February 10: Black them out

I consider myself among those who were equally offended by the signs in Beit Shemesh making demands from female residents.

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February 9, 2015 23:16
Letters

Letters. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Black them out

Sir, – I totally agree with the views Daniel Goldman expresses in “Civil rights or Jewish values as a model for conflict resolution” (Comment & Features, February 8) about the recent activities in Beit Shemesh, where four brave ladies sued City Hall over the large signs making demands from female residents. I consider myself among those who were equally offended by the signs.

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I have a mikvat kelim nearby for ritually immersing kitchen utensils.

It is just a short walk away.

One of the signs, at the entrance, actually says women are not allowed to enter, so I feel impelled to go elsewhere. Other signs there direct women to cross the street so as not to offend men using a nearby building.

Posting these signs is illegal.

Mayor Moshe Abutbul’s hands are not tied. He should invite the media when he brings his workers – with extra-long ladders – to cover all the signs in black paint.



RUTH POSNER
Beit Shemesh

Weak argument

Sir, – “The myth of the harmless wrong” (Comment & Features, February 8) appears to be weakly argued.

First, if, as summarized in the last paragraphs, someone sees an act as wrong, it will do him harm.

Conversely, it would seem that if someone sees an act as right, it will do him good. Thus, it appears the piece can be seen as an excuse for gay-bashing.

Second, if we change the terminology from “gays” to “Jews,” we are left with an exoneration, if not triumphal justification, of anti-Semitism.

I well understand that the piece might have been edited and abridged. It does, however, suggest that this research is suffering from tunnel vision and that benefit can be gained from a critical review of the data and conclusions.

DAVID MEYER
Haifa

Perhaps even worse

Sir, – When reading “Likud takes 4-seat lead over Zionist Union” (February 6), I noted that the latter part referred to responses on corruption among party leaders.

Polls seldom, if ever, focus on moral corruption, which is no less evil and perhaps even more dangerous.

A perfect example is one supposed leader who has ricocheted from one party extreme to another for most of her political career, making catastrophic errors of judgment. How can such people have genuine values when devoid of political integrity? How can they ever be trusted to serve the country? There is no difference between the two types of corruption except that one is subject to prosecution.

I. KEMP Nahariya Racist pornography Sir, – I don’t know what Yisrael Beytenu is trying to accomplish with its insistence on distributing copies of Charlie Hebdo (“Yisrael Beytenu to go to high court over ‘Charlie Hebdo’ ban,” February 6).

The inexcusable and horrible massacre at the magazine in no way sanctified the publication’s contents. I have seen a number of the offending cartoons – they are blatantly racist and on an infantile level of humor. If the Muslim in the cartoons were to be replaced by a Jew or member of any other ethnic group, the hue and cry would be virtually universal.

I humbly suggest to Yisrael Beytenu that it immediately cease promoting the racist pornography promulgated by Charlie Hebdo.

SAMUEL DERSHOWITZ
Jerusalem

Inherently ill system

Sir, – It’s that time again, when Israeli taxpayers shell out hundreds of millions to finance elections.

(This, of course, after they shelled out hundreds of millions for the 2013 election, an investment that didn’t see a sustained return.) Obviously, Israel, a country that burdens its citizens with a multitude of taxes, has nothing better to do with the money than continuously dismantle and form governments. It is fair to assume that most of us are sickened but resigned to the bleak reality.

The reason for the bleakness is that we all know the situation most likely will never change.

The reason is simple: The system is inherently ill.

Israel has demonstrated that a parliamentary democracy with a plethora of narrow-interest parties in which politicians attain positions via intra-party machinations rather than direct accountability to the electorate, is not an efficient form of government, especially given the low electoral threshold.

A system that enables constant party jumping and the repeated collapse of governments also forces prime ministers to devote their energies to maintaining coalitions (and concede on proposals they later confess they did not really support) rather than put forth and implement long-term agendas.

FRED MICHAEL
Tel Aviv

Strange comparisons

Sir, – Hard to believe! US President Barack Obama suggests that what Islamic State is doing is similar to events that took place 1,000 years ago during the Crusades, and that we should not get on our “high horse” and think our ancestors were any better (“Obama: Extremism is not unique to Islam,” February 6).

Does not Obama realize that extreme Muslims, seemingly without any protest from non-extreme Muslims, are murdering, raping and selling into slavery thousands of Muslims, Christians and other ethnic peoples? Does he not know that this is 2015, when such behavior cannot and must not be tolerated? Obama sounds like a history professor who does not know his history. Perhaps Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (whose scheduled visit to Congress has somewhat understandably come under fire) will allow those who might listen to understand that Iran, most certainly the primary sponsor of extreme Muslim terrorism, must not be allowed to acquire, in any way, shape or form – nuclear weapons.

Can you imagine ISIS or Boko Haram with access to nuclear weapons? Perish the thought! Destroy the evil that is now among us or surely we will all perish long before our time!

ARNOLD EPSTEIN
Herzliya

Sir, – President Obama’s comparison of today’s Islamic extremists with the Crusaders and Inquisition is apt, but completely irrelevant.

Are we supposed to wait 500 years before we can describe the current reality for what it is? Are we supposed to feel sorry for these terrorists because their religion did not experience a Renaissance or Reformation? Half the governments of the Muslim world have declared war on what they themselves call Islamic fundamentalism. What is going on in Syria, Iraq, Sinai, Lebanon and parts of Europe? Would Obama prefer to describe it only as “non-ideological terrorism”? The US president’s reluctance to declare that Western civilization is at war with Islamic fundamentalism is very strange and continues to conjure up all sorts of questions regarding his education and fitness to be president.

ALLAN LEIBLER
Jerusalem

Phillips nails it

Sir, – I am always amazed at Melanie Phillips’s depth of knowledge and grasp of world events.

In “The Obama doctrine: ‘Israel’s enemy is my friend” (As I See It, February 6), she quotes numerous examples of Iran’s malice toward Israel and the West, and concludes that the Iranian regime constitutes the most deadly threat to the world. As a result, America has become the facilitator of Islamic terror.

The West is fearful of a military engagement and therefore prefers to appease Iran in a way that is nothing short of enabling it to get the bomb. As Phillips points out, this strategy only destabilizes the region even more. It is not only Israel’s security that is at stake, but the security and stability of the entire world.

Wake up, America, and return to your role as guarantor and protector of the free world.

MARILYN MANDELBAUM
Jerusalem

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