Service for haredim
Sir, – When haredim hold placards stating “Sent to jail for studying Torah,” it is perhaps expected. But when our prime minister says the same thing (“C’tee proposes cutting men’s army service to 32 months,” February 11), it is, to say the least, disingenuous.
When a man is sent to jail because he killed his wife, it is because he committed a murder, not because his wife annoyed him! Draft dodgers go to jail because they are draft dodgers, not because they want to study Torah.
None of us who want to see an equal shouldering of the national burden believe Torah study to be a crime, just as we don’t see being annoyed by one’s wife (or husband) as a crime. So please, let us have less rhetoric and more constructive, out-of-the-box thinking to solve this problem.
Sir, – We don’t want to break these boys. They are our brothers! Have we tried a positive approach? The Torah has maintained the Jewish people throughout the ages and continues to protect the State if Israel. Young haredi men who aspire to and are capable of becoming Torah scholars should have high-level yeshivot similar to the hesder yeshivot, in which national-religious young men split their time between soldiering and studying.
Furthermore, their rabbis should encourage them to serve in this way.
We must learn to respect their Torah learning, not slander it.
Mutual respect is the way to go, not punishment.
Sir, – Thomas L. Friedman never loses an opportunity to fabricate untruths about Israel.
His piece “Whose garbage is this anyway?” (Comment & Features, February 11) is just another example.
How can anyone trust Friedman’s analysis when he speaks about “the thick cement wall Israel has erected around the West Bank to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers”? The vast majority of it is no more than an electronic fence, not a “thick cement wall.” The only positive thing about Friedman’s lying is it seems to acknowledge that there are Palestinian suicide bombers.
Perhaps the Post should be more judicious in accepting and publishing syndicated columns that contain lies. While Friedman might be right about the economic and ecological damage he speaks of, he lies when he describes our security fence.
STEPHEN JEROME KOHN
Sir, – With regard to both “Gal On: Kerry is giving Netanyahu and Abbas an excuse to drag their feet” and “Jordanian parliament refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” which appeared side by side in the Post on February 10, there are some subjects that we totally accept without thinking, as if they are carved in stone.
One is the belief that America and other Western democracies are entitled to interfere in the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio.
With the Middle East in flames, Arabs killing other Arabs, Muslims killing Christians, Iran on the verge of a nuclear bomb and threats of terrorism rampant over all the globe, the West is persistently obsessed – there is no other word for it – with what is happening in this tiny corner of the world, as if it were the only reason world peace has not yet been achieved. Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On even complains that John Kerry, who has devoted nearly the whole of his time to this as US secretary of state, has not pressured either us or the Palestinians enough.
As for the other subject, if it were not so serious it would be laughable. We should remind the Jordanian lawmakers that Jordan illegally invaded Judea and Samaria in 1948 and illegally occupied it for 19 years. In all that time, the Jordanian parliament never suggested for a moment that there must be a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital.
In addition to the UN, which has a permanent anti-Israel agenda, there are democratic countries that wish to impose their will on democratic Israel to succumb to what they believe is in our best interests, as if we cannot fathom for ourselves what is best for us. Some church organizations, trade unions and even businesses and banks join in demonizing Israel, and there are NGOs that have this objective as their sole raison d’être. Now it is the turn of some academics.
It makes one wonder why Israel is singled out for this treatment and why these countries and organizations feel they have the right impose their will on us. One is regretfully forced to come to only one conclusion.
This time for good
Sir, – For years we Israelis have suffered the world’s calumny because we have refused to roll over and play dead. We have been criticized over and over by the United Nations, in all its pseudo-human-rights manifestations, just for existing and not welcoming the attacks of murderous Arabs with open arms.
Now we are threatened with financial and academic boycotts if we continue to refuse to relinquish our claim on our minuscule country. Even some of our own leaders, political, scientific and financial, have been attempting to warn us of the “dire consequences” if we insist on maintaining the land that is ours.
Do they really believe the portrait of the money-grubbing Jew who would do anything for his handful of silver or pocketful of gold? We are pressured into making concession after concession, and once the mantra of the “illegality” of the settlements is thrown at us, it is repeated and repeated by those who have no idea on what such a statement is based and whether it is true or not. They don’t care. The important thing for them is that, after having repulsed all Arab attacks, we surrender all our legally gotten gains.
There is one thing everyone must remember, and that is the difference between the agreements that ended the fighting in 1949, and the one we are being badgered to sign now. The others were truces, temporary by their very nature. This will be permanent.
When we are attacked again and our main cities and international airport are bombed, we will not have the right to reclaim any territory.
For our enemies, the very fact that we are willing to cede even a small amount of territory is proof that we do not consider it holy, God-given and ours for eternity. What we do now will affect Jews for decades, and even longer.
We dare not cede our sovereignty for promises of cooperation.
As Daniel Tauber wrote in “How the Jordan Valley was lost” (For Zion’s Sake, February 6), “Just because that future is far away doesn’t mean we can trade on it today.”
Sir, – I can understand the anger of readers Andrew and Janice Cohen at the statement made by Likud Beytenu’s David Rotem about Reform Judaism (“‘Narrow-minded’ MK,” Letters, February 10). It was a very ignorant statement made by someone who should know better. Rotem obviously has not studied the Reform tenets.
However, it is not fair to deprive Israel of the financial aid that has been forwarded to it just because of one person. And is Rotem’s remark the real reason they might consider going back to America? I urge them both to search their conscience to see what they really want to do, and why.
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