Why a constitution?
Sir, – Coming from a country without a written constitution,
I cannot understand some of our lawmakers’ obsession with having one, as
epitomized by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (“Between Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak,”
Rule of Law, October 4).
I believe that much of the problem of America
and American Jewry is the fact that the US has a constitution. It guarantees
freedom of speech, absence of public displays of religion and freedom to bear
arms. All are well intentioned but open to abuse.
The Jewish community is
the first to oppose any public display of religion, which leads to many
absurdities. Freedom of speech is also carried to ridiculous extremes, and now
some of those who espouse the right to bear arms insist that blind persons
should be allowed to carry a gun.
Can you imagine what the nonreligious
(and religious) members of a committee to write a constitution here would do to
the concept of a “Jewish democratic state?” As it is, the Supreme Court seems to
take a delight in contradicting the ability of the Knesset in its right to pass
Israel is one of the few countries in which the Supreme Court
virtually appoints its own members.
Any effort to alter these
appointments in line with other countries is met with screams of protests of
interference in the independence of the judiciary and the right of the judges to
appoint like-minded clones.
Our Supreme Court would have a heyday
interpreting a constitution in accord with its own political
Beit Shemesh London’s JW3 JCC
Sir, – In
“Bringing Judaism to the mainstream” (Jewish World, October 4) JTA’s Cnaan
Liphshiz prophecizes that the haredi community in London will not enter the JW3
Jewish community center.
It is an unfortunate fact that the developers
were not granted permission for parking facilities, and the availability of
street parking in the area is practically nil (although the center is close to
public transportation convenient for the large Jewish community in the area, but
not for haredim, mainstream or secular Jews living in the north, east and south,
as well as along the city’s perimeter, because it would take at the very least
more than an hour by public transport for a one-way journey.
Just a week
after its official opening, it is too early to gauge (as Liphshiz does) whether
haredim in northwest London will avail themselves of the excellent facilities
and courses on offer at JW3. But I will hazard a guess that London Jewry in
general hopes he will be proved wrong.
London No excuse
– With regard to “Caring for our elderly” (Comment & Features, October 3),
Israel cannot be proud of the way it has treated its seniors.
the excuse was that everything had to be done for our children. There is,
however, a big difference between the first few decades of the state and the
The ability to subsist, though difficult, was possible
in earlier decades, when the cost of living and services was more
In recent decades, though, the spiraling cost of living has
made life for a very large number of our aged unbearable, and only numerous
projects, such as that run by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, have helped avoid a
We recite in our prayers on Yom Kippur: “Do not abandon
me in my old age.” While we owe much to Rabbi Eckstein and others who help us
fulfill our Yom Kippur promises, one wonders how long our government can fail in
its moral duty by virtually abandoning its responsibility to welfare
Kiryat Ono Information, please
Sir, – In
“Zionism’s failure” (For Zion’s Sake, October 3), Daniel Tauber writes that the
War Refugee Board, established early in 1944 under US president Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, “is reported to have funded and overseen rescue operations for
200,000 European Jews.”
I would like to know where those refugees came
from and where they found refuge.
Karmiel Ours or theirs
Sir, – Regarding “Yom Kippur 40 years later: Beyond scoreboard history and
bankrolling settlements” (Center Field, October 2), with all due respect to
columnist Gil Troy and author Yossi Klein Halevi, it seems to me that the
Israeli “settlers” in Judea and Samaria are just like our pioneering
grandparents and great-grandparents who built Tel Aviv on the sand dunes just
The Land of Israel includes Tel Aviv, Hod Hasharon,
Jerusalem, Hebron, Ariel, Beersheba and Ma’aleh Adumim, among other locations.
It belongs either to the Jews, who never quite left even though the Romans
evicted us in 70 CE, or it belongs to the Arabs, who migrated here to a barren
wilderness after Jews started returning to their homeland in the late 19th
century. It cannot belong to two different people.
If it is ours, we
should start acting like it is ours and stop contemplating giving up half of it
to people whose leaders would love to drive us into the sea. If it is ours, we
should retake the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, Hebron and Bethlehem
(again) and stop cowering before the Wakf Muslim religious trust.
don’t think this land belongs to the Jews, I’d recommend rereading the prophetic
Rashi on the first sentence in Parashat Bereishit, which we read on the Shabbat
before last. It is so true.
Ma’aleh Adumim Bizarre
Sir, – Page 8 of your September 30 edition reported extreme violence
and death in four Middle Eastern countries: Egypt (“Sniper kills Egyptian
soldier in Sinai”), Iraq (“Six killed in first bombing of Iraq’s Kurdistan
region since 2007”), Sudan (“Islamists, ruling party members chide Sudan’s
Bashir amid protests”; “Will Sudan be the next to have a revolution?”) and Syria
(“At least 12 dead as Syrian school hit in strike”). This shows that instability
and conflict are endemic to the region.
The president of the United
States and others who believe that the resolution of the Palestinian- Israel
conflict is key to stability in the region would be hard pressed to explain this
bizarre conclusion. The turmoil in the countries mentioned above, and brutality
elsewhere, including Sunni-Shia warfare, have nothing to do with Israel. Just as
with the Jews in days gone by, Israel is a convenient target for anti-Semites
and those who need to transfer blame away from the real causes of their
US President Barack Obama badly needs a victory to offset his
five-and-a-half-year record of failure in foreign affairs. Thus, we see and feel
the extreme pressure on Israel for concessions leading to a peace agreement with
Palestinian and other Arabs.
Jerusalem TAMA 38 and greed
Sir, – I was pleased to see that your newspaper touched upon some of the
problems with the Pinui Binui program (“The brilliant Banai family,” Grapevine,
September 27). It was long overdue.
Under the so-called TAMA 38
legislation aimed at strengthening structures against earthquakes, if only 80
percent of a building’s owners agree to participate they can go to court to
force the remaining 20% to agree.
The intimidation can be really nasty.
In one block of flats in Jerusalem’s Talbiyeh neighborhood, a dissenter was
threatened with bankruptcy by the costs of defending his right to
An elderly tenant was told the building was going to be
demolished; the shock could have precipitated a heart attack.
worry and anxiety show that TAMA 38 can turn property owners’ lives upside down.
Additional legislation is urgently needed to prevent unscrupulous intimidation
by greedy owners and developers.
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