Sir, – It is hardly surprising that Finance Minister Yair Lapid pushed for criminal sanctions for haredi draft dodgers, considering his genetically influenced animosity for haredim. What is surprising is that his Yesh Atid party includes such balanced haredim as MK Dov Lipman, who went along with this destructive law.
They have handed the haredim a clear victory – and the rest of us months of unnecessary civil war.
The first haredi boy imprisoned will set off disturbances that will make the mob wars look like child’s play (“We will literally fight to the death against enlistment,” February 24).
Hopefully, the law will not be enacted.
AVIGDOR BONCHEK Jerusalem
Sir, – I agree that draft dodgers should face criminal penalties. But where the ultra-Orthodox are concerned, the people who should really be convicted are the rabbis and parents who encourage yeshiva students to break the law.
My grandson will be entering a yeshiva this coming September. If the students are told by the rabbis there that they must avoid military service, how many of those who wish to remain in that yeshiva will disagree? One way to perform military service and still study Torah is the hesder yeshiva system, which has worked very well.
Name withheld Jerusalem Sir, – Now that Israel is going to jail all the haredi “draft dodgers”, is it going to jail everyone for not sharing the burden? These include: 1. The 25 percent of secular draft dodgers 2. Hesder yeshiva students who do not serve the full 36 months of military service 3. The entire contingent of Arab youth 4. The inordinately large number of secular teenage girls who falsely claim exemptions on the grounds of being “religious” 5. The girls who do go in and serve a shorter hitch, and thus do not “share the burden.”
Why is it only haredim who merit jail time? To paraphrase the Three Musketeers, “All for jail and jail for all!”
MARCHAL KAPLAN Jerusalem
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not and has never been in favor of sharing the burden (“Coalition discipline to be strictly enforced on haredi draft bill,” February 23). Quite the contrary – he intended to renew, without debate, the iniquitous Tal Law, giving all haredim a blanket exemption from military service. Only when he was made aware of the political opposition did he change course.
Netanyahu’s support for the current, farcical legalization is solely to preserve his coalition and coveted role as prime minister.
RAYMOND CANNON Netanya
Sir, – The sight of healthy, robust yeshiva students protesting against a “new” law that gives them everything they could want except legitimacy is sad to see. There is only one solution: Cut off funding to yeshivot and men who do not serve.
ZVI LEVINE Jerusalem
Sir, – It seems to me that the real winners and losers in the “haredi enlistment extravaganza” are the army, which has maintained its central position in Israeli society and is poised to extend its influence into hitherto non-militarized communities, and the Palestinians, who continue to live under military occupation of said army.
GILBERT SIBERSKY Jerusalem
All choked up
Sir, – America’s international influence has died a dishonorable death. But then there is your lead headline “US: Iran might be allowed ‘limited’ nuclear program” (February 23). It kinda makes ya choke all up.
Why is The Jerusalem Post abusing itself by “acquiescing” to such a piteous delusion?
PESACH GOODLEY Kiryat Ye’arim
Other people’s eyes
Sir, – In her letter of February 21, reader Judy Bamberger (“Stakeholders only”) wrote: “Me, who by chance of birth is Jewish....” I have known many “Jews” like this and I alway explain to them that what is important is not how they see themselves, but how others see them.
In World War II, Bamberger would have been taken to the camps even though she was only “by chance of birth” Jewish. Today, with anti-Semitism rising in the world, she will be seen as Jewish.
She also should realize that the State of Israel worries about the Jews everywhere. I hope she will never need us to help her out.
MIRIAM NATHANS Rishon Lezion
Sir, – Ronald Radosh (“How writers question the legitimacy of Israel,” Comment & Features, February 19) does not exaggerate when he describes John Judis’s Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict as “perhaps one of the most insidious and dishonest” of the new batch of anti-Israel books.
Here’s an outrage in the book that struck me; it is not a minor error in statistics or dates. On p.
349 Judis states: “Jesus, the first Christian, and the last in a line of Hebrew prophets, was reported to have asked, ‘For whom shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ Israel’s Jews had gained a world of their own, but at the expense of another people.”
To whom is Judis appealing? If he’s appealing to Jews he is a fool. He should know that Jesus as a Jewish prophet is utter heresy in Judaism, just like Jews adopting the Muslim belief that Muhammad is last in the line of the prophets. If he is appealing to Christians he is wicked. He should know that denouncing Jews by using the New Testament – the absurdity of Christians teaching Christian ethics to Jews – is inciting hatred of Jews.
JACOB MENDLOVIC Toronto
Canker on an apple
Sir, – Earlier this month, Rabbi Haim Druckman was interviewed on the radio station Galei Yisrael.
He was asked why he was allowing Rabbi Moti Elon, who was convicted for sexual misconduct against students, to teach at the Or Etzion yeshiva, where Druckman is dean.
Druckman’s answer? “Because.”
When queried as to why he felt there was no need to explain his motivations to the public, he replied: “This [Or Etzion] is not a public body so there is no need to explain anything.”
The retention of Rabbi Elon within the Orthodox community following his conviction for sexual indecency breaches both the Old Testament covenant and the law of Israel. It is an offense to God, man and the Jewish state. It bodes ill for Orthodoxy and religious-secular relations.
Unless the local Orthodox community rectifies this matter, Israeli Orthodoxy will not only lose support in the wider community, but, as with a canker on an apple, it will rot from within.
PAUL BROWN Kfar Vradim
Sir, – I am sure that most people don’t think twice about paying NIS 1 to use the facilities at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. But what do we get for our shekel? We get a bathroom floor that appears to have not been mopped since before the time of Noah. On the several times that I have availed myself of the facilities, there have been no towels. The bathrooms also lack a basic thing: toilet paper! The sinks are filthy and often do not work. And the odor of the place is enough to cause a person to gag.
Whoever is in charge should be ashamed.
JEFFREY RAPPOPORT Jerusalem
CORRECTION In “Practice, practice practice all the way to Carnegie Hall” (Arts & Entertainment, February 24), a sentence erroneously states that the Jerusalem Foundation has not supported the Jerusalem Conservatory Hassadna Wind Ensemble’s trip to New York. In fact, it has been a long-time supporter of the conservatory and helped to raise significant funding for the trip.