We would like to commend The Jerusalem Post for its July 15 editorial “War and faith.”
Col. Eyal Karim, the newly appointed IDF chief rabbi, should publicly retract his comments and confirm that they in no way reflect the views of the IDF as a whole, and the IDF rabbinate in particular.
The difference between private opinions and pronouncements from a position of authority cannot be expressed with greater clarity.
Your editorial should be given the widest possible publicity.
SARAH and DAVID MEYER Haifa
To be sure, your recommendation that the IDF chief rabbi focus his attention on the “protection of the religious rights of soldiers” is totally on target.
Unfortunately, though, saying that the “blind, irrational conviction common to people of faith tends to make them exceptionally immune to appeals to reason” is incredibly ill-conceived and irresponsible.
It blatantly disrespects the religious citizens of Israel, who, as we all know, have a broad spectrum of observance and belief.
Your readership expects a more constructive attitude when dealing with perhaps the most challenging problem facing this young Jewish state.
RON SPIRO Jerusalem
“Reason” refers to the validity of an argument that is ultimately based on a first premise, and leads by logical processes to a valid conclusion.
The first premise is assumed; it is not provable or disprovable.
Reason does not refer to the first premise on which the argument is based – it refers to the logical process of reaching the conclusion.
I would say that you and “people of faith” differ as to their first premises. In my case, I accept the Torah as God-given as a first premise; it appears that arguments of morality in your case stem from different first premises.
To argue that someone who accepts the Torah as God-given is “exceptionally immune to appeals of reason” is not a valid charge. It is in fact arrogant in that it assumes that your first premise is somehow better.
It is important in a democracy to respect that different people can have different sources of morality without denigrating their rationality.
AVRAHAM LEVENGLICK Rehovot
I read and then reread “War and faith” and your defense (because it is a defense) of Col. Eyal Karim and his statement that it is permissible for Jewish soldiers to rape non-Jewish women. You advise your readers that Maimonides himself, who lived nearly 900 years ago, considered it both religiously and militarily acceptable.
If it was acceptable 900 years ago, then heaven help us if some demented rabbi can now quote this again.
As to gays, you say the rabbi was “only expressing his belief held by many Orthodox rabbis that conversion therapy actually works.”
We live in a progressive age; we are not stuck in the age of Maimonides, who lived at a time when Jews could neither defend themselves nor express their views, and lived in the shadow of constant fear.
Surely, we want an IDF that does not express such abhorrent views.
Is not Israel meant to be a light unto the nations? What are we becoming? BRIAN MORRIS Tel Aviv Israel is attacked because IDF soldiers do not rape Arab women (see Hebrew University student Tal Nitzan’s PhD thesis, which claims that Israelis are racists since their soldiers do not rape Arabs). Now, the new IDF chief chaplain is accused of racism since he “permits” rape.
That Col. Eyal Karim and the Bible (Deuteronomy 21: 10) were misquoted is irrelevant since there is no limit to an Israel-hater’s hypocrisy.
CHARLES OREN Herzliya
In “Political interference in JerUSAlem” (Frontlines, July 15), Gil Hoffman seems to assert that Israeli Jews with dual American-Israeli citizenship are “interfering” in US politics by voting in American elections, much like the US State Department has interfered in Israeli politics by underwriting a campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Readers can decide for themselves whether Netanyahu knew of iVoteIsrael and whether Obama was aware of V15. But no one can deny that Americans have interfered in Israeli elections and Israelis in American races,” writes Hoffman.
I can deny it. When I voted by absentee ballot in the last American election, I was exercising my civil liberties as an American citizen.
That is not at all comparable to a foreign government wielding money and influence to unseat the democratically elected prime minister of a democratic country.
Dual citizens also pay taxes to the US government. Taxation without representation is the reason America waged war against and declared its independence from Britain. Comparing the egregious actions of the State Department to those of dual American-Israeli citizens exercising their civil rights just doesn’t wash.
VARDA EPSTEIN Efrat
Referring to “El Al ranked as world’s least on-time airline, pilots blamed” (July 15), this is no surprise. For a long time, I have known that El Al stands for “Every landing always late.”
AVIS MIRBACH Karmiel
Most basic question
Gershon Baskin (“The Republic of Israel-Palestine,” Encountering Peace, July 14) says that Israelis and Palestinians “must learn to recognize and respect each other’s national identities.”
Recall his oft-repeated observation that the Palestinians are willing to build their independent state on “a mere 22 percent of the land between the river and the sea,” falsely implying a magnanimous gesture to accept less than the land to which they are entitled. But Baskin ignores the most basic question: What characteristics of a unique “nation” (e.g., language,religion) distinguish the Palestinians from other Arabs, thus justifying a state of their own? Since Jordan is already overwhelmingly Palestinian, why do those who happen to live west of the Jordan River deserve a second state? Why have the Palestinians failed to develop the institutions necessary for their state despite billions of dollars in international aid? How did the 1949 armistice lines suddenly become sacrosanct borders? Why should people who have, from Israel’s inception, denied its right to exist and supported numerous violent attacks against it and its citizens now be allowed to dictate the terms for resolving the dispute? Baskin’s writings, predicated on the assumption that the Palestinian people deserve a country, are simply an apologia for people who have yet to demonstrate the inclination and ability to live peacefully with their Jewish neighbors.
EFRAIM A. COHEN Zichron Ya’acov More on conversos Further to “Reaching out to descendants of conversos” (July 11), I would like to point out two important developments.
The Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies (ISAS) at Netanya Academic College is organizing a historic conference titled “Reconnecting 2016: Latino-Jewish shared roots and heritage,” to be held at Sunny Isles, Florida, September 7-9. This is indeed intended to help reconnect the two cultures, Sephardi/ Anusim and Hispanic, as discussed in the article.
Anyone interested in further information can go to https:// www.xreg.co.il/sfarad/.
The conference is intended to initiate the Sefarad Museum that is going to be erected at the college.
This will be consistent with the recommendation of the Biton Committee to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, as mentioned in the article, that Sephardi Jewish cultural studies need to be integrated into the general education curriculum.
NEIL DAVIS Herzliya The writer is chairman of the board of ISAS.
CORRECTION Manuel Valls is prime minister of France, and not as stated in “Jewish leader: Islamist terror is like Nazism” (July 17).