Show him the door
As a longtime member of the religious-Zionist movement, I am incensed by Interior Minister Arye Deri’s attempt to overturn the will of the people (“Deri: We’ll quit gov’t that recognizes Reform Jews,” March 15). Deri knew the details of the deal before it was voted on. Having lost, he now holds the coalition hostage, hoping to accomplish through blackmail what he could not achieve through the open voting process.
His dedication to Jewish ethics did not prevent him from taking huge bribes in his previous incarnation as interior minister. Now he has the temerity to seek to prevent the government from implementing the cabinet-approved Western Wall compromise supported by a large majority of Israelis.
He is guilty of two serious offenses: He refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the will of the Israeli populace as manifested by the decision of their elected representatives, and he denies the Jewishness of anyone who doesn’t hold the same religious views as the minority he represents.
Deri is free to believe whatever he likes. (Recalling his previous crime, it might be too much to hope that this would include adherence to principles of honesty and integrity.) However, he must not be allowed to delegitimize large groups of our Jewish brethren, many of whom, contrary to the practices of a substantial portion of Deri’s supporters, pay taxes and serve in the IDF.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should call his bluff by showing him the door. If he does leave, the prime minister is likely to pick up more support from people who are disgusted with the actions of Shas and United Torah Judaism. If, for transitory political gain, he caves in to Deri’s demands, we will have taken a tragic step toward becoming a theocracy ruled by Jewish mullahs.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov
Arye Deri should do us all a favor and quit already. He is just worried that his party and brand of religious commitment will get less money and less respect if others are allowed equal status.
Shas lost my respect years ago with its attempts to coerce the government into doing what it wants, regardless of the effect on the rest of us.
All over the world, the different sectors of Judaism coexist amicably.
Why can’t that happen here? ELAINE GOLDSTEIN Tzipori Did it even happen? Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog is crowing about Tzipi Livni’s “success” in getting Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström to admit that Israelis are entitled to defend themselves against terror attacks, and that BDS is bad (“Herzog credits Livni for fixing ties with Sweden,” March 15). A better headline would have been “Two hasbeens and an Isra-bluff.”
There are two reasons why Herzog’s claim is worthless. First, entrenched anti-Israel sentiment among the liberal elites in Swedish politics and media will not be solved by one left-wing politician making a reasonable statement.
Second, anyone who searches the Swedish media for “Livni” will find no mention of her visit, let alone any “achievement.”
I did searches in Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter, SVT Swedish television and smaller outlets, and came up with zero on this “breakthrough.” From a Swedish perspective, it just didn’t happen.
I also see that there are no direct quotes attributed to Wallström in Israeli reports.
Wallström is under investigation for receiving perks to which she was not entitled. Livni’s political capital is also pretty low these days, although for other reasons. Perhaps these two, together with Herzog, were hoping for some kind of boost from this “news.”
Livni should be disciplined for initiating contact with the Swedish foreign minister.
CHANAH SHAPIRA-STILLMAN Efrat The writer is a former editor of the blog “Sweden, Israel and the Jews.”Tragic state...
I totally agree with Caroline B.
Glick’s “The tragic state of American Jewry” (Our World, March 15), and am an excellent example within my own family.
I was born in 1940 to two parents who were born in the United States. Their generation was striving to become assimilated, and Judaism was not an important part of our lives.
My father did insist on me having some Jewish education, however, and I was sent to Hebrew school in the Conservative Movement until I was “confirmed” at the age of 16. Regretfully, there were not many Hebrew teachers in the 1950s, and what I learned was about Jewish holidays and how to read Hebrew letters.
I was lucky in having an Orthodox aunt in New York, with whom I often spent Shabbat.
Her children and mine are the only ones in my family remaining Jewish – my father was one of nine children, and my mother one of five.
BARBARA SHAMIR Jerusalem
...or is it?
Caroline B. Glick’s blistering analysis completely fails to deal with the strength of this community.
I know that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of contemporary American-Jewish families whose ancestors arrived a century ago, and they are much more committed and knowledgeable than the earlier generations. They are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, and Glick’s categories of “Torat Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael” (the Torah of Israel, the Land of Israel and the people of Israel) are the foundation stones of their Judaism.
I take my own family – patriarch Rav Tuvia and matriarch Sara Hene Geffen, Lithuanian Jews who arrived in New York in 1903, and their descendants.
Raising eight children in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning in 1910, they saw their children go to New Orleans; St. Louis; Minneapolis; Spartanburg, South Carolina; and New York to become Jewish role models in their communities, creating “Torat Yisrael” educational institutions in the Orthodox and Conservative sectors.
Amazingly, their 18 grandchildren have been more dramatic in what they’ve accomplished Jewishly throughout the US and Israel.
“Oh,” you might counter. But look who inspired them – a Slobodka rabbi and his Kovno bride.
I know personally of numerous families in the Reform movement in Florida and in the Conservative movement in Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia where the immigrants were not enlightened or Torah-educated Jews, while the fourth level of descendants are Torah scholars, rabbis, Jewish educators and committed Jews. This piece completely forgets about them and others like them.
Ms. Glick, please look at the Jewish bounties of American Jewry – I do not mean financial giants, but committed Jews who go to shul regularly in all 50 states. They are the ones building a solid foundation for the future.
They are committed to Israel.
They are providing the basis for women Judaic scholars, rabbis and teachers. Please, devote yourself to your own area of expertise.
DAVID GEFFEN Jerusalem
I was very pleased to read “MKs set 16 as minimum age to ride electric bicycles, scooters” (March 10). However, who is going to enforce the law? The last time a law was passed about e-bikes, it was not enforced.
Having had many near-misses and avoiding serious injury with a lot of luck, I am sure I speak for many hoping that something will be done to make the new law enforceable.
MEL COHEN Ra’anana CORRECTION Alexey Drobinin is the Russian Federation’s deputy ambassador to Israel, and not ambassador, as was erroneously stated in “Russian envoy reassures Israel over pullout from Syria” (March 16). The ambassador is Alexander Shein. We regret the error.