Force the only way

Sir, – In your article “Jerusalem: US non-deadline policy will put Iran at ease” (September 11), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mistakenly believes that sanctions will bring Iran to good-faith negotiations. Only a credible use of force will cause Iran to give up its nuclear program.

Israel does not have the luxury to wait for sanctions to work because Iran is planning to destroy Israel. Sanctions have been ineffective in deterring its nuclear ambitions, and Israel has reached its red line.

MARC HANDELSMAN
St. Petersburg, Florida

Sir, – America and the free world are pretending to pin their hopes on sanctions in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. At the same time they hope that Israel will unilaterally take all actions on the table to try and stop Iran’s advance.

If that happens they will all breathe a sigh of relief that, at last, someone is doing something.

At the same time they will take the opportunity to condemn Israel.

Everybody knows that Iran is progressing toward its objective while laughing at the world’s feeble efforts to thwart it. Its constant procrastination is allowing the West to pretend that sanctions are working.

In the same issue of the Post, contrary to the views expressed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and someone who knows what is going on, expressed his frustration at the refusal of the Iranian government to cooperate with the IAEA.

If the Iranians have nothing to hide, why are they refusing to open their facilities for inspection?

CYRIL ATKINS
Beit Shemesh

Sir, – The correct way to deal with Iran is covert operations and secret diplomacy – not on the front page of The Jerusalem Post.

People, both here and abroad, are tired of hearing the same story day in, day out.

Any red line with consequences is a state secret. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other politicians should find other items for the upcoming elections, such as the oft-promised change in the electoral process.

As the French saying goes, Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (The more things change, the more they stay the same).

HENRY WEIL
Jerusalem

Mind your manners

Sir, – The minority of Jordanians who would like to visit Israel are discouraged by the rudeness of the Israelis they have to deal with when they apply for a visa or arrive at the border (“Jordanians have a hard time finding Israel’s welcome mat,” September 11).

This is not necessarily intentional, but may be an example of the general lack of polite manners in Israeli society.

I’m still taken aback when a stranger from some office calls me and addresses me by my first name, like an old friend. I can imagine the effect on a Jordanian businessman when some youngster from the Israeli consulate does that to him.

Here’s a novel suggestion that could do wonders to 1) improve the impression Israel makes on the world, 2) help prepare young people to enter the job market and 3) make life here more pleasant for all of us: How about lessons in polite behavior at school? Once a week as part of citizenship class, for example.

This could include telephone manners, how to write a polite letter and polite norms for dealing with the public in a business situation.

NAOMI SANDLER
Jerusalem

Equal condemnations

Sir, – It is so nice to see that the UK has its finger on the pulse of Israel’s political, social and even educational situations (“UK condemns government decision to upgrade Ariel University,” September 11). It is good to be proactive when you see an injustice being perpetrated.

Just in case our friends in the UK missed the news, however, children living within missile range of the Gaza Strip were unable to start school on time this year due to indiscriminate salvos of rockets. If the UK is so concerned about our educational system, let it condemn these continued acts of aggression and terror as well.

We of the civilized world await said condemnation.

ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV
Ma’aleh Adumim

Rules are rules

Sir, – Regarding “The court and the mikve” (Comment & Features, September 11), the allocation of public funds to build and maintain ritual baths is to serve the public in accordance with Talmudic law.

This law dictates in great detail the various laws of spiritual immersion, including the size of the mikve, the amount of water, and the many complex circumstances that require or forbid a women’s immersion.

Plain and simple, there are rules. These rules are governed by the rabbinical authorities and should have no secular intervention regarding spiritual practice.

To suggest that this is a violation of women’s rights limits one’s “Jewish life.” Granting access to single women is inconsistent with Jewish law and tradition.

Shabbat is always on Saturday, notwithstanding how it is observed. It will always be on Saturday. It can’t be moved.

These ritual baths are for married women. Plain and simple.

Rules are rules.

STEVEN FRANCO
Jerusalem

Sir, – A couple of years ago, two dear friends of mine (both divorced) were getting married.

The bride, R., an immigrant from the FSU who was not halachically Jewish, had chosen to undergo a Reform conversion both for her and her Israeli-born son. This had been a meaningful process for them, which culminated in immersion in a mikve.

The issue now: finding a user-friendly mikve that would not bar her as a non-Orthodox convert.

We turned to a dear friend who was running the mikve in a small community. She wanted to accommodate R. but was concerned that her authority might be revoked were the rabbinical authorities to discover that she had allowed in a Reform convert.

Sadly, the woman turned R. away.

I am sure that there are more cases such as these, not to mention unmarried lesbian women in committed relationships who want to immerse themselves in a mikve, unmarried women who give birth and would like to use a mikve, and more.

If there is nothing halachic preventing them from doing so, no one should be branding these women as immoral or excluding them from what could otherwise be a positive spiritual experience.

NAOMI BLOOM WURTMAN
Jerusalem

Pleased and proud


Sir, – Kudos to Stuart E. Eizenstat for “A president’s badge of honor” (Comment & Features, September 11). Although I have been, and am, a great believer in US President Barack Obama’s fine record on Israel, I hadn’t realized just how strongly he has backed Israel in every possible way.

I am pleased and proud to understand just how much Obama has done for us despite all the criticism he has received from Americans who should know better. They are led, of course, by Republicans looking for a way to win an election.

LEONARD ZURAKOV
Netanya

Nowhere to write

Sir, – Your interesting feature on Marvin Hamlisch, who died on August 6, and his friendship with Barbra Streisand (“The way they were,” Arts & Entertainment, August 19), brings to mind his association with another collaborator, the lyricist Carole Bayer Sager.

I attended a rare London concert at Drury Lane given by Bayer Sager some 30 years ago when she was heard to comment: “It’s always difficult writing with Marvin – first you have to clear all the awards off the piano!”

BARRY BORMAN
Edgware, UK

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