Sir, – The core, and rhetorical, question is how it came to
pass that someone like Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv should have even a vote, let
alone a veto, regarding which conversions to validate (“A place among the Jews,”
Editorial February 23).
Elyashiv leads a community that cynically feeds
off the literacy, productivity and defense sacrifices of real taxpayers while
avowedly rejecting the political validity of a Jewish state. Endorsing a
lifestyle of dependence on others and the eschewing of honest work is a prima
facie violation of the Torah’s commandment to labor six days a week, and of
myriad rabbinic injunctions.
Indeed, Maimonides presciently declared that
those who make their money through Torah study “will end up embezzling the
public” (Hilkhot Talmud Torah) – assuming they are even engaged in Torah study.
This alone should render Elyashiv’s decisions ipso facto halachically
So the question remains how normal Israelis have allowed
themselves to be hornswoggled via political horse trading and outright
pork-barreling into enabling Israel-rejectionists to hijack our rabbinic courts
and rabbinic rulings.
There are sophisticated, compassionate, brilliant
and halachically eminent rabbis within the religious Zionist community who
should be occupying every government-sponsored rabbinic position. Anti- Zionists
like Elyashiv should direct their points of view to the ultra- Orthodox in the
Diaspora, where their minds and hearts are already permanently
Sir, – My signature on the letter sent to
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (“Jewish Agency wants more converts to be eligible
to immigrate to Israel, February 22) was not because of any personal problem
with the recognition of converts who underwent conversion through the rabbinical
court I served on. I object in principle to the Interior Ministry deciding which
Orthodox converts from other countries are acceptable.
It is absurd that
the ministry does not judge the validity of non-Orthodox conversions, but
assumes the right to determine which Orthodox rabbis it approves.RABBI
New York Where are they now?
Sir, – It’s time for the world to judge
whether the international press and United Nations are biased or
With the treatment the Libyans are showing their own people
(“Gaddafi regime imperiled as chaos engulfs Tripoli,” February 22), there must
be condemnation from all UN organizations and all media to the same extent as
occurs against Israel.
If no resolutions condemning the actions in Libya
are passed by the Human Rights Council, or if the Security Council takes no
action, we can conclude that they are biased against Israel. The press should be
calling for a UNstyle investigation, as it always does against Israel; again,
failure to do would show its anti-Israel bias.MICHAEL DAVIS
Lezion Barack Nero Obama
Sir, – Isi Leibler (“Avoiding euphoria over Obama,”
Candidly Speaking, February 22) is right about the White House’s capacity to add
more Israel bashing on top of its failed policy over settlements.
regard, IBA English News recently interviewed pundit and former ambassador Yoram
Ettinger about the US statement in the UN Security Council that was critical of
Israel, although it vetoed a resolution on this issue.
Notable among his
comments was the insightful statement, “The Middle East burns while President
Obama fiddles for Palestine.”
Get real, America.AARON BASHANI
Jerusalem Human rights and pizza
Sir, – In his latest essay (“Mirror, mirror on
the wall,” Encountering Peace, February 22), Gershon Baskin expresses concern
for the future of human rights in Israel after encounters with a Jewish cab
driver and a Jewish pizza shop. Such delicate and precise sensitivity to human
rights is noteworthy.
But if Baskin is so concerned about a pizza shop
that he is motivated to write about it, what does he have to say about
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas making repeated hostile statements
not about pizza shop employees, but about a total population, based on that
population’s religion, in declaring that his new state will be judenrein?
Abbas’s requirement for a Jew-free state demands the forced transfer of an entire
resident population because of its religion.
This is not only racist but
a crime against humanity.
Baskin’s column is about racism, and that’s
serious – so serious that UN Security Council Resolution 1674 affirms the UN’s
responsibility to protect populations against genocide, war crimes, ethnic
cleansing and crimes against humanity. Why isn’t he demanding to know how the
same UN can support the creation of a state that vows to commit a crime against
humanity? Baskin identifies himself as a leftist.
He seems to be proud of
his affiliation. He seems to have a delicate and deep concern for
So with our next-door neighbors declaring that they will commit
crimes against humanity, and a UN that seems to be ignoring its own code of
justice, the only thing he can write about is what he heard from a Jewish cab
driver or saw in a Jewish pizza shop? TUVIA BRODIE
Sir, – Rabbi
Meir Kahane did not preach racism, as Gershon Baskin arrogantly writes. He
simply told the truth, and everything he foretold has come true. We are
surrounded by enemies that swear to destroy us. We have lost faith in the
justness of our cause to live in the Land of Israel. We have reached the lowest
point, where we are willing to compromise the needs of the Jewish people by
giving up our heartland to an enemy that we know without any doubt will attack
and destroy us.
We have already given over our holy sites to the Wakf,
where Jews have to ask permission of Muslims to enter so long as they don’t move
their lips in what could be construed as prayer, only to be forcibly escorted
away by the Wakf and – to our shame – the Israel Police if the former decides we
have overstepped its rules.
Baskin says he writes his article with rage
in his heart and a deep sense of pain. I can tell him that his rage is nothing
compared to the rage and disgust that I feel at his comments. This is the sole
Jewish State, a state for which our people have fought hard and died in the
process, and yet he has no problem with it being overrun by Muslims.
I wanted to live in such a country I would have stayed in Britain.YENTEL
Sir, – Your story “Italy’s first Holocaust museum
to be built in Rome” (February 22) makes the erroneous statement that Father
Patrick Desbois “has uncovered and dug up previously unknown and hidden mass
graves.” This is not what Yahad–In Unum does.
The organization conducts
research trips to eastern Europe to identify the location of mass graves and
interview witnesses to the shooting of Jews, Roma and other victims of the Nazis
and their allies. Yahad does not uncover or dig up the graves, or take any other
action that would disturb the remains of the victims.
It conducts its
work under the oversight of rabbinical authorities, who provide guidance to
ensure that Jewish laws are fully respected during its research.
recently announced an agreement with the American Jewish Committee and other
groups to provide the precise location of the hundreds of mass graves identified
through its research so that they can take steps to protect and memorialize the
The writer is spokesman for Yahad–In Unum