December 17: Incitement first

Israel’s failure to publicly demand end to state-sanctioned Palestinian incitement tantamount to public posture of acquiescence.

December 16, 2010 22:22
3 minute read.

letters. (photo credit: JP)

By altruism alone

Sir, – The chief rabbi of Dimona (“That is the question,” Letters, December 15) is perfectly right: Conversions should be done in strict accordance with Halacha. However, those conducting conversions should be motivated by that alone, and not by any interest in preserving their power or that of the groups they support.


Incitement first

Sir, – As I follow the headlines and sound bites, I have yet to see even one public statement from the Israeli government demanding an end to incitement as one of the so-called core issues to be discussed in peace talks (“US pushes indirect talks amid dispute over which core issues to tackle first,” December 14). To my point of view, it is the first issue that must be addressed. Backchannel demands are not enough.

The government is to be congratulated for firmly and publicly repudiating the incitement and bigotry of the rabbis who signed the letter calling for a ban on property sales or rentals to non-Jews. But it comes across as tongue-tied when it comes to publicly demanding an end to state-sanctioned Palestinian incitement. Israel’s failure to do so is tantamount to a public posture of acquiescence.

We can already see the adverse effects of this hesitation: Obama, Clinton and Mitchell no longer raise Palestinian incitement as a core issue.

No agreement on the other core issues would be worth the paper it is written on without an end to incitement, since incitement promotes intergenerational transmission of the motifs of hate. And if disagreements remain, as they do between all nations, incitement will create the potential for fanning terror and violence for generations to come.


The writer is editor and director of the World Genocide Situation Room

Note the difference

Sir, – It is understandable that outsiders would lump haredim under a single rubric (“Integration of haredim and Arabs into labor market still too slow, Steinitz says,” Business & Finance, December 14).

After all, to the undiscerning eye they all look the same.

Nevertheless, there is huge difference between the hasidic and the “yeshivish” communities.

Hasidim are historically disposed to do an honest day’s work, while the yeshivish believe others should do the work for them. Indeed, even within the realm of vocations that are necessary for the very maintenance of Jewish life, such as the writing of Torah scrolls and tefillin, typography for religious texts, ritual slaughter and kashrut supervision, hasidim are ubiquitous while the yeshivish are nowhere to be found.

Perhaps the government should concentrate its job-generating efforts on the hasidic communities.

It might find both the rebbes and their followers receptive to ideas that can wean families off the dole. Once such efforts begin to pay off, it would be time to cut all subsidies to the yeshiva world, which shamelessly subsists on life support and bites the hand that feeds it.


Fan club

Sir, – A bit late in life, maybe, but I am writing my very first “fan letter.” It is to David Horovitz, editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.

On whatever subject he chooses, Horovitz’s writings and opinions are well expressed and a pleasure to read, whether a serious column on the topic of the day, or his review of the Comedy for Koby show in the December 15 issue.

I have even kept for posterity his introduction to a supplement of a few months ago encouraging the population to live in the North of Israel. It beautifully encapsulates all the reasons we came from the UK to live here with three small children over 40 years ago.

Thank you, Mr. Horovitz.

All power to your pen.


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