Memories of Arik
Sir, – Regarding Gil Hoffman’s January 4 report (“Five years
after stroke, is Sharon’s legacy dying?”), no fears need be held on that score.
Hoffman needs only to ask one of the many whose lives were ruined by Sharon when
he expelled them from Gaza, for no identifiable benefit to anyone.
Sir, – I, for one, have difficulty forgetting Ariel Sharon or
his legacy. I also have difficulty forgetting the home I was forced out of for
no good reason five and a half years ago.
People think that a house is
just four walls, but we were forced out of homes, lives and
That is hard to forget.SUSAN SHAUL
Now that The Jerusalem Post
has made Tzachi Hanegbi kosher once more and
elevated him to the rank of political pundit, he feels he enjoys the legitimacy
to share his views about “Missing Ariel Sharon” (Comment & Features, January
Undoubtedly, Sharon accomplished much of great importance for Israel
in both the military and civilian spheres. For this he is deserving of our deep
appreciation and heartfelt gratitude.
However, in Hanegbi’s one-sided
evaluation, he fails to deal with the former prime minister’s betrayal of his
own values when he bullied and bulldozed his program of unilateral withdrawal
from Gush Katif and succeeded in splitting the nation.
shattered many lives and continues to wreak havoc with the economic well-being
of many families. Not only was there no display of Arik’s purported leadership
qualities, the withdrawal was characterized by a lack of planning as to the
relocation of the hundreds of families and provisions for their employment, and
constituted a crime against these law-abiding citizens.
requires a lot of wisdom.
In the case of Gush Katif, we witnessed
leadership dominated by ego that went completely awry and left terrible
How tough an act?
Sir, – I read Saul
Taylor’s interesting – but inaccurate – article about Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (“A
tough act to follow,” Right of Reply, January 4). As an expat, I can verify that
the viewpoint of Shmuley Boteach (“Fixing the failures of the UK Chief
Rabbinate,” No Holds Barred, December 21) is nearer the mark.
the chief rabbi of the United Synagogue only, and represents a minority of
I would not expect the Masorti, Reform or Liberals to
recognize him as chief rabbi, for neither does the more Orthodox fringe nor the
very right wing.
Sacks has been a disaster for British Jewry. It has been
a question of promising much but delivering little. He did not have the courage
of his convictions when he was forced to rewrite part of his book because it
displeased the ultra-Orthodox in Gateshead who don’t recognize him
He is indeed a worthy representative of Anglo Jewry if you only
need a person who personifies what the English church would like Jews to look
and sound like.
He promised to bring together the different factions of
the Anglo Jewish scene, and instead alienated them even more. The United
Synagogue only started its education and outreach programs when its saw how
successful those of the Masorti and Reform were.
I respect Sacks as a
great philosopher, pedagogue and humane man, but his singular failure regarding
the problems of the aguna and mamzer has left me with a bitter taste in my
Sir, – I must disagree with Saul Taylor’s
contention that Jonathan Sacks is a good chief rabbi. He is a fine and wise
rabbi. That is for sure. But he is no chief rabbi because he lacks the courage
and honesty to give British Jews guidance.
Instead of standing tall
against the satanic evil of Islam, he hobnobs with its leaders. Instead of
proclaiming to the House of Lords Israel’s legal rights, he stays silent when
one titled member after another denigrates the Jewish state. Even when Britain’s
largest supermarket instituted an embargo on Israeli produce, all we heard from
Rabbi Sacks was the sound of silence.
Rabbi, yes; chief rabbi, definitely
Sorrow of Lebanon
Sir, – Caroline Glick is one of
the very few journalists documenting the destruction of Lebanon and its
transmogrification into a tool of terrorists (“The Left’s loser message,” Our
World, January 4). This horror is on our borders and yet we can do nothing to
improve it. The UN is degenerate and the US blandly uninvolved.
playing out in Lebanese politics is also a personal horror and tragedy for Said
Hariri. What sort of son could kiss and figuratively grovel at the feet of the
man who ordered his father’s murder, as well as that of many other brave,
freedom-loving Lebanese? What kind of man could watch his country being
overtaken by a ruthless horde of savages, leaving him with a travesty of a
leadership? And all this lying and failure to protest his and his country’s fate
in order to to save himself for an unknown period from the death sentence
hanging over his head!
Hariri’s chronicle of misery, fear and gradual loss of
all dignity and self-respect, the story of his increasing despair and craven
cowardice when facing the threats of Hizbullah on his home ground, Syria at his
border, Iran looming in the near distance, while Obama and the UN look blandly
and unconcernedly from a farther distance, surely deserves a Shakespeare or a
Goethe or a Greek tragedian to write this disastrous life and country into a
cautionary drama for the ages.ROCHELLE EISSENSTAT
Caroline B. Glick, in column after column, demonizes the president of the United
States. She accuses Barack Obama of having a central goal of “weakening Israel.”
She accuses the president and his predecessors of policies of “appeasement”
toward Iran and North Korea.
Her comments are factually wrong and her
language is nothing more than a vituperative rant. In addition, it is
foolish for an Israeli who fancies herself an opinion-maker to constantly kick
Israel’s most important ally in the shins. One day that ally might kick
back.STEVEN J. RIEKES
Omaha, Nebraska Not what he thinks
Sir, – I quite
agree with Martin Stern (“Here’s my answer,” Letters, January 4) “that matters
of halachic significance should not be taken away from the religious
authorities.” Unfortunately, that is just what has happened. The present
conversion controversy has arisen as a result of the hijacking of the chief
rabbinate by extremist, haredi judges who have adopted minority, non-consensual
The Israeli chief rabbinate was never recognized by the
haredi world aligned with Agudat Yisrael, the rabbinate heretofore determined
the validity of conversion halacha as reflected in responsa down the ages from
the days of Alfasi and Maimonides, till Moshe Feinstein and Ovadia Yosef in our
Indeed, this extremist, non-consensual approach, which has hampered
the present chief rabbis, prevailed on one of Rabbi Yosef’s disciples – MK Haim
Amsalem – to produce two hefty volumes titled Zera Yisrael and Mekor Yisrael
reproducing a generous cross-section of material and responsa indicating quite
clearly the deviation from halachic norms that have ignited the present flurry
of Knesset legislative activity.
I strongly advise Martin Stern to browse
through these volumes before making any further adverse comments on the validity
of Israeli conversion court procedures.ARYEH NEWMAN