Eyes wide shut

Sir, – I agree with Tal Harris (“Make a choice: Settlements or democracy,” Comment & Features, June 14) on one point – that there is a profound cognitive dissonance at work here. But it’s not among those of us who love the entire Land of Israel. Rather, it’s among people like Harris who cannot admit to the realities hitting us all in the face.

Perhaps he has been unable to swallow the reality of the Palestinians’ plan to control our entire country, and not just the “West Bank.” You don't have to search very far to find irrefutable evidence that Judea and Samaria are only the first step toward destroying all of the Jewish state. There simply is no possibility that the two-state solution would lead to peace with our Arab neighbors.

Also, the evidence is crystal clear about what happens when we give land to the Palestinians.

Gaza’s militant Hamas government and the thousands of rockets thrown on our civilian population are not exactly hidden pieces of information. And the “rule of law” canard simply doesn’t hold water any longer, with illegal Arab and Beduin settlements dotting the entire landscape with nary a whimper from the authorities, and certainly no legal action taken against them.

You have to have your eyes open to see the obvious.

DEBORAH BUCKMAN
Beit Shemesh

Letters about letters

Sir, – Letter writer Jock L. Falkson’s excerpts from Leviticus and Deuteronomy (“Please explain,” June 14) are highly selective and inappropriate in the present situation.

The great numbers of African intruders can hardly be equated with the “stranger” referred to in his quotations. If the present influx is left unchecked and most of the newcomers not sent home, they could become a threat to the very existence of Israel as a Jewish country.

If international law is invoked, raisons d’etat trump such law. It would be well to remember Abba Eban’s saying that “national suicide is not an international obligation.”

OSCAR DAVIES
Jerusalem

Sir, – Reader Yonatan Silverman (“Hill of beans,” Letters, June 13) maintains that Israel should ignore non-government attempts to boycott the Jewish state. He cites the expression “silence is golden” and explains that it’s “worth its weight in psychological gold. It denotes self-confidence and steadfastness.”

I prefer the Talmudic expression “Silence implies acquiescence.”

In the West, people elect governments, and if we remain silent no one will speak up for us when unopposed boycotts based on unrefuted libels become policy.

YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem

Sir, – So reader Edith Ognall would have preferred the possibility of civil war in order for the Altalena, against the national view, to be able bring in its small quantity of arms (“Another Ben-Gurion,” Letters, June 13).

The tragedy of those who died is doubled by the fact that they were Zionists eager to help Israel in its battle for independence. But, quite simply, you can’t have two prime ministers.

Moreover, it is foolish to call Prime Minister Netanyahu a dictator. He is no more that than any other prime minister in any democratic country.

Put simply, someone has to lead. If you don’t like him, vote him out next time.

M. VEEDER
Netanya

Conflicts of interest

Sir, – Referring to Religious Affairs Minister Ya’acov Margi’s far-fetched accusations (“Margi accuses High Court justices of conflict of interest in non-Orthodox rabbis case,” June 12), he conveniently forgets that the most blatant conflict of interest lies with him. Perhaps he should recuse himself and be replaced by a Muslim or Christian who might be more open-minded and less prejudiced? As it is said, there are none so blind as those who don’t want to see.

It is more than high time that our leaders woke up and took steps to separate religion from politics and allow people to live and let live.

MIKE AYL
Ashkelon

Sir, – I think the general public, including religious Knesset members, does not know the inherent dangers of non- Orthodox rabbis.

I recently had a case where the beit din (religious court) ruled the groom not Jewish. I was willing to send the couple to a different framework to recheck the situation. This was refused, and a non-Orthodox rabbi married them.

This is not a case where one could claim that there was a non-Orthodox conversion – there was no conversion at all.

This was simply intermarriage.

I would like to know what the red lines are for non- Orthodox rabbis, if there are any.

YITZCHOK ELEFANT
Dimona
The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona

Back to Wagner

Sir, – Susan Hattis Rolef’s “Who’s afraid of Richard Wagner” (Comment & Features, June 11) was filled with interesting facts about Wagner’s music. However, all the talk about his anti-Semitism, the admiration for his fine music and his many Jewish fans is besides the point.

Wagner’s music became a symbol of Nazism and all its horrors. Therefore, just as the swastika and the fascist salute are symbols of that movement and publicly outlawed or frowned upon in many countries, so should Wagner’s music continue to be in Israel and at Jewish gatherings.

HAYYIM HALPERN
Jerusalem

Sir, – A good friend passed away last year in London.

Charles Spencer was born to a cultured Viennese Jewish family in 1925. In 1938 he arrived in London with his sister, a Kindertransport survivor.

At 18 he was drafted into the army and he was wounded on Omaha Beach during the DDay landings.

The end of the war saw him in Alexandria, Egypt, as commandant of a prison camp for German officers, since he was fluent in German, French and English, albeit with an unmistakable Viennese accent. All day long he played Mozart’s music on the public address system until a delegation of senior German officers begged that he vary the choice.

“Why do you play Mozart all day long, Herr Spencer?" they asked.

“It’s the antidote to Wagner,” was his reply.

STANLEY COHEN
Jerusalem

Give us a break

Sir, – I heartily agree with Jeff Barak (“A diamond jubilee for Israel?,” Reality Check, June 4) in that our country needs a few days of public holidays every year when we can all be relieved of our workday obligations and celebrate together.

Most olim will tell you that for years after their aliya, one of the things they most missed about life in the Diaspora was Sundays off. But it occurred to me that, at least as much, I miss the public holidays and, even more, the three-day weekends that often go with them.

It just so happens the there is a Jewish semi-holiday at the beginning of each Hebrew month (except for Rosh Hashana) called Rosh Hodesh, which would be ideal for the purpose. Rosh Hodesh has a very real Jewish significance, thereby having meaning for the entire Jewish population. It has no special rituals and requires only that prayer services be extended by a mere 20 minutes.

In the current Hebrew year, seven days of Rosh Hodesh fall on a Thursday, Friday or Sunday, enabling us to celebrate seven long weekends together with few religious obligations, yet with a Jewish significance.

It would provide an opportunity for all Israelis to have the good time together that Barak aspires to.

WARREN ZAUER
Jerusalem

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