Sir, – Occasionally, The Jerusalem Post publishes an editorial
that is so opposed to the enlightened ethos of the paper that one can only
assume that some mischievous imp inhabits the editorial offices, determined to
provoke contented readers out of their pre-festival stupor. Such was “Defending
‘humrot’” (April 6), which purported to support the imposition of religious
restrictions in public life.
Of course, it is arrant nonsense to suggest
that the Jewish nature of anything can be strengthened by coercion. Only free
choice buttressed by a value-laden education can do that. Laws obliging non-Jews
and non-observant Jews to witness long shelves in shops covered by ugly black
plastic sheeting and cello-tape, preventing their exercise of free choice and
liberty to purchase (and therefore to consume) whatever foodstuff they wish
whenever they wish, are nothing but a pathetic submission to religious
fanaticism, whose evil results we see every day in the fields of personal law,
female rights, transport and many other areas.
This weakens, not
strengthens, the true Jewish character of the state, which ought to be based on
wisdom, tolerance and example, not crude coercion.
Shame on the
Rosh Pina A Wall for all
Sir, – In Joseph Feld’s
letter “Women and walls” (April 6) he writes, “We don’t try to build mehitzot in
Reform temples, so why do they want to tear down the mehitza at our holiest
site?” He was referring to the Kotel, the Western Wall.
Just as nobody
would want to tear down the mehitza in an Orthodox synagogue, the Kotel is not
an Orthodox synagogue. It is a holy site to all Jews – Orthodox, Conservative,
Reform and unaffiliated.
As a Masorti (Conservative) Jew I am always
offended at seeing the separation at the Kotel. Tear down the barrier and keep
your traditions in your own houses of worship.STEVE TOLTZ
Sir, – Regarding “Passover prayer” ( Dry Bones, April 6), I
can forecast precisely when Jonathan Pollard will be released: a week or so
before the US elections.ELIEZER WHARTMAN
Sir, – Amichai Lau-Lavie (“The ‘drag rabbi’ who dared take on Apple,” April 6)
is the nephew of former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, not his grandson. He is
the son of veteran diplomat Naftali Lau-Lavie and the brother of well-known
modern-Orthodox Rabbi Benny Lau.MOSHE PECK
Jerusalem All in time
Jonathan Rosen (“Of bondage and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Inside Out,
April 5) underscores Arab nationalism and the Islamic religion as twin obstacles
“barring the way” to Palestinian Arab and Islamist “acceptance of the legitimacy
of Israel as a Jewish state.” In this he is correct.
Rosen is also
correct in demanding that in keeping with Zionist ideology, which “espouses
sovereign Jewish self-reliance and self-determination,” Israel should “decide
for itself what kind of country it wants to be....”
But in his hunger for
immediate solutions, he falls into the usual “messianic” trap of urging upon
Israel irresponsible strategic moves that would further imperil its security
without gaining anything beyond what it has now.
Regarding the “state of
limbo” in the West Bank that so concerns him, Israel has two choices: 1.
Increase incrementally Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria in the
expectation that in the short-run as well as the long-run Israeli sovereignty
will and must extend from the Mediterranean to the Jordan ,notwithstanding a
large Arab minority population 2. Initiate nothing at the present time when the
whole Middle East flounders in a fog of uncertainty, but keep growing and
developing a strong, healthy, advanced Israeli society while leaving the West
Bank in continuing legal (though not socio-economic) limbo.
As far as the
future democratic nature of Israel is concerned, there are a number of models
throughout the enlightened world that can be copied or not copied by a sovereign
Israeli people – when that future is upon us. As Stanley Fischer, governor of
the Bank of Israel, said recently: “One of the great things I have learned about
life is that you don’t have to make decisions before you have to make
Jerusalem Who’s irrational?
Sir, – Ray Hanania
reveals his own prejudices and irrationality while calling for a more evenhanded
approach to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict (“Out of place with
irrationality,” Yalla Peace, April 4).
Hanania lauds the oft-criticized
Edward Said as “a brilliant theorist and writer.” He then describes Said as “the
most misunderstood Palestinian since Jesus.” In so doing, Hanania totally
He suggests that there is a direct line between modern
Palestinians – a group that did not claim peoplehood until the 20th century and
whose nationality many would argue is a convenient fiction – and the inhabitants
of this region 2,000 years ago. At the same time he pointedly ignores Jesus’s
membership in the only group that has lived here continuously and claimed direct
attachment to the land for three millennia – the Jewish People.
entirely consistent with his complaint that the Jewish names Judea and Samaria
are “disrespectful” to those who would now expel Jewish residents and claim that
ancient Jewish territory as their own.
Denial of Jewish historical ties
to the land is at the heart of the entire dispute. The Arab refusal to recognize
the right of the Jewish people to their own nationstate in their ancestral
homeland makes the lasting resolution of any of the other issues virtually
If Hanania expects the parties to interact rationally, he
must first be willing to accurately describe and recognize who the parties
are.EFRAIM A. COHEN
Sir, – What is so sad about Ray
Hanania is that he really wants peace between the Jews and Arabs here in the
Middle East but is unable to see the existing situation.
How often must
our neighbors refuse our extended hand before he realizes that the Arabs do not
want a two-state solution? They say it often, loud and very clearly: Israel is
to be wiped off the map.
Up to now, their children are taught that Israel
does not exist, with maps that obliterate the country, and that all the land
belongs to the Arab people. Martyrdom is lauded as long as it is against the
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is touted as
a partner for peace, refuses to come to the table to continue talks. Could it be
because he fears assassination should he come to an agreement to divide the
land? Believe me, most of us do not harbor vengeance and revenge.
is our dream and all the terrible wrongs perpetrated against us would be
forgiven and forgotten when the two states were in place. Would it be the same
for the Arabs? Or would they, like the Gazans, start bombarding us with rockets
to drive us off our land? Let me take this opportunity to remind Hanania that
the land west of the River Jordan was always Jewish, according to the League of
Nations, the United Nations and the British Mandate.
It was never meant
to be Arab land. The names Judea and Samaria, against which he objects so
strongly, are and have always been the names of those territories, just as his
name is Ray Hanania and mine is...EDMUND JONAH