letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Absorb the Sudanese
Sir, - I rarely find myself nodding in agreement with Larry Derfner, but this time he hit the nail on the head ("How to lose hearts and minds," July 19). Support for Israel abroad, especially in America, is critical and allowing the deportation of hundreds of Christians back to Egypt is inhumane.
Your coverage of the past few weeks makes it clear that these Sudanese are refugees from genocide. Sending them back to a Muslim country whose policies made its Jewish community leave and which has decimated its Christian population is beyond heartless. Israel has the means to absorb these people until they can return home, grateful to Israel.
"Never again" applies to all victims of proven genocide.
Nothing to be proud of
Sir, - A shameful situation, indeed, in which 10,000 aging and distressed people cannot live out their remaining years in comfort and dignity while officials and lawyers employed by the Claims Conference have profited handsomely over the years ("Don't abandon Israel's Holocaust survivors," Uzi Dayan, 18 July).
Thanks to the inadequacies of our electoral system, the Pensioners party led by millionaire Rafi Eitan, which was incorporated into the Knesset with much trumpeting, has been effortlessly sidelined and has hardly squawked in support of decent treatment for these impoverished, elderly and deserving citizens.
GISH TRUMAN ROBBINS
Sir, - The Ayalon Highways Company's proposal to allow driving on the shoulder during rush hour is one of the most potentially disastrous ideas I have ever heard: There would be no way for emergency and security vehicles to get through.
I volunteer with the Border Police, and one night while on patrol we came across a road completely gridlocked. Thinking there had been an accident, we tried to reach the location by driving on the shoulder (reserved by law for police and medical vehicles). But every driver and his mother had had the same idea, and it took us 15 minutes instead of the normal two to get all the wise-guys back on the road so we could do our duty (fortunately, it was only a broken traffic light).
Try to imagine such a situation on the Ayalonâ€¦ the results would be infinitely worse. C'mon guys, give it a rest! ("Ayalon motorists might soon drive on shoulder at rush hour," July 16.)
How a bank drums up business
Sir, - In "Heal the Family" (July 16) Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote of "women dress[ed]... in the most degrading manner." Reports of the Katsav affair tell of degradations women allegedly suffered as a result of their employment. On entering the Gedera branch of Bank Leumi last week, I was astounded to see both these phenomena starkly played out.
The female tellers sat receiving the customers dressed in tight shirts with advertising messages for the bank ("Have you connected to our Internet service? Have you signed up for Leumi's SMS service?") printed across their breasts.
I asked a teller how she felt about having to wear this degrading garment. Uncomfortable, she replied, but what could she do? It was bank policy. I noted that I did not see any male employees similarly clothed, and was told that only the females were required to wear the shirts. I complained to the manageress (!), who listened to my complaint, thanked me, but offered no defense.
I await a reply to the letter I have sent to the bank's head office, and ask: How, amid today's awareness of sexual harassment, can young women be put into such a situation and feel unable to refuse? How can customers of a bank - not a nightclub - be made to stare at a young girl's chest in order for the bank to get its message across?
Sir, - In support of his opinion that a potential convert to Judaism's intention to be religiously observant is not a necessary element of the conversion, Prof. Benjamin Ish-Shalom invoked the celebrated late decisor of Jewish law, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ("Divided we fall," UpFront, June 29).
The case referenced, however, was one where there was assumed to be an acceptance of observance, but the convert later lapsed. Regarding converting someone who has not sincerely accepted the responsibilities of Jewish observance, Rabbi Feinstein writes (in Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah I, No.157): "It is obvious and clear that (a non-Jew who has not accepted the mitzvot) is not a convert at all, even after the fact (of his conversion ceremony) because honest acceptance of the commandments for a convert is essential; and even if he pronounces that he is accepting the mitzvot, if it is clear to us that he is not in truth accepting them, it is nothing."
RABBI AVI SHAFRAN
Director of Public Affairs
Agudath Israel of America
The Four 'R's
Sir, - Re "School study for 12 years mandated" (July 18): The law making 12-year schooling compulsory could be put to good use. I suggest the extra time be devoted in primary school to the four R's: reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic - and compulsory spoken aRabic, which is absolutely essential for all Israelis. In addition, more time could be given to Jewish studies and Zionism, two subjects woefully neglected in the Jewish, Zionist State of Israel.