letters to the editor 88.
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Is the Creator...
Sir, - In "Caught bareheaded" (February 19) Elliot Jager suggests that God "isn't bothered" whether he wears a kippa or not. I have no argument with this conclusion; however, I would point out that whereas a person wearing a kippa never really sees it because it is on his head, it does help other Jews, who do see it, by reminding them that a Jew is committed to fulfilling as many mitzvot as he possibly can.
If my wearing a skullcap reminds just one Jew of his own personal commitment, it has a real meaning.
Sir, - Although Elliot Jager occasionally quotes Jewish sources, he also quotes Gentile ones like Shakespeare and Jung. Frankly, that's a clue to where his "bare" head is. I'm very much the same. I consider myself religious, but not nearly as observant as I should be. However, there is a difference. I refuse to justify my lack of observance by creating my own philosophy, which is what the Reform and Conservative do.
Jager knows it's halachically correct to cover his head. He doesn't want to do it. His guilt resulted in this column. Leave it at that.
Sir, - We all have our paths and we all make our choices. From the tone of Elliot Jager's article it seems he has lost a bit of hope. I too made aliya, losing something and waking up to the reality of Israeli society.
Be assured, He is with you all the time, and in every place. We just aren't always aware of it. But never surrender to apathy or cynicism. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said it long before Winston Churchill did.
...about a kippa?
Sir, - Elliot Jager quotes Will: "This above all: to thine own self be true." It is this thinking that has allowed me to throw to the wind any care I may have had for what other kippa-wearers think of me. I wear a leather kippa but have worn many types over the years, not because I am confused but in recognition of the fact that it is what lies beneath the kippa that matters most.
Elsewhere Shakespeare writes: "They should be good men, their affairs as righteous; but all hoods make not monks."
Engine for change
Sir, - Kudos for presenting, last week, the candidates of the varying parties, and this week the contacts for English speakers eligible to vote ("Angling for Anglos," February 17). This is the perfect time for those who care about specific issues to challenge the parties on how they will deal with them if they come to power and vote for the one they think will deliver.
Too many elections have been fought over security rather than domestic issues. Today, with the new political alignments and a shift in priorities, we have the opportunity to get involved. We should take it.
Metuna, the leading organization for road injury prevention, is asking all the parties to present their stand on reducing road carnage. We will be happy to report on our results, and can also supply a list of MKs in the last government who were active on the issue.
PR Director, Metuna
PA tax revenues
Sir, - Re "Government to decide on Hamas options" (February 19), undoubtedly there will be some who will argue, as Central Bank Governor Stanley Fischer was quoted as doing ("Fischer: Continue transfers to PA," February 7) that Israel is obligated to transfer tax revenues to the PA under an agreement signed in 1996.
It is a fact that among its arsenal of economic sanctions against states that sponsor terrorism the US is, according to the Trading with The Enemy Act, empowered to freeze the assets of those states and their citizens, including deposits in US banks or US government securities. Certainly the expectation to honor those obligations is at least as strong as an agreement with a regime which, until now, has condoned terrorism - and will now be dominated by those who openly threaten to destroy the State of Israel.
Israel must not allow specious arguments to divert it from defending itself.
Sir, - In lieu of providing the Palestinian Authority with the tax funds claimed by it the government might send food and medical supplies of equal value, as well as farm equipment and other materials which could be used to improve the economy and increase the number of jobs locally so fewer Palestinians would need to enter Israel. While that would free up funds for Hamas to use for other purposes it would ensure that at least some of the Palestinian resources are used for humanitarian purposes.
No cash or weapons should go from any nation to the new Palestinian government until it renounces violence and its determination to destroy Israel. But humanitarian aid, distributed by NGOs, may be a way around the problem.
RICHARD A. ROSEN
Mount Vernon, New York
Sir, - I do not understand the discussion about Israel stopping electricity to the Palestinians. According to a report I read recently, the Palestinians are not paying the Israel Electric Corporation, and now owe it $50m.
This is absurd. The solution is simple: The amount the Palestinian Authority owes Israel Electric and other companies should be deducted from the money Israel collects for the PA.
First things first
Sir, - It's we who are confused ("Prevent 'disaster,'" Editorial, February 19). Here we are, in company with most of the Western world, worrying about Iran's nuclear capability and its missile delivery systems. And all the while we are unable to halt the puny, amateurish - but potentially lethal - mortars and rockets fired from the other side of the street which now threaten our population and industrial centers.
Sir, - We need the Givati Brigade to patrol the Egyptian border. We need to reinforce roofs in dozens of communities. We need to protect vital installations in Ashkelon. We will soon need to deal with Kassam rockets being fired from Samaria on our airport and population centers. The world will soon accept Hamas.
Unilateral disengagement, aka appeasement, has been a tremendous success, hasn't it?
SHARONA GLASER BEN-AVRAHAM
They'd have to do it all again
Sir, - Were Hamas to recognize Israel, the election by which it came to power would have to be rerun because the platform upon which it received its huge majority was, among other things, non-recognition of the Jewish state.
Terror's iron hand
Sir, - With Hamas holding the PA hostage, I sadly don't see an end or any kind of bright future for anyone, especially for the Palestinians now that a terror group has an iron hand on them.
Faith, not fear
Sir, - I would like to thank your paper for its free on-line posts. I live half a world away and enjoy reading the uncorrupted news concerning the hardships faced by Israel. I think Americans have forgotten the harsh nature of terrorism, but every day I read how optimistic the Israelis are and motivated to live without fear because of their faith.
Nora Springs, Iowa
Eating their words
Sir, - I'm having trouble understanding the Iranians. As you reported, they have changed the name of Danish pastries to "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad" in order to protest the recent Danish cartoons depicting the prophet ("Iranians rename Danish pastry," February 16).
However, the cultural editor of the newspaper responsible for the publications is called Flemming Rose. So the mullahs seem to be complimenting that editor.
Strategically speaking, something must be going on. I should have gone into rocket science instead; it's a lot easier to understand. Too bad. I'm off to Starbucks for a cappuccino and Rose of Muhammad.
Mideast could be heaven on earth
Sir, - In spite of the gloomy picture - "Iraqi violence claims 18 more lives" (February 16) - I, as an Iraqi, see now there is real opportunity for peace in the Middle East. The silent majority in Iraq and, I believe, in the Middle East as well, are starting to realize the facts of who is their real enemy.
I and millions of inhabitants of the region have opened our eyes, through decades, to a systematic brainwashing which says that all our suffering is due to the Jews. The ignorant rulers of these countries have employed all resources, including the daily demand of people to survive, to divert attention from their real problems. They have forged history and religion, with the blessing of corrupt religious establishments, and have implanted in people's heads the notion that the poverty they suffer is because of Israel. But you find those corrupt rulers and their cronies living luxurious lives at the expense of their peoples.
The time has come for all wise people to shout and point fingers at those rulers who are the problem. Then maybe ordinary inhabitants of the Middle East - Muslims, Jews, Christians, Arabs, Kurds, Ashourians, Keldans, Persians and all other groups - can live peacefully and in harmony and change the area to heaven on earth.
Out of the race
Sir, - Re "Ein Gedi half-marathon promotes co-existence" (February 17): When the spokesperson for the Tamar Regional Council, Ofra Gazit, makes a statement like "That's why we try to involve in our race so many people from different... religions," the obvious question for a reporter to ask is: "If that's your aim, why do you exclude religious runners from your own country by holding this event on Shabbat?