Sir, - I had to laugh at the word "reluctantly" in your lead headline "Sharon reluctantly welcomes Mofaz to his Kadima party" (December 12). Shaul Mofaz was a puppet in a pre-planned charade directed by Ariel Sharon. The plot: Stay in Likud as long as you can weaken Netanyahu and, when the polls show that your usefulness is over, leave. The "reluctance" was all part of the act.
Netanyahu and the Likud are playing their cards right: Let Kadima buy as many shamelessly corrupt politicians as it can until the public understands how sick it is.
Sir, - Our present political situation calls for a new Hebrew verb: LeMaFeZ. Meaning: To state definitely, categorically and without the possibility of misunderstanding that one is not going to do something - and then immediately doing it.
Sir, - While for individuals the "Pressure is on in overdraft grace period" (December 9), it seems the Bank of Israel is silent on what has to be done to bring the worst overdraft culprits in line: The government and the local authorities.
The government and local authorities should be required to use the six-month grace period to pay off their outstanding debts to salary earners, contractors, suppliers and others. The money owed is completely "unauthorized" credit, without overdraft penalty, which has been outstanding for too long.
It is unacceptable for the government to enforce a program of credit cuts when it is not obliged to put its financial affairs in order.
Sir, - In "Stop attacking our friends" (November 30), Isi Leibler mischaracterized Abraham Foxman's and ADL's positions in several areas.
For years ADL has welcomed evangelical support for Israel and publicly rebutted those who criticized us for it.
Leibler said that all or even most Christians should not be tarred with the "Christianization of America" charge. We agree. The term "institutionalized Christianity" was never said by Mr. Foxman. It was erroneously attributed to him in a Ha'aretz report on Mr. Foxman's New York speech.
In raising concerns about efforts by some to impose their religious beliefs on American society, Mr. Foxman referred specifically to a number of groups and individuals who have crossed the line from promoting their religious values to seeking to impose them.
If American society were to change significantly because some Christians were allowed to impose their beliefs, American Jewish life would change dramatically.
Such a turn of events, by reducing and weakening the role of Jews in America, would also have a highly negative impact on Israel.
Associate National Director
Persona non grata
Sir, - Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah has never shown anything but contempt and animosity towards the State of Israel ("Latin Patriarch Sabbah charges: Security fence has no purpose," December 12). He has served less as an official of the Roman Catholic Church than he has as de facto Catholic advocate for Yasser Arafat, the PLO and the PA. He has worked tirelessly, vigorously and consistently to undermine Israeli national policy.
He has not served the interests of the Holy See which has, on numerous occasions, expressed its profound desire to promote reconciliation between Israel and the Vatican. Our government should have him declared a persona non grata whereupon he would be required to leave Israel. Perhaps the pope could then have him posted to, say, Saudi Arabia, Syria or even Iran.
Sir, - I commend those whose efforts led the Castro fashion chain to discontinue selling fur products ("Are fur boycotts worth the effort?" December 9).
Judaism has very strong teachings about the proper treatment of animals. The psalmist indicates God's concern for animals, stating that "His compassion is over all of His creatures" (Psalm 145:9). Perhaps the Jewish attitude toward animals is best expressed by Proverbs 12:10: "The righteous person considers the soul (life) of his animal."
In sharp contrast, animals caught in steel-jaw leg hold traps suffer slow, agonizing deaths. Treatment of animals raised on "fur ranches" is also extremely cruel as millions of animals are confined with little room to move and all their natural instincts thwarted.
Based on the prohibition of tza'ar ba'alei haim (animal suffering), Rabbi Haim Dovid Halevy issued a halachic ruling in March 1992 indicating that Jews should not wear fur.
RICHARD H. SCHWARTZ
Staten Island, NY
Sir, - Asher Meir is right on target that animals are worthy of our moral consideration, and that kindness to animals has a "trickle-up" effect making us more compassionate to all.
When Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was asked how he could be a doting father and yet dictate the slaughter of other children his answer was: "They were only Jews." So when I hear Jews saying that it is okay to subsidize the mistreatment of innocent creatures with "They are only animals," I shudder. If we can dismiss the suffering of others, whether they have two legs or four, we never will find peace in this world.
Sir, - Fur is not a necessity. We now have much lighter, warmer and more economical materials available which do not rely on the slow, painful killing of sentient creatures.
Despite the cruelties I have witnessed by man, I would like to think that he is evolving to become a more compassionate being. As people become aware of the cruelties involved in production of the things they use, they are more and more seeking compassionate replacements. I think this is essential to our maturation as a species.
Sir, - Asher Meir concludes that he doesn't "see any justification for a total boycott of fur products." Respectfully, it seems that he has not fully read about the absolute horrors of the fur industry. God-fearing, compassionate Jews should not participate in the wearing of fur for vanity. Its production involves intense animal cruelty.
Some Jews, when they see a friend wearing a new garment say, "May you wear it out and acquire a new one." Some authorities write that this does not apply to garments made of leather or fur because they entail the killing of animals (Rabbi Moshe Isserlis on Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 223:6).
It is our job as the Jewish people to show the rest of the world that animals are not ours to exploit.
Sir, - Over the last few years, debate in Israel has been all about various colored lines. What should remain within the Green Line and what red lines the government should not cross, if indeed there are any left!
With Kadima expected to further embolden Israel's enemies through more unconditional retreats in the East - to add to Barak's retreat in the North and Sharon's retreat in the South - we must now start seriously thinking about a new colored line: The Blue line of the Mediterranean coast.
Perhaps Kadima is the best party to lead us into the sea. Its people are already expert in jumping ship.
Close the crossings
Sir, - The murder on Sgt. Nir Kahane is proof that border crossings where Palestinians enter Israel should be closed ("Soldier killed at capital checkpoint," December 9). One Israeli dead is too high a price to pay for supporting Palestinian workers.
Sir, - Kudos to The Jerusalem Post for exposing Israel's humiliating surrender to Muslim pressure by accepting second-place status from the International Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies ("Hiding behind a crystal," December 11). The Muslims said no to Magen David Adom for over 50 years and continued to say no in spite of MDA concessions. The South Africans said no and the diamond was changed to a crystal. Only Israel accepted being singled out for discrimination - and with gratitude.
Perhaps we can learn from the Nobel Prize ceremonies at which Prof. Robert Aumann made no concessions in kashrut or Shabbat or kippa. He stood proudly as a Jew and as a representative of his country.
Con Artists Productions
Sir, - I believe Jewish organizations should boycott ABC TV and its advertisers until they withdraw plans for a Holocaust miniseries developed by Mel Gibson's Con Artists Productions company ("A 'Passion' for the Holocaust?" December 8). Gibson is the son of a Holocaust denier and director of the anti-Semitic film The Passion of Christ.
I can see it now. Hitler will be shown feeding the people at Auschwitz. Dr. Josef Mengele will be doing life-saving heart surgery. Kristnallacht will be urban redevelopment.
Too many people already do not know much about the Holocaust so this production has the potential to profoundly effect public opinion.
There are plenty of other good candidates to produce such a project.
Sir, - Your picture of Yehuda Levy and Yael Bar-Zohar on the back page ("Celebrity Grapevine," December 12) was crude and offensive. Please respect your readers and refrain from pictures like this in the future.
Ramat Beit Shemesh
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