Sir, – Alan M. Dershowitz deserves full support (“NY Friends
seminary plays bait-andswitch on anti-Semitism,” February 24). However, I am at
a loss to understand his statement that the seminary “crossed the line from
preaching anti-Zionism to tolerating anti-Semitism.”
Where is this line
drawn, I wonder? How any Jew can see much difference between the two concepts is
a mystery to me. Surely, hatred against the Jewish State fueled by lies and
false premises is exactly the same as irrational hatred toward the Jewish people
Netanya More on Tal Law
Sir, – I am in full
agreement with your editorial “Change without coercion” (February 24).
is indeed unfair to continue allowing young haredi men to avoid being called up
for military service or doing something in its place. Surely, even the most
flagrant of these duty-avoiders should be forced to do something to help their
The excuse that these young men are busy learning is just too
much! If it’s that important to them, let them pursue it later in life. It’s
high time we put an end to this nonsense.
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The controversy regarding the Tal Law and its invalidation threatens to do
violence against the unity of our society that is so vital for our security and
The necessity for all citizens to contribute to their country’s
well-being in equal measure should be beyond dispute.
There is a real
problem, however, in being able to measure or quantify the contributions of the
different segments of our nation. Which carry greater weight? Which are more
dangerous? Which are most important in helping forge the type of social
structure we all aspire to? While it behooves the Jewish state to recognize the
role of Torah learning as a vital element in achieving that desired society, the
yeshiva world must at the same time unbegrudgingly recognize the absolute
importance of military service.
The hesder program of Torah study
combined with army service provides an almost ideal vehicle for serving both God
and country. It produces great achievement in Torah studies and some of the
finest, idealistic and dedicated army officers.
Would it not be a
wonderful solution to some of the dilemmas plaguing our country? ZEV CHAMUDOT
Sir, – Regarding your February 22 editorial (“The status quo”), the
wholesale exemption of many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of men in
yeshivot constitutes a major change in the original status quo agreement that
has gone largely unchallenged over the years, as has the setting of limits for
“religious encroachment into civil public life.”
The High Court decision
that the Tal Law is unconstitutional finally provides an opportunity for
rectifying the many inequities that have crept into Israeli life as a result of
these changes.LEO TAUBES
Sir, – One of the ways of solving the
problem of yeshiva boys and the army is to give them a proper external exam on
Torah, Bible and Talmud. Only those who can prove they are exceptional students
should be exempt from the army. I believe this number is very
Hod Hasharon Calling Sharansky
Sir, – As a new oleh
from the US, I was quite disturbed to read “Jewish Agency under fire” (Social
Affairs, February 24).
I, as a young Zionist growing up in America,
always thought the Jewish Agency was responsible for bringing Jews together in
the Jewish homeland. Now that Nefesh B’nefesh is responsible for bringing Jews
from North America and England, what exactly is the role of the Jewish Agency?
Of course, the State of Israel is responsible for new immigrants, but isn’t the
Jewish Agency supposed to work in conjunction with it? New olim from around the
world, whether they immigrate by choice or to escape persecution, need as much
assistance as possible.
As for the ad program to promote repatriating
former Israelis, the content of the ads hit home strongly.The response reflected
the truths that Jews in the Diaspora, including Israelis, are facing with regard
People don’t wish to face reality.
please, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, you are one of our greatest
modern Jewish heroes. Don’t destroy our dream! JONATHAN SURASKY
Sir, – In “Justice Eliezer Rivlin to run against Likud-Kadima pick for
state comptroller” (February 22), it is claimed that Rivlin and Knesset Speaker
Reuven Rivlin are not related.
This is untrue. They most certainly are
related, as are all Rivlins, in this case fourth cousins once
Petah Tikva All relative
Sir, – Daniel Friedmann
refers to Israel’s Supreme Court as highly “activist” (“On the road to recovery
from Israel’s legal revolution,” Comment & Features, February 20). He
describes in fine detail the “rules” the court has adopted as “greatly
extending” its power in a manner that involves “overseeing and taking part in
the governance of the country.” He also points to a great many other
difficulties that come about as result of this excessive activism.
would like to offer the idea that the judicial branch of this country, as well
as that of all other democracies, should not be judged in isolation from its
place in the relationship to other branches of government.
functions well or not so well depending to a great extent on the balance among
these branches, which is never static but always evolving, hopefully for the
benefit of the people. In our three-cornered system we have to ask: How are the
legislative and executive branches carrying out their responsibilities? In the
case of Israel I believe that what has evolved is what some people may regard as
a too strong a judicial branch.
Judicial strength or “overactivism” can
be appreciated as emerging due to a somewhat defective legislative branch. I
believe that there is among Israelis a wide appreciation that the Knesset is
seriously flawed in its role of representing the people.
Until the manner
in which the Knesset is elected is somehow remedied to produce a more equitable
legislature, the court must carry on in its remedial functioning “activism” in
supporting a workable democratic system.MOSHE KAPLAN
Sir, – In
answer to reader Michael Partem’s comments (“Lamentable regression,” Letters,
February 22) regarding Daniel Friedmann’s excellent article, I suggest that
Partem read Article III of the US Constitution regarding the establishment of a
supreme court, which in part states: “The judicial power shall extend to all
cases in law and equity (concerning) the laws of the United
The judicial power of the US Supreme Court is thus limited to
judging the legitimacy of a given law brought before the court in terms of its
The recent decision regarding the Tal Law fits this
The quote attributed to John Adams pertains to the
concept that laws affecting government are only established by legislation and
not by fiat or dictatorial decree.
It should also be noted that the US
Constitution is very strong in defining the legislative powers of
Thus, the president has the power to appoint judges to the
Supreme Court only “by and with the advice and consent of the
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