Sir, – Shas co-leader Arye Deri denounces the government for abandoning two
million poor people, namely, the haredi population (“Deri: PM excluding poor,
haredim from government,” March 11).
Isn’t it strange that Deri considers
the haredim poor? Is there really no other segment of the population that is
poor? If haredim are suffering from poverty, can’t it be blamed on their
leaders, who discourage them from learning basic skills in their schools and
from entering the workforce? URI HIRSCH
Sir, – I notice that once again
Arye Deri is kvetching about the weaker sectors of society being hurt in the
formation of the impending coalition.
One must ask why this particular
sector is weak. The answer is that it refuses to integrate itself into normative
Israeli society, refuses to introduce the state’s core curriculum into its
school system, prevents its students from being subjected to periodic assessment
tests required of the rest of Israeli students, refuses to prepare itself to
join the workforce and earn a respectable livelihood to support its families,
refuses to enlist in the IDF or perform an alternative form of national service
like other sectors....
The list goes on, on and on.
This is why
the Israeli public, fedup for so many years with a nonworking, non-contributing
sector, went to the polls on January 22 and gave Yair Lapid 19
Lapid is a man who, if he sticks to his principles, is going to
bring about radical changes in this country, where all Israelis, regardless of
religious stream, are going to serve, earn a livelihood, pay taxes and make sure
their children study subject material that prepares them for the 21st
Israel went to the polls to bring change, and change is coming.
It will only benefit the haredim in the long-term.MITCHELL RADOV
Sir, – I have to agree with United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler, who
says the exclusion of haredim from the government is “an emotional issue for
people to exclude haredim, not a logical or intellectual one.” But the root
cause of this emotional issue lies at the feet of the politicians and rabbis of
the haredi world, who are perceived as narcissistic and concerned only with
their community and their problems.
Rabbis who curse other Jews just
because they don’t agree with them, and haredi politicians who think they are
the only ones who are concerned with social issues have lost their standing with
a majority of the Jews in Israel. It might be just perception, but that’s a
vital component of leadership and kinship.
The haredi ghetto mentality
whereby everyone who isn’t exactly like “us” is “them” – pseudo-gentiles – is a
self-fulfilling prophesy of exclusion that is being fulfilled
Twenty-seven years ago my rebbe gave me a blessing prior to my
making aliya. At the end of the blessing he added a warning: “Be on your guard.
In America, if Jews, God forbid, learn to hate, they hate goyim. But in Israel,
if, God forbid, Jews learn to hate, they hate Jews.”
many in Israel that, too, is a prophesy fulfilled.YAACOV PETERSEIL
Sir, – It certainly is sad that haredim feel the way they do in the
wake of our last elections. But in a recent issue of your weekend magazine, a
columnist said something very important (“Three strikes, you’re out!” Grumpy Old
Man, March 1): “[T]he main thing is simply to back off. You can choose what is
really important to you and then make compromises elsewhere.
can’t have it all. No one can – not, at least, in as fractured a society as
ours. You can’t be greedy. Because in politics, like in baseball, three strikes,
The issue is not only being a burden on society. It is being
a burden and then turning around and insisting that your values be the values of
that society.ARI BEN-SENDER
Sir, – The haredi parties are
certainly bad losers and don’t have an inkling as to the true reason they lost
(“Bad losers,” Think about It, March 11).
I am certain that if Shas and
United Torah Judaism took a good look at themselves they would realize why they
are not in the coalition, and not blame others.
They would realize that
they do not feel any concern for any Jews except their own.
The burden of
protecting Israel is nowhere to be found in their thinking. Ignored are the many
boys and men who do not sit and study, and who protect them with their very
lives. Budgets for haredi institutions and their flocks are all that concerns
Haredim who refuse to converse with or sit next to a woman now
decide they have much in common with Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich. How
far will they go to further their own people’s welfare? If they truly loved
Israel and respected their fellow Jews, haredim would be sitting in the
government. Time for them to wake up! BARBARA GINSBERG
Sir, – In
their zealous greed to get their hands on everything that isn’t nailed down, and
their insistence on having their way without giving an inch, Israel’s haredi
parties now find themselves out in the cold, and very unhappy.
the so-called sages and their political flunkies are too mired in power plays to
remember the Talmudic axiom: tafasta merubah lo tafasta (grab too much, you end
up with nothing).
Or as they say on Wall Street, “Bulls and bears make
money, pigs get slaughtered.”J.J. GROSS
Sir, – I want to thank
you for “Haredi outreach” (Editorial, March 11).
For many years I have
been telling one and all that if the haredim do not like it here in Israel, they
are free to move to Brooklyn. Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef threatens mass
emigration? What bothers me most is the arrogance and hypocrisy of haredi
Pirkei Avot (5:23) tells us that the arrogant are students
not of Abraham but of the wicked Bilam.
Moses did not tell the tribes to
learn in the kollel; he commanded them to serve in the front ranks.
Torah mentions no exemption from army service for kollel students. There is an
exemption for cowardice. But they claim that their Torah learning protects all
of us – so they should not be afraid.
Rabbis tell us that living in the
Land of Israel is equal to all the mitzvot of the Torah. Now they threaten to
leave. It leads me to wonder just what Torah these people are
The final straw for me is that after supporting the settlements
for years, the haredim are turning against them. Either they were right to
support the settlements or they are right to oppose them. For a group that
claims to speak with divine authority, this change of position reeks of a very
human temper tantrum.DAVID WILLIG
Safed The writer is a rabbi
Shas is out and Playboy is in (“‘I just read it for the Hebrew articles,’” March
6). The elections, which held such promise of unity, have instead turned into an
ugly power struggle that lowers the former high expectations of the
Those of us who made aliya did so with glad hearts to be able
to enjoy Judaism undisturbed, turning our backs on the crime and immorality that
has infested other nations.
Why has it followed us? What is it doing
here? We need to clean up our act before all that we cherish is stripped from
us. We need to awaken and defend our heritage.
This is as great a threat
as Iran, perhaps, greater. Iran can destroy our bodies and cities, but the
creeping intrusion within our land threatens our soul and our
Would all those who love the liberal life of other nations please
move there, allowing Israel at long last to remain Israel? ADINA LEV
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