Mikve and health

Sir, – I was very excited by the article on extending the role of the mikve (“More than a mikve, Health, October 28).

It is a wonderful way of providing much-needed services in an acceptable and convenient way (not to mention cost-effective), and I’ve no doubt it comes close to the practical (in addition to the spiritual) role that the mikve originally played in the life of the Jewish woman.

Looking forward to seeing this proposal developed for the good of us all.

WENDY ELLIMAN
Jerusalem

Sir, – Kol Hakavod to Judy Siegel for a brilliant idea that could save lots of money.

Prevention is the way to go to help women become more educated about their bodies and family safety. Please let this idea bear fruit and be implemented soon.

C. GOLDMAN
Jerusalem

Vengeance is hers

Sir, – With regard to “For you, half price” (Out There, October 28) by Herb Keinon, my husband and I made aliya over two years ago, selling our house to an Israeli who left me with instructions on how to bargain when we arrived here.

Having grown up much in the same manner as Keinon, I totally ignored the man. One of my first trips was to a greengrocer in the neighborhood, but upon arriving home the carton of eggs I purchased had only 10 eggs. That was the first and the last time I went into that store.

I might be chicken and not fight for my rights, but I don’t have time for pettiness. I get even by not patronizing the several stores that I feel took undue advantage of me just once.

NAOMI STAIMAN
Jerusalem

Within, not despite

Sir, – Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is not quoted out of context (“Women shouldn’t be MKs, says national-religious rabbi,” October 25).

The problem is that traditional Jewish talk about women easily sounds sexist while that of Aviner’s opponents, like Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, sounds like the talk of secular humanists. The challenge is to counter the oppression of women within the religious mindset, not despite it.

Judaism has always been a movement aiming to protect those who are socially weak. We need to respect, love and empower all women around us.

To empower means to encourage them to speak their fine minds and live their highest dreams. There is no real need to please or appease us or to seek our approval all the time. In this way we disable the main curse that women face: “And your craving shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).

Where there is honor there is no domination.

We men may also undo a major part of our own paradisiacal curse, from Genesis 3:17: “Because you listened to the voice of your wife.” Since the days of our patriarchs and matriarchs we are commanded to reverse this (“listen to her,” Genesis 21:12). That is how the quality of the voices of women might have improved in those generations since the Garden of Eden.

We are now millennia after Abraham and it is high time we follow his example en masse.

“We will do and we will hear” (Exodus 24:7). This means that only when we execute this we will begin to understand.

MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN
Jerusalem

No compromise


Sir, – MK Arieh Eldad writes about the fusion of his National Union and the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party (“Nuclear physics and Israeli politics: Fission or fusion,” Comment & Features, October 24).

Eldad quotes his father, Dr.Israel Eldad, in saying that “anytime someone raises the banner of unity, you should look for the division behind it.” He writes about the numerous splits in the kibbutz movement, as well as in Knesset parties.

“The National Union faction that served in the 18th Knesset was comprised of several parties...,” Eldad says, explaining why he and fellow National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari did not attend the ceremony marking the party’s merger with Habayit Hayehudi. “Behind the declaration of unity was division.”

Eldad goes on to inform readers that “[r]eligious Zionism preferred a narrow sectarian list to a wide one that would include all those loyal to Eretz Yisrael” (the Land of Israel).

For years, I personally have believed that the National Religious Party, which served in any government, was a party that “blew with the wind.” While its ideology was religious Zionism its actions were otherwise, depending on what kept it in the government. It was an example of someone who wears a yarmulke and prays three times a day, and when hungry stops in at a non-kosher place for a pork sandwich. The ideas were good but the actions were bad.

Eldad said that he and Ben-Ari were not included in the merger because they knew that Habayit Hayehudi would have to apportion them places on the party’s list based on their political strength. I believe that Habayit Hayehudi sees in both men the strength to carry-out their beliefs without compromise, something that would be a thorn in the side of a party that makes compromises, as it did in the past to stay in the government.

An MK’s job is to implement his policies, not compromise on them.

Polls show that if they run together, a party led by Eldad and Ben-Ari would win three seats. My vote will go to them.

There should be no compromise on the greater Land of Israel.

BARBARA GINSBERG
Ma’aleh Adumim

Palestinian front


Sir, – Yaakov Lappin’s report “Tank battalion practices racing to border in war drill” (October 19) informs us of a new concern to the IDF.

The 9th Armored Battalion’s commander states that his unit “will be among the first forces that respond at a war front.”

We thus picture war breaking out and the battalion, stationed in the Jordan Valley, receiving orders to proceed with all speed to the southern border to assist in preventing an enemy breakthrough.

A benefit for an army in a diminutive country is short internal lines of communication.

Heretofore, the IDF could move units quickly from location to location, unhindered. In a future conflict, movement will be impeded by incoming rocket and missile barrages. And the 9th Battalion drill makes us aware of an additional danger: guerrillas engaging Israeli units to slow their maneuvering and repositioning.

Lappin’s report does not mention where these guerrillas might originate and how a large unit of them could cross into Israel undetected. Of course, they might not have to travel so far. If a state of Palestine exists, crossing the border from Jordan hours before the outbreak of war would not be difficult.

As for a “demilitarized” Palestine, only those who are uninformed about the history of demilitarization and persons whose ideological beliefs prevent them from understanding and accepting the failure of demilitarization still believe in its efficacy. (See the results of the League of Nations’s efforts to demilitarize Pacific island mandates, the Rhineland and, more recently, Sinai, for just a few examples.) There should be no doubt that by assisting in the creation of a state of Palestine, Israel could bring on its own defeat should an Arab coalition decide that conditions are ripe to launch an attack. Even with demilitarization written into a peace treaty, within a few years Palestine would possess light infantry, commandos and some armored and artillery units.

This conclusion is based on several facts, including Arab attitudes toward Israel’s existence and the honor of an Arab country, which demands an army.

BERNARD SMITH
Jerusalem

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