letters to the editor.
(photo credit: )
Sir, - Re "'Don't hold services at Western Wall if they're not Orthodox'"(February 13): It is quite unfortunate that Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz sees himself as the bouncer, so to speak, of the Kotel, responsible for controlling who is permitted to pray there and who is not. He is to blame for working against the government's efforts to uphold the democratic character of the state by permitting non-Orthodox Jews to pray at the Robinson's Arch section of the Wall - designated for that specific purpose.
We encourage Rabbi Rabinowitz to reconsider his position and relearn the Midrash which teaches us that Jerusalem is a city which makes all its inhabitants friends.
RABBI BARRY SCHLESINGER
President of the Israeli Branch
of the Rabbinical Assembly
Sir, - Many yeshivot and other Orthodox schools have mixed-gender seating for some classes. The Conservative movement can prove its concern for Jewish unity by inserting homilies and commentary, where appropriate, between different sections of prayer. Then us Orthodox who also have concern for Jewish unity can simply consider the events as class instruction.
DAVID LLOYD KLEPPER
Sir, - Once again Shmuley Boteach is at it. This time he's tilting at windmills ("A political sacking," February 13). It may very well be that Ron Dermer is a very competent representative who has just been dropped. But why get all excited about it? The Kadima government didn't make a clean sweep of Likud appointees when it assumed power, but allowed Dermer to work out his contract. So why the fuss?
If he wanted to get all excited, Shmuley should have complained about the rabbi of the Western Wall's statement that only Orthodox worshipers may attend services at the Wall, so correctly criticized in your editorial ("More harm than good," February 13).
Now there's an example of what happens when a monopoly is given to a certain group - it feels it can dictate to the whole population and get away with it. The powers that be must be encouraged to give other trends of Judaism an equal (well, almost) amount of time and space and opportunity to pray at the Wall in their particular fashion.
Why doesn't Shmuley jump on that bandwagon? Is he afraid to buck the Orthodox hierarchy - or is he part of it?
Sir, - According to Prof. Doron Mendels of Tel Aviv University there was a language barrier among the Jews that divided them ("Lack of rabbinic control may have led to assimilation after destruction of 2nd Temple," February 13). Interestingly, the prophet Nehemia decried inter-marriage of Jews with non-Jews, claiming that it led to forgetting the Hebrew language.
Nehemia 13.23: "Also at that time, I saw that Jews had married Ashdodite, Ammonite, and Moabite women"; 24: "A good number of their children spoke the language of Ashdod and the language of those various peoples, and did not know how to speak Judean;" 25: "I censured them..."
and his ilk
Sir, - Just as shouting "fire" in a crowded theater does not fall into the category of free speech, the lies about Israel and Jewry spread by academicians wishing to attract attention and sell their books have life-threatening consequences.
An "anti-racist" Israeli law punishes anyone who defames our sworn Arab enemies. Why are Jews who defame Jews and Israel not indicted under it?
Ilan Pappe of Haifa University has just published a book accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing - a war crime ("Far Left historian says he is good friends with Haniyeh," February 13). Earlier, he organized a European boycott of Israeli universities "for crimes against Arabs." He should be indicted for racism and dismissed from his position; as should Ariel Toaff of Bar-Ilan University, whose new book accuses Jews of the blood libel still used against us by the Arabs ("Author admits blood-libel claim as provocation," same date).
Benny Morris of Ben-Gurion University now disclaims his charge that Israel was responsible for the Arab refugee problem; but his book is still out there and Arab Internet sites continue to quote him. Many more academicians are increasing their books' sales at our expense.
Academia is not sacred ground. It is time the universities and the attorney-general took action.
Sir, - In "A Saudi protectorate for Palestine?" (February 13), Shlomo Avineri omits to mention that:
Saudi Arabia remains in an active state of war with Israel, never having signed any peace agreement or armistice with Israel since its declaration of war against Israel in 1948;
the Saudis have consistently funded all warring factions of Hamas and the PLO, including the 10 PLO factions, based in Damascus, which rejected the Oslo process;
Saudi Arabia is the kingpin of the Arab League, whose charter has not changed since the inception of the league in 1945: to destroy any semblance of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East;
the "Mecca agreement" provides prestigious Saudi sponsorship to a Hamas terror regime that will be recognized internationally as the elected democratic representative of the Palestinian Arab people.
Not exactly a promise for a protectorate of peace.
Israel Resource News Agency
What a nerve!
Sir, - Amir "Peretz reveals he already gave away Tourism portfolio" (February 13). Why isn't he doing his job of protecting Israel instead of obstructing a minister who is doing a fabulous job for Israel? The nerve of it, giving away the Tourism portfolio!
Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog is one of the few in our government who is trying to help Israel and give us a good image. He seems to be everywhere, working overtime. He has taken over what was not working and used new and creative ideas to bring tourists here. Our economy depends on tourism.
I think Peretz's ego has gotten to him, and he thinks he is the PM. Maybe it's time for him to find a new job.
True leaders, stand up
Sir, - If we Jews are so smart, how come we keep voting for the simplistic, ego-ridden people who are leading this country into chaos and even disaster? Where are the likes of Moshe Arens, Benny Begin and Natan Sharansky, the men and women with integrity, intelligence and sincere concern for Israel's future? Why don't they come charging out and take over from the novices and the naive, who really have no clue about what to do in the face of all the problems that face us - other than smile a lot, posture a lot, speak a lot and make all the wrong decisions? When will our true leaders wake up?
Sir, - Further to research into building flooring and furniture from manure fibers ("Some day soon, you may be walking on manure," February 12):
I hope this doesn't give certain leaders currently putting together a cabinet any ideas about what they can get away with.