What’s their motive?
Our government has just announced an open policy of collective punishment against communities from which terrorists come (“Liberman unveils ‘carrot and stick’ policy for Palestinians,” August 18). But throughout human history, such action has never been an effective deterrent.
The opposite is true. Collective punishment always increases hatred and resistance.
Since our ministers know this fact very well, one can only ask what their real motive is.AMIEL SCHOTZ
Meitar Who supports whom?
In “Jerusalem rabbinical court seeks to end alimony ‘inflation’ in ketuba” (August 18), you report that it is seeking to protect an unfortunate groom who, “due to his love and appreciation” for his bride, exaggerated the sum he promised to pay her in the case of divorce.
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At the same time, the court ignores totally the standard promise in the text of the ketuba – “Be my wife according to the practice of Moses and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully” – when signed by countless yeshiva students who usually transfer responsibility for support and maintenance to their wives.
In “Two kinds of peace” (Editorial, August 18), the writer points out that Israelis and Palestinians (actually they are “Arabs”) need to “accept the notion that their societies are inexorably tied to one another” before peace will be possible. Wrong. Peace will be possible only when we emerge the winner, and our enemy is defeated.
Weak and timid leadership has allowed our enemies to build up their strength and capabilities beyond anything we could have imagined. We are hugely threatened on all sides. Why must we reconcile ourselves to the fact that we share this area? The Arabs have never been willing to do so, even with all the major and dangerous concessions we have given them to make their lives easier.
In effect, what I am reading in this editorial is that although Ariel Sharon expelled around 10,000 hard-working and loyal Jewish citizens from Gaza and handed it over to our enemies; Ehud Olmert offered them 98 percent of the West Bank; and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze settlement construction (which to this day he has not rescinded) – none of which has been acceptable to the Arabs – the writer still won’t accept that the end game for the Arabs is our extinction.PHYLLIS STERN
Reader Sharon Lindenbaum’s informative and inspiring letter about Tisha Be’av’s continued observance (“Ultimate dispute,” August 18) is somewhat misleading in the reference to Maimonides and having no animal sacrifices in a rebuilt temple.
Maimonides wrote that thought in his philosophical Guide for the Perplexed. In his magnum opus Mishneh Torah, he devoted two of the 14 volumes to a detailed description of the sacrifice ritual pertaining to the Temple; each day, praying Jews recite a prayer calling for the rebuilding of the Temple and the return to sacrifices taking place there.
Let’s leave it to the students of philosophy to explain Maimonides’s philosophical writings. The views of normative Halacha are to be found in his Mishneh Torah, for which believing Jews are not required to apologize.MORDECHAI SPIEGELMAN
With his Candidly Speaking columns, Isi Leibler continues to be a voice that must be heard.
His insights are unique and enable us to act for the good of the Jewish people.
Reading “Has the ADL lost the plot?” (August 17), I was very surprised to learn that the Anti-Defamation League, which was so effective and respected under the leadership of Abe Foxman, is no longer that way.
Under the leadership of Jonathan Greenblatt, it is spiraling out of control.
Mr. Greenblatt’s agenda is little concerned with anti-Semitism. It seems to be concerned with the Black Lives Matter movement and other very radical ideas. He doesn’t seem to realize that the Black Lives Matter movement is “concerned” about Israel, with a group having come to identify with the Palestinians and their lies.
The Black Lives Matter movement says all people are important; it serves to make police in the US think twice before shooting at random. But it also is a civil disobedience movement that can turn violent, and when there are so many incidents on college campuses that make Jewish students fear for their lives, Mr. Greenblatt and the ADL should be protecting them. Otherwise, the organization will have no purpose.BATYA KOENIGSBERG
Your editorial “Judicial activism – The lesser evil?” (August 16) is quite extraordinary in its backing of a concept that Aharon Barak, a former president of the Supreme Court, was so instrumental in promoting, and which former justice minister Daniel Friedmann rightly opposes, simply because the task of judges is not to legislate, but to interpret the law, thereby ensuring its observance.
You point to the dysfunctional Israeli electoral system as justification for judicial activism. But this belittles democracy. Just because a government is going to require a coalition with a number of political parties – some, but not all, with narrow or specific interests – does not mean this is any less democratic than the product of a system in which two parties are predominant.
To justify judicial activism by reference to issues relating to Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews is too simplistic; the same could be said of any minority sector’s interests in the US.
You also overlook the fact that judicial activism does not just apply to systems that are over-democratic, such as Israel’s proportional system; it also applies to systems such as that of the European Union, which is under-democratic, where the European Court of Justice has usurped for itself the role of ensuring greater unity by participating states – a prime reason that UK citizens voted for Brexit in June.
Finally, on what basis so you say that settler groups have excessive influence on Israeli politics when there is no specific Israeli party dedicated exclusively to their interests? Even if there were such a party, the point could be easily resolved by holding a referendum on that specific subject – a far better solution than relying on the partisanship of individual judges.PETER SCHWEITZER
“Judicial activism – The lesser evil?” puts your paper on the side of outcomes rather than processes. You have advocated for a profoundly anti-democratic Israeli government in which the Supreme Court arrogates to itself powers that, as former justice minister Daniel Friedmann (referred to in the editorial) rightly notes, are the province of the legislature.
You have endorsed the activism of the Supreme Court because it is preventing the implementation of policies by a duly elected legislature that you happen not to like. What happens when judicial activism is used to block policies you favor? You can’t have it both ways.
Bottom line, Israel’s top court far exceeds the bounds of restraint that most high courts in democratic countries throughout the world respect.
In doing so, it has acted as an elite, oligarchic institution that shows a not-so-concealed contempt for the great unwashed who actually vote and choose their representatives.
It would be better if The Jerusalem Post
aligned itself with the forces of democratic process rather than opportunistic outcomes.DOUGLAS ALTABEF
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