Simple as that

Sir, – Regarding “ Bayit Yehudi: Lapid will fold on imposing criminal sanctions for haredim who avoid army service” (February 6), it is a travesty that our lawmakers undermine their own legitimacy by rendering the law meaningless, since under a democracy the law must equally apply to everyone. Even religious lawmakers who place the Torah above civil law must abide by the commandment that an exemption from going out to war can be granted to any man who has built a new house but not dedicated it, planted a new vineyard but never harvested it, engaged a woman but not married her yet, or is tender-hearted....

Studying Torah all day long is not grounds for exemption from either law. Simple as that. So I conclude that the vast majority of those exemptions are based on the cowardice of the scholars.

Any other arguments are excuses to cover this.

Mind you, the Torah’s exemptions relate strictly to war. There is no exemption from being gainfully employed. Not that I have much respect for those who are able-bodied yet choose to evade combat duty, but this is still a good notch above shirking everything. Shame on these men (and women).

With this disregard for the law by lawmakers, is it any surprise that Eyal Golan’s friends and relatives have sex sprees with underage girls? That so many air force pilots store classified information on their personal phones? That cheating was so rampant in the recent Beit Shemesh elections? Lapid, don’t fold an inch!

ZVI TEFF

Karmiel

All workers

Sir, – I hope that “Protecting all workers’ rights” (Comment & Features, February 6) will be an eye-opener for the government, also for the caregiving sector in lessening the burden of exploitation, especially in placement fees.

Why can’t those who are already here and capable of giving care for the elderly remain rather than being deported because of the claim that they have overstayed their work visa? I am sure those caregivers now considered illegal because of overstays would love to serve the Jewish people, especially those in need.

DINDO SUENO

Jerusalem

Better place

Sir, – When murder by criminals settling accounts (“4 suspects in Petah Tikva car bombing appear in court,” February 5), drunk youngsters getting into fights and teenage and even younger girls being raped are an everyday occurrence and becoming almost the norm, we should take a careful look at ourselves and perhaps deduce that secular education has not benefited today’s children.

Perhaps the time has come for us to stop being so embarrassed by our religion and realize that it is identity, culture and education that can lead us to a safer, fairer and friendlier country for all.

GIDEON BEN YACOV

Ra’anana

Back to Jordan

Sir, – With regard to “US: More time needed to draw framework for peace negotiations” (February 4), as the talks begin to sputter and the Palestinians harden their position, Israel should use the delay to unify behind a plan that will finally bring us peace.

Once it becomes clear to everyone that Israel cannot be forced to commit suicide by giving in to the absurd demands of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, then and only then will the Palestinians have to either give up the idea of a two-state solution or turn their attention to making Jordan their state.

This is the only workable solution that will give Abbas a homeland.

With 70 percent or more of the residents of Jordan Palestinians, taking over the kingdom would be a real first step to solving the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. It will work. The question is, can Israelis unify behind such a plan and then sell it to the world? It is certainly worth a try, since nothing else has worked.

P. YONAH

Shoham

In the narrative

Sir, – Israel is losing the PR war because we’re not telling the right story.

The Palestinians have garnered worldwide sympathy that has set off the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

And we are appealing to the world by justifying our actions as a moral, humane, hardworking, caring, sharing and ethical nation that built an honorable and virtuous defense force.

What is that supposed to accomplish? Let’s tell the world the truth: We are perhaps the only people struggling for a country. Our children must hide under their seats in school with every terrorist attack. Our elderly go into shock when they hear the siren. Children sleep in shelters and are damaged for life.

Families are torn to shreds. Our young soldiers are forced to suspect every Arab because terrorists don’t wear uniforms. And this list, sadly, is incomplete.

We suffer legions more, but who knows this except Israelis! We don’t seek admiration. We want the world’s sympathy so that it can see the entire truth.

Sympathy moves people to help.

Our hasbara (public diplomacy) needs to be refocused. Show photos! Tell the truth!

BARBARA SCHIPPER

Jerusalem

Sir, – I wish Israel could make its strong case without using fallacies that make the world resist and laugh.

Reader N.E. Samuel (“Kerry’s remarks,” Letters, February 4) says America was settled like the occupied territories. Historical periods and their values differ.

There were 300 years of Indian wars, including Indian scalping and slow ritual death by torture of colonials. If the Indians had rights, do the Palestinians? No. If, because of pre-modern conquests in America, Israel’s modern conquests were deemed valid, then so would Hitler’s, Stalin’s, Nasser’s and Saddam’s. One can’t have it both ways.

Reader Alan Koor (“Fighting back,” Letters, February 5) says Israel is held to different standards.

But this holy grail of rightist hasbara is false. All national claimants to a firstworld, democratic status, and aspirants to that world’s political, economic and military affiliations, are held to exactly the same standards.

Just consider this and it will be self-evident. In fact, it should come to us as a vast and deeply relaxing relief.

JAMES ADLER

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sir, – Although Zionism often speaks of the Jews as having been exiled, the Jewish People in fact maintained its continuity in the Land of Israel during the past 2,000 years. It is thus possible to maintain that the Jewish People was subjected to 2,000 years of occupation and colonization in its homeland.

Perhaps this message would generate more sympathy for the Jewish cause than the current message does.

Also, if the Land of Israel remained a Jewish territory, it can be maintained that it never became a Muslim territory. If this became generally acknowledged, perhaps Muslims might become less tenacious in their struggle against the Jewish side.

LARRY FELDMAN

Toronto

Those senior years

Sir, – I am more than fed up with your calling old age “golden” in your recent “Golden Age” supplement (January 31). I call it rusty.

In all the photos and ads, the old people are smiling as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Life can be very good if you are healthy and surrounded by friends and family, and have enough money for all your needs. But there are few old people who do not suffer from an illness or debilitating condition that make life very difficult. Some more, some less.

We oldsters are old. Let’s accept that fact and do the best we can. Believe me, I do not smile all the time. Lets get real!

SUE ZOHAR DESHEH

Jerusalem

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