Did Alan Elsner, special adviser to the president of J Street, really call the two-state solution “the only actual functioning, viable solution that anyone has put forward” (“Can the twostate solution survive in the age of Trump?” January 26)? In what sense is it an actual functioning solution when it is not actually functioning? MARK L. LEVINSON Herzliya
Your January 26 editorial “Wrong Rabbinate” continues the unfortunate tradition of your paper to confound Halacha (Jewish law) and its institutions with the sins of individuals.
You assert that the pending jailing of former chief rabbi Yonah Metzger “is a glaring indication of how [the Chief Rabbinate] is not needed anymore.”
However, you do not similarly assert that the jailing of a former president, prime minister and finance minister are glaring indications of why those avocations are no longer needed.
The editorial goes on to assert that “for more than 2,000 years… the sages recognized that there are many faces of Judaism” as justification for requiring state institutions to recognize the Reform and Conservative movements. Here again, you do not assert that Israel’s judicial system should recognize Shari’a law or even Halacha as alternative legal systems in the land.
You mislabel Orthodoxy as one of many alternatives. In reality, there is Torah law and there are non-Torah alternatives (e.g., Reform). Torah law cannot accept Reform views, which are inherently not based on the divinity of the Torah, any more than Israel’s judicial system can accept alternative legal codes by which to rule on civil matters.
Finally – and most gravely – your editorial continues to drive a wedge between Jews by implying that Orthodox Jews do not consider our Reform brethren to be Jews. This is an oft-repeated falsehood. Orthodox Jews do not consider Reform Judaism to be a legitimate expression of God’s Torah, but they believe that all Jews born to a Jewish mother or who have been halachically converted, regardless of their practices, remain part and parcel of our people and our shared destiny.
You should use your important and influential pulpit with greater discretion and accuracy so as to strengthen our presence in the Holy Land, not weaken it.
STEVE M. SOLOMON EfratSmall country
With regard to “A Jewish town or an Arab town?” (Comment & Features, January 26) by Ari Briggs, an adviser to Regavim, removing long-term Beduin residents who have no legal right to the Negev land in question is justified. What isn’t justifiable is removing them for the purpose of creating a new community, with all the environmental damage and expensive construction of roads, pipelines, etc.
Israel isn’t big enough to waste the precious resource of space by paving over swathes of land in order to keep building new towns instead of expanding existing ones.
NAOMI SANDLER Jerusalem Ugly norm
Your January 25 front-page headline “Amid leaks, release of comptroller report on Gaza war delayed again” is in keeping with the modern trend to disclose investigations before there are any final conclusions. This disgusting norm is immoral and unjust, and the damage caused cannot be remedied.
All investigations should be kept totally secret until there are findings. If this ugly norm continues, we will all sink! HERTZEL KATZ Herzliya Whether or not the security cabinet was briefed about the terror tunnels penetrating into Israel surely pales beside the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was actually aware of them for at least two years, and to all intents and purposes chose to ignore the danger. This is compounded by the fact that he made a conscious and, to me, irrational decision not to destroy Hamas in the summer of 2014.
Our soldiers were sent to war in Operation Protective Edge – the name is an insult – and for over 50 days, they fought and died fighting against a Hamas that could and should have been destroyed, if not before that war, then certainly during it.
When one is actually aware of the intent of the enemy, it is cruel and insane to wait until that enemy grows strong and attacks at a time of its choosing, causing unnecessary death and destruction. I call this “depraved indifference,” and there should be no place in our country for such (lack of) leadership.
EDITH OGNALL NetanyaOut with the old...
I do not understand how any Jew – or decent human being – cannot see the wickedness of former US president Barack Obama’s action (“In one of last acts, Obama sent $221m. to Palestinian Authority,” January 25).
If not frozen, many of those millions will go to support Palestinian “martyrs” and their families. Why Obama felt he must continue to supply funds for the Palestinian murderers of Jewish men, women and children is something I want explained to me by all those who believe he was a good friend of Jews, Israel and humanity.
JOSHUA J. ADLER Jerusalem
Barack Obama and John Kerry have sought to steal from the citizens of the United States the sum of $221 million and illegally transfer it to the Palestinian Authority.
The Department of Justice should indict Messrs. Obama and Kerry for their criminal activity, and if the money is transferred, the citizens of the US should file a civil suit for the $221m. so ignominiously stolen from them.
DAVID HEIMOWITZ Kfar Saba
...and in with the new
I have great respect for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Without a doubt, he has one of the toughest jobs on the planet.
I admire his past bravery, and as a Jew in the Diaspora and child of Holocaust survivors, I am forever grateful for all Jews who live in Israel and fight for our right to live in security in our Jewish homeland.
However, I respectfully urge the prime minister to act now.
For eight years, he was rightfully wary of any repercussions from unilateral moves to annex Judea and Samaria or any parts therein. Obviously, because of the disdainful Obama administration, he might have been correct in his predisposition to walk very carefully.
But Obama is now gone. In his place we have a friend – a friend to the Jews and a friend to Israel. So if ever the time was right to formally annex Judea and Samaria, it is now.
Although US President Donald Trump is our friend, he certainly is not going to initiate any action to do this. It’s up to Prime Minister Netanyahu. I think he will gain the respect of President Trump and others if he forges ahead.
Legally, the Jews hold the most solid land deed in history, beginning with the Mandate for Palestine and ending with the rules of conquered lands in a defensive war. And if you believe in the Bible, we have thousands of years of history to back up our claim.
I’m not for one second saying that this is going to be easy or that we won’t face violence from our enemies But if he doesn’t go through with this, the prime minister will be missing a golden opportunity, a chance of a lifetime to do the right thing and make Israel great again (sorry for stealing Trump’s line). He will simply be kicking this can down the road for the next generation to deal with.
LEON KUSHNER Toronto