Great expectations

Sir, – I disagree with Yair Lapid’s sour views regarding the new coalition government (“PM orders new law to draft yeshiva students and Arabs,” May 11).

I think there is a fair chance that the Tal Law will be replaced with one which will be more equitable and that some improvement will be made to our absurd electoral system.

Great expectations have been raised in regard to both of these matters.

Netanyahu and Mofaz may support each other with all the enthusiasm of a couple of drunken sailors, but they have nailed their colors to the mast.

If they disappoint the Israeli public, come the next election, they will be severely punished.

OSCAR DAVIES
Jerusalem

Sir, – We’re told that the prime minister has ordered a new law to draft yeshiva students.

There are a number of inconsistencies that need to be addressed.

To our rabbinic leaders: We’re told that full-time Torah study is essential for the defense of the country. If so, please tell us which fraction of our young men should study and which should actually bear arms? To our Likud and Kadima leaders: If our yeshiva (and Arab) citizens are to be offered the opportunity to serve in the army or do national service, then shouldn’t every young man (or woman) be given the same opportunity? Lastly, to the Finance Ministry: Who will pay the salaries and administrative costs of a truly equitable and fair program?

BARRY LYNN
Efrat

Marriage for all

Sir, – If two men or two women want to be united for life, this should not constitute a problem (“Meretz MK resubmits marriage equality bill,” May 11).

They can go to a lawyer and draw up a contract similar to a marriage contract. The law needs to be changed so that they can register with the authorities as a couple, with the same rights and duties as a normal married couple.

The newly united couple can throw a wedding-like party if they wish, with white dresses or tuxedos, a multi-tiered cake, etc.

But as Judaism is opposed to homosexuality, a religious wedding ceremony is an absurdity which no clergyman (or woman) should perform.

HANNA ZLOTNICK
Jerusalem

Samarian semantics

Sir, – “Clap hands” for Martin Sherman (“Brandishing bulldozers: The Beinart-Gordis debate,” Into the Fray, May 11)! I’ve always said that we should not refer to Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) as the “West Bank.”

Historically, for thousands of years, anything west of the Jordan River is Israel! Who is this professed professor of political science who lives in the United States and appears to lack knowledge of the land of Israel, as well as the state and the benefits under which all citizens live? Let him attack not the legal settlers, but people who fail to recognize the State of Israel.

RENIE HIRSCH
Netanya

Educating soldiers

Sir, – I read Sarah Honig’s article and I do not agree with Zeev Degani’s views on the army (“Dishonest and disgusting,” Another Tack, May 11).

My daughter is a student at Gymnasia Herzliya and my other children both went to Ironi Daled and, as soldiers in special combat units, were invited to talk to students who were starting to think about their army career.

My son was disgusted to hear Degani talking about not letting soldiers into Gymnasia.

But my daughter will not be affected by the politics of the school because my children received their education at home from a family where, as olim in the 1970s, the three boys all went into combat units.

Most of my sons’ friends from Tel Aviv in 2007 didn’t go into the army at all, but it didn’t affect either of my two children, since, at the end of the day, it is what is taught at home that matters.

K. DEITCH
Tel Aviv

Unconvinced

Sir, – In his attempt to prove that Norway is not anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, Norwegian Ambassador to Israel Svein Sevje, comes across as an unconvincing bureaucrat (“What ‘Post’ readers of conscience need to know about Norway,” Comment & Features, May 10).

Mr. Sevje cites the ruling of the International Court of Justice which found Israel’s security barrier to be “illegal.” Given that no Israeli judge may serve as a permanent member of the court, while representatives of Israel’s sworn enemies, themselves egregious violators of human rights, are allowed to do so, is in itself a blatant act of bigotry and prejudges the outcome of any decision regarding Israel. This renders the International Court of Justice a laughable kangaroo court, a mockery of the justice it claims to dispense.

Mr. Sevje and the government of Norway would do better to recognize that as inconvenient as the security barrier may be, it has saved countless lives by denying terrorists access to Israel and the inevitable retaliatory actions.

The government of Norway and indeed, Mr. Sevje, would do well to to emulate the courage and moral clarity of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his outspoken support of Israel.

JOAN O’CALLAGHAN
Toronto, Canada

Blaming kids

Sir, – There is one word missing in “Who is responsible for youth violence?” (Comment & Features, May 10), and that is “respect.”

Our society has developed in such a way that the level of respect has almost become nonexistent between each other. Parents, grandparents and teachers being called by their first names can hardly command respect.

Those who indulge in antisocial behavior and conduct loud personal discussions on cellphones in public areas show a total lack of respect for the people around them. At meetings held in the workplace or discussions on TV, in local councils or the Knesset, most of the time we see participants in “broadcasting mode” rather than “listening mode,” hardly creating an atmosphere for constructive debate.

Lack of mutual respect for authority often results in violence. Children are always looking for direction and have to learn the difference between right and wrong. A lack of boundaries and limitations in today’s world has created this lack of respect.

STUART and HASJA PALMER
Haifa

Sir, – Rivka Lazovsky makes the case that blaming youth who act violently is taking the easy way out, and that somehow we have to make changes in society in order to stop these things. She further concludes that “When deviations occur – we have to point the finger of blame at ourselves.”

As principal of an Israeli school, I cannot entirely agree with Ms. Lazovsky. The children who recently committed violent crimes were old enough to know right from wrong – even if they were the victims of less than perfect parenting. To take away their responsibility and somehow attempt to blame these acts on a flawed society actually contradicts her argument that “Thousands of youth in Israel are doing beautiful things, every day, usually as volunteers who want to contribute to society, without wanting recognition or glory.”

Those “thousands of youth,” live in exactly the same society as the ones committing murder.

There comes a time when, despite whatever environment they’ve grown up in, children must be responsible for the actions which they have willfully chosen – for good or for bad.

Making it a habit to hold children responsible is the best way to educate them. Anything less sends the message that they are merely “victims” who are deprived or misunderstood and that their acts are direct results of the inadequacies of society.

Bringing to justice those whose violent acts of murder have now orphaned children who are truly victims is the best lesson.

COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSAN
Gizo

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