December 11, 2017: Status quo a no-no

Our readers sound off on the week's hottest topics.

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December 10, 2017 21:40
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Status quo a no-no

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated that Israel will maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount (“Liberman: Most we can hope for is interim deal,” December 7).

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The status quo presents significant legal problems that have not been addressed. It is basically a political agreement with Jordan stating that Jews cannot pray on the Temple Mount. Yet the status quo contradicts Israeli law, basic Israeli constitutional issues and significant Israeli values.

It is important to note that the Protection of Holy Places Law of 1967 states in part: “The Holy Places shall be protected from anything likely to violate freedom of access of the members of different religions to the places sacred to them.” In 1994, Izhak Englard, later a justice on the Supreme Court, wrote: “To argue that freedom of access does not include freedom of worship is an absurdity.”

Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel also states in part: “The Holy Places shall be protected... from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them.” Further, we should note the Israel-Jordan peace treaty of 1994, in which Article 9 states: “Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religions and historical significance.”

In this context, prime minister David Ben-Gurion stated in 1949: “We have always respected the wishes of all states concerned with freedom of worship and free access to the holy places and desiring to safeguard existing rights relating to the holy places and religious sites of Jerusalem, and shall continue to do so.”

Concomitant with access, this denotes the ability for prayer in these holy places!

There are also Israeli constitutional issues requiring freedom of worship on the Temple Mount. The abrogation of religious worship on the Temple Mount contravenes concepts enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, Basic Law: Human Rights, international customary law and a host of internationally-recognized human rights declarations. Moreover, to deny religious worship on the Temple Mount contravenes Israeli sovereignty there and the question of “equal protection” as a basic human right.

The prevention of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is done to mollify Arab violence against Jews. To permit perceived and actual Arab violence as legal conduct results in a perversion of the rule of law. The fact is that Arab policy ratified by the status quo equates to blatant antisemitism.

I think it is fair to say that the status quo is a veritable no-no!

I. GENDELMAN
Jerusalem
The writer is a member of the US Bar. He writes on governmental legal matters with an emphasis on basic human rights that impact on Israel-connected citizenry.

Least of Amazon’s offenses

I notice that nearly every joke Amy Spiro quotes in “The ‘marvelous’ Jewish story of Miriam Maisel” (Arts & Entertainment, December 7) carries an antisemitic punch. We’re apparently supposed to chuckle that the Jews are depicted as invariably rich, as taking non-Jewish girlfriends “for practice” while privately scorning even those non-Jews who convert, and as eccentrically fixated on World War II and Israel.

If the article accurately describes the Amazon video series, then Ms. Spiro’s observation that one episode borrows from Fiddler on the Roof a decade too early is singling out the least of Amazon’s offenses.

MARK L. LEVINSON
Herzliya

That tape on the eyes

Your editorial “Razel’s black tape” (December 6) was way off base in stating that singer Yonatan Razel was expressing his “religiosity” by placing the black tape over his eyes while his woman fans were dancing during his performance. It also attributes the putting on of the tape to a “public relations stunt aimed at gaining himself notoriety.”

In both cases, the editorial writer clearly is wrong.

Jeremy Sharon (“Popular singer sticks tape over eyes to avoid seeing women at concert,” December 5) got it right by writing that “when Razel realizes the [religious] women want to dance, he knows they are the ones who feel uncomfortable doing so in front of a man, and that’s why he put on the tape.”

ABRAHAM BROT

Petah Tikva

On December 5, your front page included a large article and picture of Haredi musician Yonatan Razel with black tape over his eyes. Wow, front-page news! It was obvious that he would be barbecued. I am used to the shallow reporting of Jewish affairs in your newspaper, but the next day I was surprised to see an entire editorial.

“Razel could have simply closed his eyes, or concentrated on his playing or putting on sunglasses,” your editorial writer said. (Does the writer carry sunglasses at night?)

Razel, one of only a few Haredi musicians who perform before women, was not expecting women to jump up and spontaneously begin dancing. I can well imagine that when they began dancing, he feared being attacked by others in his Haredi neighborhood for playing to dancing women – which was not his intention.

Stopping the music or turning his back would have been insulting. Putting on black tape was accepted by all as playfully getting out of a sticky situation.

No woman was insulted or left in protest. It was taken in stride; all were thankful for his reaction. Only the scoop-hungry media was insulted. Typical “fake news.”

YOSEF TUCKER
Jerusalem

Was your editorial written by man? A feminine perspective was lacking. Frankly, I was surprised that Yonatan Razel’s black tape rated both a news story and an editorial.

While I did not attend the concert, I do annually attend Odelia Berlin’s pre-Yom Kippur concert for women. I dance there freely with much joy and abandon, knowing it is an all-women event.

As a woman who defines herself as a religious Zionist, when I attend weddings, I get up to dance only when there is a mechitza (gender separation). This is standard religious practice accepted throughout all Orthodox circles. Perhaps the general public is unaware that women have accepted this level of modesty as normative and prefer to have the opportunity to dance freely and without inhibition.

While the organizers should have anticipated the problem and found another solution or a female performer instead of Razel, The Jerusalem Post ignored what the women themselves preferred and instead focused only on the male performer.

RUTH KOENIGSBERG
Jerusalem

You virtuously try to stand up for tolerance and against religious fanaticism. However, because you don’t know the Dutch mentality, you misjudge the liberal, partly-Dutch Yonatan Razel by projecting onto him an aggressiveness that is foreign to us.

How often do we common bystanders trash special people by projecting our mediocrity onto them?

The people of the Low Countries know how to combine holding strong opinions with having a perceptive, tolerant ear for others. In this case, in taping his eyes shut so as not to see the female audience dance, Razel was not contributing to an intolerant trend at all. On the contrary.

Much like a sensitive orator would not speak at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting about his expertise in excellent wines, a sensitive woman will not dance in front of religious male Jews. Covering his eyes was not to tolerate them dancing – it was to encourage them to dance to their hearts’ desire without worrying about his need for modesty, which he took care of.

MOSHE-MORDECHAI VAN ZUIDEN

Jerusalem


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