March 3: Contempt for voters
“Sharing the burden” of national service and other civic responsibilities is not an “emotive” issue – it is an existential issue and the only way to keep our country from coming apart at the seams.
Letters Photo: REUTERS/Handout
Contempt for voters
Sir, – I was appalled and disgusted by your February 28
editorial (“Italy’s elections”).
Do you have any evidence whatsoever to
support your allegation that Israelis “treated the electoral process as
something of a lark,” or your assertion that Israelis who voted for Yesh Atid
treated their ballots carelessly? I spoke with many members of the public –
strangers, friends, taxi drivers, high-tech managers, young people, senior
citizens (to which population I belong) – and every single person who voted for
Yesh Atid did so not because it was trendy, as you assert, but because they
believed that more of the same, as it exists today, would be
“Sharing the burden” of national service and other civic
responsibilities is not, as you contend, an “emotive” issue – it is an
existential issue and the only way to keep our country from coming apart at the
Shame on you for treating voters with whom you don’t agree with
Sir, – In addition to the
one-liners quoted in “Say it again, Sam” (Arts & Entertainment, February 28),
Mae West brilliantly managed to describe virtually all situations of human
In her 1933 film I’m No Angel, playing opposite leading man
Cary Grant, she makes an aside that could certainly be used as a headline for
most situations concerning Israeli politics: “I used to be Snow White – but I
Unfortunately, the rate of drift here seems to be
Sir, – With
regard to “IKEA stops selling all minced meat products from main supplier”
(February 28), one European country after another has tried to interfere with
kosher ritual slaughter. Now one European country after another is discovering
it’s eating horse meat that might be contaminated with dangerous
Is this a case of “measure for measure?”
Sir, – Why oh why was the photo of Iitayes Aeinao, our new Miss Israel,
hidden away on one of your back pages (“A beautiful moment,” February 28)? It
would have been great to be welcomed in the morning with her lovely face on the
front page instead of all the depressing political items.
Sir, – I find it difficult to understand Arik Henig
(“Will Obama speak at Rabin Square?” Comment & Features, February 28) since
he seems to be on all sides of the question that he himself asks.
President Barack Obama will speak wherever he is advised to do so. However, I
feel certain that with his sense of the dramatic, he will ask to speak at the
site where Rabin was brutally murdered. Surely, our side cannot turn him down no
matter how much Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would probably like
And what a speech it will be!
Sir, – It was
heartwarming to learn through the words of Secretary of State John Kerry that
President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel and to meet Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas would be primarily a trip of learning (“US Secretary of
State Kerry says Obama coming to listen, not ‘plunk down’ peace plan,” February
27). It will not be one where he applies pressure before he has learned what he
feels he needs to know.
Our Foreign Ministry should have the courage to
show Obama some sites that might enhance the stability to review his ideas. I am
going to suggest two or three that might give him a different
One of them certainly should be the underground Herodian
Mansions museum beneath Yeshivat Hakotel, where Obama would see the homes of the
priests who performed their religious rituals in the Temple up until its
destruction by the Romans in 70 CE. He will learn that these rituals went back
to even before the Temple was built. He will also learn that during the Feast of
Tabernacles (Succot), many nations came to the Temple to offer
There was no Muslim religion then.
A second place that
Obama should visit is where the Mandelbaum Gate stood on the line that divided
Jerusalem prior to 1967. He will learn that today’s city cannot be divided under
A third place for him to visit is Jerusalem’s Ramat
Shlomo neighborhood, which has been the scene of so much contention.
can see the model of 770 Eastern Parkway and make the “pilgrimage to Brooklyn”
and the Lubavitcher Rebbe. If he cannot go there because it is in east Jerusalem
he can visit Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem and see the
miracles that take place there in a very integrated hospital.
States and Israel have a vested interest in making this trip meaningful to the
president’s comprehension of the situation.
Let him go and see!
Giving the get
Sir, – You write about a serious problem with
regard to a Washington, DC, couple that was civilly but not religiously divorced
(“Washington Jews to rally against Congress staffer over contested divorce,”
Each side has a serious problem.
The court awarded
the husband some weekend visitation rights with the couple's daughter, but since
he is Orthodox and since the weekend begins on Friday nights, he loses more than
half the visiting time. On the other hand he refuses to give his ex-wife a get,
or religious divorce, so she remains an aguna, essentially in limbo and unable
Why could she not agree to his picking up his daughter
earlier on Friday in exchange for his agreeing to give her the get? It’s a
Sir, – Through inaccurate
information, the reader might be left with the mistaken impression that Aharon
Friedman, an aide to US Rep. Dave Camp, has some sort of justification for
refusing to give his wife a get.
Two points should set the record
First, by order of the Circuit Court of Maryland in July 2011,
Friedman was granted visitation rights on alternate weekends from Thursday
afternoon to Sunday afternoon – neither of which can be construed as impeding
Shabbat observance. Second, the “Shar Hamishpot rabbinical court” is not
recognized as a rabbinical court, and a get arranged by it is not considered
valid in Israel, neither by the Directorate of the Israeli Rabbinical Courts nor
by the office of the Chief Rabbinate (as stated in letters dated 2008 and 2009,
respectively). This should give you a picture of the body’s worth.
quote a newspaper report of a “declaration” by this unaccepted, self-declared
rabbinic court, and juxtaposing it, to quote the article, with the “widespread
rabbinic opposition to Friedman” is disingenuous or, at the very least,
Lest readers be confused, the facts today are simple:
Friedman is a get-refuser who is keeping his Orthodox-wedded wife in chains as
an aguna. This has been determined by the Rabbinic Court of the Union of
Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, joined by Rabbi Hershel
Schachter of Yeshiva University as well as the Va’ad Harabanim (Rabbinical
Council) of Greater Washington.
Such abuse of power is shameful and is
condemned in the strongest terms in the rulings of these august rabbinical
bodies. That Friedman has continued to refuse to grant a get is
The writer is a rabbinical court