criteria set out by David Weinberg would be to institute a volunteer army, in which volunteers are paid a high salary to induce the required number of persons to join, and not force anyone who does not wish to join.

I am sure the IDF has already looked at this possibility. It should be asked to make its report public.

IRWIN LITHWICK
Jerusalem

Sir, – Bravo to J. J. Gross for his views on haredim and the burden of military and national service (“Sharing the burden, a fresh perspective,” Comment & Opinion, February 7). It seems to me he is right on the money!

DAVID GILAD
Beersheba

Sir, – The article by J.J. Gross was excellent. He presents a reasonable way to face haredi freeloading and the resulting poverty problem.

ERIC ZORNBERG
Jerusalem

Spewers of hate

Sir, – The examples of extreme hatred and anti-Semitism directed toward Sarah Honig and Israel (“That unwitting indecency revisited,” Another Tack, February 8) for reporting on the anti-Israel school event in an Irish town needs to be read by Jews the world over.

The people who wrote about her are irrationally vicious. It is scary that this is Ireland and not Iran.

CHARLOTTE SLOPAK GOLLER
Jerusalem

Sir, – There are uneducated and stupid people everywhere in the world. These spewers of hate that Sarah Honig quotes so liberally in her column are ignorant and have no idea what they are talking about.

Has Honig never heard the things that some Betar Jerusalem fans shout about Muslims at soccer games? It’s the same thing.

I believe that filling up her column with so many hateful talkbacks only makes Israelis who have never visited the Emerald Isle think that every Irishman is the same. It only makes for more intolerance and hate.

LISA KADDAR
Bitan Aharon

Sir, – I would like to point out that there is undoubtedly Jewish blood among the Irish people.

After the expulsions from Spain and Portugal, many Sephardi Jews and so-called secret Jews dispersed to other countries, including Ireland.

Some pretended to be Huguenots or remained secret Jews. Our executive director found graves in a Huguenot cemetery in southwest Ireland that bore unmistakably Sephardic names.

It is evident that these Jews or their offspring intermarried with the locals. They might be some of the so-called black Irish who had dark skin and hair.

We are having a mini-symposium on “Sephardic Jews of Ireland” in the near future. Anyone who knows about the subject or wishes to contribute should contact us.

JACK COHEN
Netanya
The writer is affiliated with the International Institute for the Study of Secret Jews (Anusim) at Netanya Academic College (www.netanya.ac.il/englishsite)

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