July 20: Missed opportunity

I believe that the greatest danger facing Israel is posed by the haredim and their political parties.

July 19, 2012 23:24
3 minute read.


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Missed opportunity

Sir, – It is with great sadness that we witness the dissolution of Israel’s unity government (“Kadima quits coalition over haredi IDF service,” July 18).

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I believe that the greatest danger facing Israel is posed by the haredim and their political parties. They force their will on the rest of the citizens. It is no different from Muslims and Shari’a law.

It seems that when the political establishment had the chance free itself from an oppressive environment it failed.

Coconut Creek, Florida

Turns of phrase

Sir, – Congratulations to Herb Keinon for pointing to the US administration’s new emphasis on Iran (“Clinton changes slightly, perhaps significantly, the language on Iran,” Analysis, July 18).

He focuses on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement: “We will use all elements of US power to prevent Iran....” He fails, however, to focus on the second element of that statement: “...from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

I have 30 years of experience with the useful turns of phrase of the US State Department. Consciously using the clause “a nuclear weapon” rather than “a nuclear weapons capability” shows we are still in La La Land. Iran’s fanatical revolutionary guards read this quite clearly.

Iran does not need to have a “weapon” – just ask any knowledgeable defense expert how long it takes to convert “weapons capability” into one. What will the West do then? It will be too late.

Unless the White House changes its rhetoric from “weapon” to “weapons capability” the world will have moved only one step forward for two steps back.

Is President Obama really serious about Iran?

The writer is a retired US Foreign Service officer

Halacha board

Sir, – What a poetic, creative and thought-provoking article by Nathan Lopes Cardozo (“Halacha: The greatest chess game on earth,” Comment & Features, July 17).

“The chessboard becomes the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are the laws of nature, and man roams freely on this board once he applies the rules in a way that will deepen their impact to such an extent that a whole new world is revealed.” This is poetry.

The creativity is in the fusion of chess and Halacha. Why do literally millions of Jews sit for days, weeks, months and years studying Gemara? Because even though the rules are “ruthless” they “allow for thousands of combinations, maneuvers and sub-rules.”

Why is the article thought-provoking? Because secularists and the religious are to this day discussing the merits or demerits of Halacha.

Cardozo’s article should be read by all because it encompasses the quintessential elements of Judaism.


Sir, – Nathan Lopes Cardozo has indeed given us a fascinating analogy with which to relate to Halacha and the role it plays in our lives.

The point that is relevant to those of us living here is that the percentage of chess players who devote their lives to chess and make their living from it is miniscule. It should be the same with the study of Halacha.


Long overdue

Sir, – It was most enjoyable to read Yaakov Katz’s “It was all destiny” (July 16), which recounted the story of Lou Lenart from our hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Lou’s family escaped from Hungary and had a candy and stationery store in the Heights section of our community, which had five synagogues.

Mahal volunteers have not received the recognition they deserve. They saved our country at a critical time.


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