Compare the two

Sir, – Israel cries out: “Bring our children home!” (“Tens of thousands rally in solidarity with the kidnapped teens’ families,” June 30). The Arab response is: “Look at how Israel treats our children” – as if Arab parents are ignorant of what their youngsters are being taught in school.

There is a world of difference between Israel’s attitude toward children and that of the Palestinian Authority. The PA’s school books inculcate hatred of Jews and the glorification of killing. Unfortunately, our governments have failed to make this sufficiently known to the world community.

There is no better time than now, with world-wide interest in children. We should translate the relevant school books into many languages and distribute them far and wide.

Let the world see and be shaken by the vast difference in humanitarian values between Israel and the Palestinians. Let the world see the reality of the Middle East.

HERTZEL KATZ
Herzliya

Choose, please

Sir, – With regard to “Gaza rocket ignites Sderot plastics factory” (June 29), before we engage in an invasion of Gaza in response to rockets launched into Israel, let’s give Gazans a quality-of-life choice.

The first rocket that comes into Israel within eight hours after the dropping of leaflets, cell phone service will be disrupted for 10 days. The second rocket will result in a disruption of Internet service for 15 days.

They have a choice.

GERRY MANDELL
Omer

Let them go

Sir, – I don’t understand our democracy. If the African migrants are willing to face the possibility of violence in Sinai and deportation to possible persecution in their home countries rather than remain in Israel’s desert detention facility (“African migrant detainees hold vigil near the Egyptian border,” June 29), why should we stop them? I say we should let all African migrants go to Egypt via Sinai, as they wish. After all, as a democratic nation we have no right to stand in their way. CHAIM GINSBERG Ma’aleh Adumim Nothing new Sir, – Sam Sokol (“Germans ‘working on’ Jewish concerns over delayed burials,” June 29) recounts only the latest manifestation of such concerns in Germany.

Dr. Samuel S. Kottek, in his essay “The Controversy Concerning Early Burial” (ASSIA – Jewish Medical Ethics, Vol. I, No. 1, May 1988, pp. 31-33), describes a similar tale that occurred in the 18th century.

According to Dr. Kottek, “A vivid controversy on premature burial took place among German Jews in 1772, when Duke Friedrich von Mecklenburg-Schwerin ordered that no body, in his estates, be buried until 72 hours had elapsed after death. Such authorities as Rabbi Ezekiel Landau of Prague, Rabbi Jacob Emden of Altona, Moses Mendelssohn, and Jewish physicians of national fame like Markus Herz and Jacob Marx, were involved in the dispute. Letters were exchanged, dissertations were penned, papers pro and con appeared in the journal Ha-Me’assef....”

DAVID WILK
Ma’aleh Adumim

Market forces

Sir, – Just as the rabbinic leadership misread the situation pre-Holocaust, they are misreading it today (“Haredi pragmatism,” Editorial, June 29).

Rabbi Shalom Cohen and his supporters are issuing prohibitions against college education because they fear they will lose control over their followers. Let us not forget that politics plays a big role here as well.

Ultimately, it is the forces of the market that will determine what haredi men and women will do.

MATTIAS ROTENBERG
Petah Tikva

Face value


Sir, – I am very disappointed in the way President Shimon Peres accepted at face value the statement of US President Barack Obama regarding Jonathan Pollard (“DC sources: Obama to ask A-G to mull Pollard release,” June 26).

President Obama could have referred the clemency appeal to Attorney General Eric Holder many years ago, when he first took office. He did not have to wait until Peres asked.

This is just another example of how the American president operates.

He really has decided to do nothing about Pollard and merely wants to avoid the pressure of the Israeli nation and so many indignant Americans who want Pollard’s release.

BATYA KOENIGSBERG
Jerusalem

‘Authentic Judaism’


Sir, – Stephen G. Donshik, in “Does the president of the State of Israel really care about Jewish unity?” (Comment & Features, June 25), claims the president- elect is rejecting and alienating two of the three main streams of Judaism.

Over the centuries our scholars interpreted Torah in the most lenient way, enabling Jews to survive throughout the ages as Jews. This was the glue that kept us united and thriving in intellectual advancement and scholarship.

The Talmud, debated and elucidated by our sages throughout the generations, was decided upon by majority vote, a democratic process maintained throughout the ages.

In Israel, as in all democracies, everyone can practice their religion of freedom. This includes Reform and Conservative groups as well.

President-elect Rivlin is an adherent of what I would call “authentic Judaism” – the Judaism that has sustained and kept unified the Jewish people who were dispersed all over the globe for over 2,000 years. He truly cares about Jewish unity. He wants to keep the Jewish state both democratic and Jewish.

The struggle facing Israel today is how to achieve this with our Palestinian neighbors. There are also problematic situations due to the wonderful Russian aliya.

We should not voluntarily add additional problems with practices promulgated by the Reform movement, which can lead to disunity within our people.

EILEEN FISHMAN
Netanya

Insidious villainy

Sir, – The recent move by the World Heritage Committee (“Battir named ‘Palestine’s’ 2nd World Heritage site,” June 22) was a blatant act of insidious villainy. The purported significance is the specious claim of Battir being one of the best examples of an ancient terraced landscape. Coincidentally, the village was immediately placed by the UN committee on its list of endangered sites.

To gain insight into the treachery behind this rather strange claim of “heritage,” we must understand that Battir happens to be located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military control, and that the security barrier just happens to be routed through it. It is quite obvious that this choice has no redeeming historical merit and was undertaken in collusion with the Palestinian Authority for the sole political purpose of attempting to frustrate Israel’s activities in the area.

This choice has about the same authenticity and legitimacy as the committee’s decision to name Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity the first Palestinian World Heritage site, especially in light of the fact that the Christian population of that city has been largely displaced by their Muslim brethren.

ZEV CHAMUDOT
Petah Tikva

Agreeable reading

Sir, – For the first time in my life I completely agreed with columnist David Newman (“Putting life in perspective,” Borderline Views, June 17). How wonderful to know that the Left and Right can come together.

Then, turning the page there’s the piece by Mudar Zahran, a citizen of Jordan telling Israel to stop supporting that country’s king, who supports the Muslim Brotherhood (“A Palestinian Jordan: Opportunities vs. threats,” Comment & Features).

What a pleasure to read a newspaper that completely expresses my beliefs.

BARBARA SHAMIR
Beit Horon

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