Migrant solution

Sir, – Regarding “Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers demand rights during TA march” (January 6) and “Italian navy rescues 233 migrants” (News in Brief, January 3), it took watching 5,000 asylum seekers pass me by on Carlebach Street in Tel Aviv and seeing another 10,000 walking down both sides of Ibn Gvirol Street, with 15-20 thousand more standing in Rabin Square chanting “We don’t want to be in jail” and “We want asylum” for me to begin wondering how we could both help migrants or asylum seekers live with self-respect and benefit from their presence at the same time.

Israel could pass a law allowing companies to establish factories in industrial zones while providing room and board to their African employees plus a small monthly cash allowance. The government would give tax breaks to the employers and assistance in building the factories, as well as living facilities and dining facilities.

The goal would be to deliver products to stores at close to the cost of similar items produced and shipped from developing countries. Employee representatives would be consulted throughout the development of the program.

After three consecutive years working under these conditions, a migrant or asylum seeker would be guaranteed a job with remuneration that is equivalent to the Israeli minimum wage.

ROBERT LANSKY
Tel Aviv


Tell them no

Sir, – In “McCain meets with Peres in Jerusalem, ‘guardedly optimistic’ about peace talks” (January 5), you quote President Shimon Peres as saying he was convinced that, deep down, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants peace although “he’s not a free agent.” In that case, what is the point of negotiating with him? Peres lives in a time warp where he is unable or unwilling to accept the terrible tragedies he brought through his persistence in backing terrorists and his obsession of giving up our land. As Mordechai Kedar points out in the same issue (“Sisi: 1, Obama: 0,” Comment & Features), it is possible to say no and actually defy US President Barack Obama without the sky falling in. The events in Egypt prove that Obama and his aides are helpless against the determination of the people in Middle Eastern countries.

That’s how it is with Iran, Iraq and Syria, and so it should be with Israel, for which it is a matter of life and death. We can then stand with our heads held high.

Israel can and must say to Obama and Kerry: No!

YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya


Taken aback

Sir, – I was taken aback – I almost didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – by the headline “Chief Rabbinate says Orthodox rabbis abroad are appointed ‘without criteria’” (January 5).

I do not know of any rabbi of an Orthodox synagogue who was hired without having received a proper smicha (ordination) from a respected Orthodox yeshiva and is not known to be living a proper Orthodox Jewish lifestyle.

Moreover, every rabbi I know is a member of a respected Orthodox rabbinical organization such as the Rabbinical Council of America. These organizations can easily be consulted about certification.

Orthodox rabbis may well disagree among themselves, but delegitimization – especially by a rabbinic organization in a different country – is not a seemly course to take, in my opinion.

On a much more relevant note; Rabbi Avraham Weiss is one of the most accomplished and impacting Orthodox rabbis worldwide. His smicha is from Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik from Yeshiva University, and he has brought hundreds, if not thousands, of non-Orthodox Jews into Orthodoxy. He has been a vocal fighter for the Jewish people wherever their rights as Jews have been threatened, and he has educated a whole generation of Jewish leaders today, both men and women.

I know Rabbi Weiss personally as a Jew who is zealous in his performance of every mitzva and whose love of every Jew knows no bounds. I believe it a disgrace that his Orthodox credentials have been questioned.

By the way, who has checked the criteria of a recent chief rabbi here in Israel?

SHLOMO RISKIN
Efrat
The writer is chief rabbi of Efrat, head of Ohr Torah Institutions and a Jerusalem Post Magazine columnist


Outdated data

Sir, – The predictions of David M. Weinberg (“A crystal ball on 2014,” Observations, January 3) could be more accurate or less so, but how can his crystal ball function when fed outdated data? The author describes the Palestinian Authority as continuing to “huff and puff and blow evil smoke at Israel while raking in...

dollars, euros, kronen, yens, francs and deutschmarks.” Fine, except that the two latter currencies (assuming the francs being referred to are French) happen to be obsolete already for 14 years.

EMANUEL KRASOVSKY
Tel Aviv


Vote ’em out

Sir, – Was the placement of the following three stories on Page 3 of your December 30 issue – “List of Palestinian terrorists set to be freed by Israel,” “Hadash posts video calling to kidnap Israeli soldiers” and “Ministers reject bill banning convicted criminals from the Knesset” – intentional or just serendipitous? Most Israelis are absolutely horrified by the release of bloodthirsty terrorists who snuffed out the lives of men, women and children. We justifiably question the morality of our top elected officials who made such deals knowing that releasing child killers won’t advance peace. The terrorists went home to heroes’ welcomes and are being paid stipends and having streets and squares named after them.

As for the second headline, are we shocked that an Israeli political party would post a video on its Facebook page that calls for kidnapping Israeli soldiers? Was it ostensibly a news item or a call for the next Gilad Schalit deal? Finally, while our elected leaders are busy distributing “get out of jail free” cards to the vilest criminals, they are handing even themselves a couple. Are we surprised that they reject criminality as an impediment to a political career? I wonder how many should already be disqualified.

Today, we even have a religious party led by an ex-con.

We shake our heads with disgust.

We have no leaders. It’s time for an Israeli Spring. Next round, vote the whole lot out.

LEORAH H. GOLDBERG
Jerusalem


Truth in labeling


Sir, – I read the clarification in your January 5 issue in which you disassociated yourself from the excellent Sovereignty insert of January 3.

Your readers are entitled to know the reasons behind this announcement. Who is pressuring the editorial board of the paper, or was it an innocent mistake? I, a reader of the paper, would really like to know.

BARBARA OBERMAN
Herzliya Pituah


Sir, – While I was surprised to receive the Sovereignty supplement, I agree with all of the articles in it that I have read so far. So, rather than agreeing with your apology for its inclusion, I applaud your courage in distributing it.

Many thanks for allowing an alternative voice to be heard.

BOB KNIGHT
Modi’in


Sir, – Shame on you! Since when does one apologize for presenting a different opinion? To whom are you apologizing?

QUEENE PARNES
Jerusalem


The editor responds: Irrespective of its content, Sovereignty was a paid supplement and should have been clearly labeled as such.

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