With regard to “The real and surreal Jerusalem” (My Word, June 3), this year’s Festival of Light in Jerusalem provided entertainment for tens of thousands – Israelis and tourists, Jews, Muslims and Christians, all intermingling in a wonderful atmosphere.
However, one track, going from Tzahal Square past the Damascus Gate, barely saw a soul, as superbly illustrated by the photo accompanying the piece.
In past years, the whole of the Damascus Gate area was packed with people and vendors; this year, no vendors and no sightseers.
More needs to be done to restore the feeling of Jerusalem as an undivided city in which all the population can enjoy its beauty.
FRANK BERGER Ma’aleh Adumim
Having read Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and then reader Gershon Harris’s letter to The Jerusalem Post (“Endless nonsense,” June 3), in which he quotes MK Moshe Gafni’s pejorative and venomous remark “We don’t want them next to us,” proves that baseless hatred, one of the original causes for the Temple’s destruction, is still viral.
The haredim of Never Never Land do not have a monopoly over the Temple Mount plaza!
LEONARD BOOK Ashkelon The writer is a rabbi.
In reference to “Two babies contract herpes from brit mila” (June 3), the practice of metzitza ba’peh – the oral contact between the mohel’s mouth and the circumcision wound – does not “suction blood off the penis,” as your article states. It is done to draw more blood out of the wound.
In the Gemara (Mesechet Shabbat, page 133B), Rav Papa explicitly states that metzitza must be done – it’s a matter of life and death, and not doing it would leave the child in a life-threatening situation. Hazal were influenced by Greek medicine, which believed that if blood were to coagulate and remain stagnant, it would cause what we call an infection.
The most important thing to note here is that there is no explicit reference in the Gemara to doing metzitza orally (as your article states). It just says to draw forth the blood. The practice later developed to do it by mouth.
There is a great deal of push against this, and the controversy has been raging for a few centuries, not just the past few years.
The most common solution is to use a sterile pipette, thus avoiding direct contact. No one in the halachic conversation is proposing eliminating metzitza altogether; the debate centers around how to do it.
Some form of metzitza is done in all religious circles, not just the ultra-Orthodox, and I must say it is good to hear the Chief Rabbinate state that if mohelim are asked to use a pipette, they must comply. The sad part is, I’m pretty sure that on the ground, there is probably more convincing from the mohel to do it orally (as I’ve seen myself) or, even worse, the parents have no clue what we’re even talking about.
Parents must know about this issue and demand that their mohelim use a sterile tube.
HAYIM LEITER Jerusalem The writer is a mohel, or ritual circumciser.
Brexit or not
With regard to “Rebuff European Union threats” by David M. Weinberg (Know Comment, June 3), while England barely keeps its head above water in the EU, June 23 is its last chance to claw back its freedom, sovereignty and right to govern, free from such a despicable institution.
I would give much to be wrong, but the UK will likely vote to remain in the EU, based on largely theoretical falsehoods and threats fed to a gullible public that seems to think that things will improve by remaining.
My “out” vote is hardly going to be a decider, but if I am proved right, the tragedy is that the UK will continue in an organization that is anti-Israel and contributes to subversive Israeli NGOs while succumbing to radical Islam in all its forms.
I. KEMP Nahariya
Regarding “Knife was moved closer to terrorist after he was shot, says investigator for IDF” (June 2), it is more logical that the driver who videoed the scene moved the knife simply to show it within his frame to indicate the terrorist’s weapon, rather than to reduce the prosecution’s conclusion that the knife, being farther out of reach of Abdel Fatah al-Sharif, should have convinced Sgt. Elor Azaria that he was no longer a threat.
I believe a terrorist should face the death penalty even if he or she only wounds the victim.
That would be true deterrence.
BARRY WEISS Jerusalem
The final paragraph of “Zigzagging on the Arab peace initiative” (Analysis, June 1) is particularly significant and considerably overdue: “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s challenge in his new embrace of the Arab plan will not be to convince [Defense Minister Avigdor] Liberman.
His challenge will be to convince the Arab League that changes need to be instituted in the plan, and so far they have not given any public indication of a willingness to do so.”
We need to recall that UN Resolution 242 specifically calls for Israel and its Arab neighbors “to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement,” with absolutely no mention of the PLO. We need also to recall that it was the Arab League that helped create the PLO, the forerunner of today’s Palestinian Authority.
Martin Sherman, in “The political algorithms of the Arab-Israeli conflict” (Into the Fray, May 6), points to Israel’s need to be “viable both geographically and demographically.” For this, it cannot withdraw to indefensible borders. Indeed, following the Six Day War, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff laid out geographic parameters for secure borders that were coincidental with present- day Israeli thoughts.
Saudi Arabia could conceivably make available land for the creation of a Palestinian province.
Money handed over to the PA for weaponry could more realistically be redirected for resettling the Palestinians.
Moshe Arens, writing in Haaretz in January 2014, points to the so-called two-state solution not being that all. If implemented as such, it would mean three Palestinian states – East Palestine (Jordan), West Palestine (Judea and Samaria), and South Palestine (the Gaza Strip). Having Arab neighbor states whose children have been raised on absolute hatred of Jews can never assure peace.
ALEX ROSE Ashkelon
In “King Agrippa I: The last Maccabee” (Comment & Features, May 30), Eli Kavon echoes the oft-repeated assertion that Agrippa I was a descendant of Herod the Great and his Jewish wife, Mariamme (Miriam), making him a scion of the Hasmonean dynasty.
While this view of events is recorded by Josephus, the Talmud states that Herod’s Jewish wife committed suicide, and that all of his descendants were through his non-Jewish wives, who had slave status, making anyone who claimed to be descendant from the Hasmoneans a slave.
Moreover, Kavon cited the historian Martin Goodman, who identified the Agrippa mentioned in different Mishnaic sources as Agrippa I. The traditional view identifies the figure in those sources Agrippa II.
REUVEN CHAIM KLEIN Beitar Illit
CLARIFICATION The graduation ceremony reported in “Bar-Ilan’s Safed medical school graduates its first class, with 48 new physicians” (June 2) took place at Beit Yigal Allon, a cultural center in Safed, and not as stated.