letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - American hearts go out to Israelis in this difficult time. I can't imagine what it's like to live in Israel now. I wish more of the international community were stronger in supporting your efforts to remain a free and sovereign country. The lack of concern from most of Europe is appalling. Can't they see the danger to you, and to the world?
I don't know what logistical support you are receiving from your allies, but I hope it is significant. The world can't stand by and watch another Holocaust occur ("NSC drafting strategy to make Israel NATO member," January 23).
Long Beach, California
Laying down the law
Sir, - Kol hakavod to the co-founder of Tel Aviv university's law faculty, Amnon Rubinstein, for insisting that it adhere to the principles upon which it was established ("Faculty of the hard Left," January 23).
Shmuley on sex
Sir, - After reading Shmuley Boteach's "Why women are abandoning men" (January 22), I can only wonder why The Jerusalem Post hasn't abandoned him.
To sum up, he seems to believe that women are abandoning men as life partners, and doing so because men treat women like objects instead of people. As usual, he makes sweeping generalizations that are pure conjecture at best, and then uses them as a basis for making a point that is supposed to teach us something.
For instance, he states that "at college we (men) use them (women) for sex." First of all, there are plenty of women using men for sex. Second, while I am sure there are many people having sex in college, I had many female friends whom I enjoyed talking with, going out with, and wasn't interested in having sex with. And I know I am not unique in that regard.
What the rabbi said
Sir, - Readers of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's recent series on clergy sexual abuse may have been misled by the report's assertion that the meaning of words spoken by a respected rabbinic authority at last year's Agudath Israel of America national convention is, as the article put it, "open to interpretation." The rabbinic authority, the article asserted, admitted "that haredim are indeed guilty of sweeping things under the carpet."
The writer of the series has acknowledged to me that he had not at the time listened to a recording of the speech.
Rabbi Salomon's words, however, could not have been clearer. He pointed out how some people like to accuse the haredi community of "sweeping things under the carpet." They are right, he went on to explain, but not in the way they mean. "Do they know how many perpetrators" of sins against others "have been dealt with?" No, he averred, because when actions are taken against individuals who have proven themselves untrustworthy, Orthodox leaders do not trumpet their actions. And even as they take what steps are necessary to protect others, he added, they also seek to protect human dignity.
Moreover, Rabbi Salomon declared that when crimes are asserted but not proven, Jews must be guided not by a mob mentality but by the Torah.
The JTA article may well be right that "several Web site and blog contributors" chose to interpret Rabbi Salomon's remarks as an admission that "haredi officials often look the other way when clergy sex abuse takes place in their midst." But that says something only about those Web site and blog contributors, and nothing at all about what Rabbi Salomon actually said.
RABBI AVI SHAFRAN
Director of Public Affairs
Agudath Israel of America
Sir, - David Forman's "Destination - Montgomery, Alabama, 1955" (January 21) came at exactly the right time for me.
Two weeks ago we invited a young married couple who live in Jerusalem to visit us here in Safed. Much to our horror, they were informed by Egged that the wife would have to sit in the back of the bus. Rather than be humiliated and discriminated against, they traveled via Tel Aviv, by train to Acre, and then by bus again.
I wrote to Egged about this and received the shocking reply that all buses to Jerusalem and back are for haredim only; no mention of passengers who happen to be secular. Egged placed responsibility for this on the Ministry of Transport, and said it would not get involved.
I have since spoken to a female friend of ours who dared to sit in the "men only" section of the bus, and she was cursed and otherwise verbally abused during the entire three-and-a-half-hour journey to Safed. The driver refused to protect her from this verbal violence, adhering to a policy of "hear nothing, see nothing, do nothing."
If this shameful situation is allowed to continue, it will spread like a cancer throughout our entire public transportation system.
Sir, - Thanks for bringing much laughter to another day filled with dreary news of murder and malice by printing, on your front page, a picture of Defense Minister Amir Peretz speaking at the Herzliya conference (January 23) with a brightly-lit sign over his left shoulder proclaiming, "Your time is over!"
Sir, - I loved that photo of Amir Peretz at the Herzliya conference. The blinking sign above his head said it all.
Lend-lease, here, now
Sir, - Eli Hurvitz is to be congratulated for his pointed criticism of our government, its poor functioning and lack of leadership (Business Post, January 22). However, he did not make many suggestions for correcting this, so allow me.
Hurvitz has done a great deal for Teva and for our entire business community. He has made many important contacts and is personally acquainted with most of them. I would therefore suggest that he set up a Lend-Lease authority that would take the most talented business people from a pool he would create, and lend them to the government for leadership and managerial positions over a period of three years. This would inject new life into the stagnating ministries of today, freeing our politicians from the tedious labor of leadership and legislation.
They could then devote themselves to what they love most - avoiding charges of corruption and graft, jockeying for important party positions, involving themselves in important real-estate deals and hugging foreign dignitaries. And we would get what we really want: clean and efficient government.
Lend-Lease saved the British from defeat at the beginning of World War II; applied here, today, it could save us from catastrophe.
Sir, - I enjoy your Letters section very much. Your columnists write interesting columns, but sometimes I feel they are forced to produce for their regular slot and so create an issue. Letters are written only if the writer has something to say.
But I prefer reading the views of Israeli citizens, and lately you have printed a lot of overseas letter-writers who are not as aware of the details of Israeli issues as those who live here.
The Letters Editor responds:
The Jerusalem Post's readership is a worldwide one, and all readers have access to our Letters column. The same is true of other world-class newspapers. While living here does provide unique insight, views from further away can be refreshing, and occasionally surprising.
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