IDF chief rabbi
With all due respect to Chiefof- Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and the appointment of Col. Eyal Karim (“Karim to keep appointment as IDF chief rabbi despite firestorm over comments,” July 14), I think the optimal solution would be to appoint a rabbi from the Reform or Conservative movements.
DAVID ZOHAR Jerusalem
Well done, Rahaf!
Way to go, Rahaf Mufeed Abdullah (“The smartest Palestinian teenager in all the land,” July 14)! This is the most promising Israeli-Palestinian front-page story in years. Not only is her family very proud, I believe that in addition to this Israeli Jew, there is a vast number of Israelis who will stand tall in support of her hard work, accomplishment and direction.
When you read the story, you notice that Abdullah accomplished everything by using Palestinian educational facilities.
Considering all the negative stories we read about incitement there, it is a breath of fresh air to see what wonderful, positive things she did with her opportunities.
I tip my kippa to you, Rahaf, in congratulations and appreciation!
YONATON VORACEK Jerusalem Nimble Brits
Remarkable! What takes two months in America and up to four months in Israel was achieved in less than six hours in the UK when David Cameron left 10 Downing Street, gave a last speech to the nation as prime minister and then went to Buckingham Palace to hand in his resignation to the queen (“A jokey Cameron steps down as UK leader,” July 14).
One minute after Cameron left, his successor, Theresa May, arrived, received acceptance from Her Majesty, spoke to the nation and moved into her new home. Just two hours later, she announced which ministers would be in her newly formed cabinet, with no negative reaction from anyone.
For all the pageantry we associate with the British, they certainly know how to change their governments fast.
JOSEPH FREI Petah Tikva Foreign advances
I enjoyed Isi Leibler’s “No permanent allies of enemies: only permanent interests” (Candidly Speaking, July 13), which articulates precisely the foreign relations achievements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since his reelection.
In the Mediterranean area, Israel has really expanded and deepened its relationships with Greece, Cyprus and, more recently, Turkey.
In the Far East, we are witnessing a tremendous expansion in our economic, technological and strategic ties with China and India, which together represent a population and market of almost 2 billion people with a friendly bias toward Israel.
Our strategic relation with Egypt is constantly getting stronger; witness the recent visit by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri after more than a decade in which no senior Egyptian official came. On top of this, Netanyahu had a very successful trip in Africa, opening political, economic and diplomatic channels with the four countries he visited, and probably opening new avenues toward other African states.
Perhaps Netanyahu’s biggest diplomatic advance has been the improved relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two have solidified their common interests with a good personal relations and frequent contacts, fostered by certain sympathy of Putin toward the Jewish state with its more than 1 million Russian immigrants.
The prediction some 20 months ago by US Secretary of State John Kerry, that Israel faced worldwide isolation, has gone completely wrong, and even in the opposite direction. Conversely, the standing of the US in the Middle East has eroded.
All these political and international advances by Israel play against the Palestinians, who are viewed by more and more countries as a financial and political burden.
SHLOMO FELDMANN Givatayim Rush, rush, rush
With all due respect to Gil Troy’s analysis (“The shootings show the Obama-Trump-Clinton leadership vacuum,” Center Field, July 13), one cannot compare the public or political reactions to today’s events with those of the past. There is one huge factor that makes this so: the Internet.
The speed with which reams of information are transmitted simultaneously with events, and the ease with which everyone can react via social media were nonexistent a decade or so ago.
One can watch a documentary of, say, the Kennedy assassination and be reminded that news back then traveled in a far slower dimension.
Today, every event becomes a hotbed of discussion and opinion.
Back then, there was time to absorb and differentiate what was worthy of our involvement and what was to become newsworthy.
SUSAN WEINSTEIN Netanya Fethullah Gülen
With regard to “Fethullah Gülen and the Jews: A different angle” (Online, July 10), I have worked with at least half a dozen groups inspired by the ideals of Gülen in the US, Europe and Southeast Asia.
I have visited their schools and seen their programs, and have taught alongside Gülen-inspired teachers and professors. My experience for over 15 years has only been positive. People change, learn and grow, including Mr. Gülen – but even so, no leader can control the mindset and actions of all the people who are inspired by them.
I am surprised at the conspiratorial tone of the article, especially given the fact that Robert Amsterdam’s case was recently dismissed by a US judge for offering “only circumstantial and tenuous allegations,” and that Gülen went headto- head with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Mavi Marmara incident, a stance strongly condemned by Erdogan and his cronies for being an utterly pro-Israel position.
Unfortunately, Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman falls into the trap of generalization and conspiratorial mindset.
We Jews have heard this before. Of all people, we (and Ms. Jaffe-Hoffman) should know better.
REUVEN FIRESTONE Los AngelesThe writer is Regenstein Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College, and a senior fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture of the University of Southern California.
In a world ravaged by murder and hate, and a Middle East reeling from zero-sum games, Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman singles out for disparagement the one spiritual leader and movement – Fethullah Gülen and Hizmet – that profess deeply-held humanitarian values.
To imply that Gülen and his followers are anti-Semites whose prejudice is cloaked in the Turkish language and therefore hidden from scrutiny, is to insult and endanger the very people who have risked their careers, freedom and even lives in order to build bridges of understanding and friendship with Jews.
As an American Jewish communal professional, my heart breaks when my friends in Hizmet – whom I have come to know well during a decade of engagement – come under such wanton and unwarranted assault. In Turkey, they are subjected to every manner of persecution precisely because they reject the xenophobic, triumphalist and anti-democratic worldview and aspirations of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s would-be modern Sultan.
Erdogan is infatuated with the Muslim Brotherhood and has declared Gülen and his followers Public Enemy No. 1 because their brand of Muslim values, including universal love and tolerance, are completely at odds with his own.
In short, Gülen’s preaching of love threatens Erdogan’s regime of fear.
In Chicago, we have had our agreements and also our disagreements with Gülen’s followers. I know them as people of honest faith who embody, more than any group I know, the adage: “Be the change you want to see.”
By impugning Gülen, Jaffe-Hoffman puts that change farther out of reach than it already seems to be.
AARON B. COHEN Chicago
The writer is vice president for marketing and communications at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.