letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Call for concessions
Sir, - The Rabbinical Council of America is appalled at the images and firsthand reports that it has seen and received from Amona. While news accounts differ, this much is clear: The police used considerable force, injuring about 200 people, including some who did not actively pose a threat and some of the protesters used violence to resist the police, throwing rocks and cinder blocks, and injuring about 50.
Such wanton violence does not belong in a Jewish polity. Those responsible must be held to account. We therefore strongly support the call of President Moshe Katsav for a panel of inquiry into the events and are distressed that the Olmert government has dismissed such an option ("Olmert rules out official Amona inquiry," February 6).
An unacceptable and tragic precedent has been set. Brother has lifted hand against brother and created a state of affairs that can easily spiral out of control.
We are alarmed at the prospect of young religious Israelis growing up to view the government as the enemy and at the prospect of the government of Israel singling out one group in Israeli society for harsh treatment on the ground and in the media.
We call upon the Israeli government to recognize that settlers are not enemies of the State of Israel and ought not be subjected to the indiscriminate use of force.
We call upon our brothers and sisters in the Religious Zionist camp to concede that the duly elected Israeli government has the authority to determine the policies of the state. Even if one does not agree with such policies, sometimes, for the greater good, painful sacrifices have to be made. In the other direction lies the abyss.
RABBI MOSHE ROSENBERG
Director of Public Affairs
The Rabbinical Council of America
Sir, - In the aftermath of the Amona crisis your editorial ("Step back from the abyss," February 5) urged that Israel cannot be sanguine about the alienation felt by many religious Zionist youth, and suggested the situation be "defused."
Here's how: democracy and justice.
Democracy means that politicians not be allowed to promise one thing and, upon election, do the opposite. Despite a landslide election for the the Right, defeating the Left's policy of disengagement, several thousand tax-paying citizens were "disengaged" from Gaza. The resulting fury has had half a year to simmer and is coming to a boil.
Justice. When all else fails, citizens in a democracy can appeal to the courts. Our courts are so biased, however, that the Right almost never wins a case.
Power, of course, has to reside with the government. But the government must play by the rules, and use power wisely. We still want to believe the pre-election slogan "He who votes has influence;" and we want our teenagers to have reason to believe this too.
Sir, - The Anglican Church sits in moral judgment of Israel and, to set an example for the world, has decided to disinvest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the territories ("Lord Carey 'ashamed to be an Anglican' after church votes for disinvestment," February 8). The church took no such steps against Muslims in their midst for blowing up British citizens in their nation's capital. Only against Israel.
Sir, - The decision by the Church of England to disinvest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the territories is consistent with its anti-Israel anti-Semitic doctrine.
Instead of supporting peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Church of England is kindling a fire of anti-Semitism and taking the same route as the Catholic Church did until several decades ago. The Catholic Church has now come clean thanks to the last two popes.
Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, will change his mind quickly when the supporters of Islam blow up a few more subway trains or the Tower of London.
Three queens gone
Sir, - We have lost the dynasty. Those who were our public royalty have left us. They were the embodiment of womanhood and all that was good and pure, wonderful and profane: they were change!
The first of our good ladies passed last fall. As I read the statement of Rosa Parks's death, I was once again a young woman with ideals, on a 1963 tour of the south, invincible and filled with idealism, going to march with Dr. King. I idolized Mrs. Parks for her bravery and tenacity.
A few months after Mrs. Parks, Betty Friedan passed on. I remember my father practically disowned me when he found The Feminine Mystique sitting on my bedside table. He ranted that "absolutely no good could come of women trying to be equal." He didn't understand me, but I felt while reading Betty's book that she did! The book changed the role of women and their consciousness everywhere.
Sadly, among the pomp and circumstance she so richly deserves, we buried Coretta Scott King, perhaps the strongest woman I have ever known ("Thousands fill church for King's funeral," February 8). She became a widow at the height of the civil rights movement but picked up the torch her husband left behind without flinching. She became a tireless advocate for the rights of not only African Americans but all human beings suffering from injustice.
The passing of these three women marks the end of an era, but reminds us that their struggles have changed us.
Long Beach, California
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