Sir, – Shmuel Rabinowitz (“Rabbi Yosef: Not for him, but for
ourselves,” Comment & Features, October 10) beautifies the Maran, our
master, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and validates the Hebrew adage acharei mot kedushim
(after death they are holy).
Baruch dayan ha’emet.
Blessed is the
Sir, – Your appraisal of Ovadia
Yosef (“Rabbi Yosef’s legacy,” Editorial, October 8) was unbalanced.
democracies, the politicization of religion and establishment of narrow sectoral
(and even sectarian parties) are retrogressive phenomena.
guilty of both and of greatly strengthening them.
In the process he
legitimized the divisive politics of race without any clear political aims. He
led a movement that caused huge damage to his own people by denying generations
of Sephardi children the blessings of modern, progressive education, and thus
damaged Israel as a whole while Shas became a symbol of corruption.
filthy language Yosef employed against opponents and enemies could never have
emanated from the mouths of great scholars of the past, to whom he falsely has
been compared. He had a photographic memory, but no true wisdom or
Let us be balanced and realistic about his
Sir, – The late, great and revered former
Sephardi chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef committed at least one monstrous gaffe in
publicly proclaiming that the victims of the Holocaust were reincarnations of
people who had sinned during their supposed previous lifetimes.
attitude should not be tolerated or ignored in the Jewish State of
Sir, – Your article “Thousands of police
officers successfully oversee largest funeral procession in Israel’s history”
(October 9) left me rather puzzled.
It opens with the following:
“Following a week of extensive preparations....” The implication is that
everything passed smoothly and the funeral took place peacefully and without
disturbance! That might be the case, but hundreds of thousands of people were
seriously affected by the traffic chaos that gripped not only the city, but all
its approaches. A friend who went to a wedding said that hardly anyone turned up
because parts of the city were closed off. It took me hours longer than usual to
If the police had time to plan the funeral – and honestly, they
really should have plans in place for events like this – why was there such
utter chaos? Roads closed unnecessarily.
Buses cancelled. The light rail
only partially operating. People parking anywhere, with cars and buses unable to
Why did they not set up park-and-ride stations to bus people in
from outside the city? Why not ensure that bus and train service would be free
for a few hours to encourage mourners not to bring cars into the city? There was
time to publicize this. If they say that helicopters and 4,000 police officers
were used, why did it seem that Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was almost
brought to a standstill? At the next large event, whether it be in times of
rejoicing or sadness, the police need to be much more innovative in their
planning so as to ensure the absolute minimum disruption to citizens.
Sir, – Howard Jacobsen put together some
complex ideas in his lecture at the B’nai B’rith World Center, and from your
report (“Author Jacobson unravels ‘logic’ behind Holocaust denial,
anti-Semitism,” October 9) it seems to have gone over the heads of some of the
This would take away from the wisdom of some of his statements,
such as “We are told to learn from the boy who cried wolf. Cry it too often and
at last no one will come out to assist. But what if we aren’t crying wolf?
Anyway, who came to our assistance the last time?” Certainly, British Jews could
benefit from understanding this concept and stop being concerned about the term
“anti-Semitism” being used as often as is justifiably necessary.
J Street no friend
Sir, – In his well documented “J Street is not
a ‘pro-Israel’ organization” (Candidly Speaking, October 8), Isi Leibler
explicitly enumerates unjustified positions, statements and proposals advocated
by J Street that are blatantly anti-Israel.
Although J Street claims to
be both pro-Israel and pro-peace, it demonstrated at its recent conference that
it is unequivocally opposed to both. If it is anti-Israel and opposes peace,
whom is it for? The answer is obvious: J Street.
Its mission is its own
Its very founding was able to raise persons from oblivion to
prominence. Such an organization could be (and has been) employed by the Obama
administration to take stances that are detrimental to Israel, with the claim
that such options have the support of a respected Jewish organization.
believe it is improper for Israeli officials and representatives, as well as
prominent Jewish leaders, to take part in J Street’s activities – even if their
purpose is to convince the group that its positions are in error. The best way
to react to an entity whose raison d’etre is its own self-aggrandizement is to
ignore it and not give it credence.
Sir, – With all
due respect to Aaron Magid (“Feeling uncomfortable at J Street,” Comment &
Features, October 6), J Street did not emerge in a vacuum.
The history of
left-wing American Jewish groups dedicated to “saving Israel through her soul”
dates back to Breira, followed by the New Jewish Agenda, Americans for Peace Now
and now J Street. What they have had in common is some form of peace at any
price for Israel.
As observed by writer Cynthia Ozik, “the result of
hallucinating moderation in one’s most deadly enemies is, especially in the
Middle East, like the result of hallucinating an oasis in the midst of a desert;
one ends up choking to death on sand.”
Magid need not feel
After all, numerous political luminaries could not see through
Yasser Arafat. May the Almighty protect us from ourselves.
Sir, – Praise is due Moshe Dann (“Expulsions threaten
Israeli democracy,” Comment & Features, October 8) for saying that Justice
and Defense officials violated the basic rights of an individual when an
expulsion order was executed without a trial and due process. He is due even
more praise for quoting the Magna Carta, which limited the powers of the
Academically, it is easy to select and emphasize the paragraph upon
which he based his piece. Let’s not overlook the serious matter of the Magna
Carta having two articles that violated the democratic rights of Jews. These
articles nullified and reduced debts owed to Jews by the nobility and
Without their inclusion, the bishops flatly refused to
Those “very interested peers” who demanded that King John sign this
historic document represented about five percent of the population. In those
days, the democratic rights of 95% of the population were not at all represented