Druckman and Elon

Sir, – With regard to “Bayit Yehudi cannot remain silent over Rabbi Druckman” (Candidly Speaking, January 2), I identify with Isi Leibler’s sense of betrayal by Rabbi Chaim Druckman, a person we have admired these many years.

There is a black hole in our religious world when leaders like Rabbi Mordechai Alon and former chief rabbi Yona Metzger, among others, blatantly affirm their innocence and communicate disdain for the Torah’s moral code by never expressing contrition.

I am wounded and hurt that religious Jews can do evil without any guilt, remorse or awareness of having violated basic Torah laws.

Each week the media report that another religious Jew is a sex predator or a recalcitrant husband refusing to give his wife a get (religious divorce), and the fact that such people receive support and even refuge from fellow religious Jews. I wish to thank Mr. Leibler for speaking out.

Otherwise, anyone contemplating becoming religious or converting to Judaism would hastily distance himself or herself from Judaism.

Rabbi Druckman needs to repent and realize that his approval of Mordechai Alon is horrific and shameful. All who were his students and disciples are appalled.

YITZHACK RUBIN
Jerusalem

The writer is a rabbi

Sir, – Isi Leibler points his finger at Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett for not taking a more aggressive stand against Rabbi Chaim Druckman and Rabbi Mordechai Elon. I would like to point a finger at the court system, which is the real villain in this very sad case.

Once Rabbi Elon was found guilty of sexual misconduct, he should have been forced to undergo treatment at his own expense by a court-appointed psychiatrist.

During that period he would be banned from any contact with students, and at the end the court would evaluate the results and then determine whether or not he should be allowed to teach young boys. Any individual interfering with the court’s decision in any way would be subject to criminal charges.

Alas, the actual punishment does not fit the crime. Justice was not at all served.

P. YONAH

Shoham

Dangerous and crazy


Sir, – Our government committed one of the most dangerous and crazy acts in Israel’s history by releasing vicious, hate-filled murderers from prison to further the so-called peace process. Huge celebrations were held and they were welcomed as heroes by the leader of the Palestinian Authority with kisses, candy and, of course, US aid money (“Abbas: No peace unless all prisoners are released,” January 1).

Filled with Jew-hatred and groomed by Yasser Arafat, Abbas has never had any intention of making peace with Israel. Apart from our prime minister blasting him for the reception (“Netanyahu: Peace will come only when settlement interests are ensured,” January 1), nothing has been achieved – and a further release is due in the near future.

What a fiasco! US Secretary of State John Kerry undoubtedly has instructions from his boss, President Barack Obama, to further tighten the screws on Israel. The only solution is for the Israeli public to strengthen the government by standing up and proclaiming for all to hear – especially the US – “No more giving in!” Unless we are tough and resolute now, the future is grim indeed.

URI MILUNSKY
Herzliya

Sweet grapes

Sir, – Greer Fay Cashman is amazing. Her January 1 Grapevine (“The height of indignity”) is a superb example of her talent. A whole page full of interesting news and comment.

I don’t know how she does it, but long may she continue. Thank you, Greer!

RUTH GREENWALD
Givatayim

Not the Serbs

Sir, – Your news story “Simon Wiesenthal Center to launch lastditch effort to capture Nazis in Serbia” (December 30) fails to mention that Serbian Jewry was murdered during the Holocaust by the Croatian Ustashe, a fascist movement that was allied with Hitler and aided the Axis powers in their occupation of Yugoslavia.

This omission is significant because it leaves the reader with the false impression that Serbs were behind the slaughter of the country’s Jews. It was in fact the Croatian Ustashe, headed by Ante Pavelic, that masterminded and carried out the genocide.

Pavelic, who was chosen by Hitler, vowed to cleanse the country of Serbs and Jews. He passed anti-Semitic racial laws, ordered the torching of Serb towns and churches, and forced 200,000 Serbs to convert to Catholicism.

The Ustashe also operated the death camp of Jasenovac, known as “the Auschwitz of the Balkans,” and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews.

Serbs and Jews died together at the hands of Croatian fascists during the dark period of World War II. This shared horror, forged in blood, is what underlines the close relations that exist nowadays between Serbs and Jews.

TAMAR ROIG
Jerusalem

Questioning legality


Sir, – According to Daniel Steiman (“The settlements are illegal under international law,” Comment & Features, December 30), since the inhabitants of the West Bank in 1967 were protected by the 4th Geneva Convention, this makes it occupied territory.

I do not share his conclusion, especially when considering what he also wrote: “[T]he primary focus of that convention is to protect the human rights of civilians who find themselves under occupation, not... the legal titles of sovereigns,” It is true that West Bank inhabitants who are not Israeli citizens are protected by the convention (and no Israeli government has ever denied it), but that does not transform the area (including non-settled zones) into an occupied territory.

Section 3 of th e Geneva Convention (which includes Article 49, forbidding population transfers) applies to occupied territories, but no exact definition is given to this term in the convention except for Article 2: “The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party....”

Before the Israeli victory in 1967, the West Bank was not a territory of a high contracting party since the Jordanian occupation was considered illegal. Therefore, one cannot derive from anything in Article 49 that the settlements are illegal.

Furthermore, the stipulations of the San Remo Treaty regarding Jewish settlements in Palestine have never be revoked, making the illegality argument even more irrelevant. This being said, I am not dealing here with the question of the opportuneness of establishing the settlements.

YAAKOV PICARD
Modi’in

Sir, – Daniel Steiman’s analysis suffers from a critical and grievous flaw: He fails to distinguish between information and misinformation, education and mis-education, facts and fabrication. He uses words such as “occupiers” and “occupation,” but doesn’t explain who the occupiers are and whose land is being occupied.

For the past 4,000 years, the Jewish people have lived in their God-given homeland. It has been their native homeland, and no other people can substantiate such a claim.

While it is true that many conquerors occupied the Land of Israel and called it various names, including Palestine, these occupations did not negate the fact that the Jews were its original legitimate claimants and inhabitants, and that they never abandoned their claims despite their many expulsions. In 1948 they reestablished their homeland, and in 1967, as the result of a defensive war, they reclaimed and resettled those parts of the land from which they had illegally been expelled. Therefore, Jewish settlements are a legal reclamation.

Mr. Steiman, one need not have an MA from Georgetown University’s Department of Government in order to distinguish between such facts and fabrications.

It is elementary, my dear friend.

IRA NOSENCHUK
Jerusalem

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