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Nary a whisper
Sir, - Why have I not heard calls for compulsory binding arbitration in public-sector labor disputes? Surely this would be most appropriate in cases where vital public services are at issue ("Histadrut calls general strike after talks collapse," July 24).
Torah with worldly ways
Sir, - Two recent articles by Jewish ethicist Asher Meir on the fierce worldwide debate over the value of intellectual property rights are wonderful exemplars of the best blend of Torah and the ways of the world. He expounds all positions - in depth, breadth and with great clarity and compassion for all mankind; only then does he render reasoned and nuanced, though tentative, conclusions.
Rabbi Meir sanctifies both God's Name and that of talmudic methodology and tradition today - so frequently abused by isolationist, pontificating rabbis, great technical talmudists who often lack contact with, and sympathy for the rest of mankind. Unlike Rav Meir, these "gedolim" claim authority in all aspects of Torah, and secular knowledge, without good arguments. They assume daas Torah - magic knowledge of the whole complex world of God - without having studied it thoroughly, and solely due to their talmudic expertise; a concept ridiculed by both the medieval Rambam & Son, and, in our days, by Rabbi J.B. Soloveichik.
("Copyright, copyleft, copycat. Open content is financially and intellectually dependent on commercial content," July 20 and "Are property rights in ideas unethical? Free programs and movies occupy an important ethical niche," July 13.)
YAAKOV FOGELMAN, Editor
A Jerusalem Jewish Voice
Sir, - I am in complete agreement with Rabbi Riskin ("In praise of Christian-Jewish interfaith dialogue," July 24). A Jew must look at current events and try to see God's hand in history. We cannot ignore the threats, but this unexpected source of support from the Christians has potential which should not be ignored.
Not surprisingly, the most antagonistic to the Christian Right is the Jewish liberal Left. And the point of contention goes beyond the abortion issue. It really centers on the strong Christian belief in a loving God who cares about the Jewish people - an anathema to many secular Jews, even in Israel.
While the threat of missionizing shouldn't be ignored, groups as well as individuals need to be judged on their current behavior. Muslims and Jews shared a mostly amicable relationship for hundreds of years, but that is obviously not the case today. Similarly, the many years of Christian-based anti-Semitism may be giving way to a new trend.
Less than 65 years after the Holocaust we see varying directions in Europe. Denmark, which heroically saved its few Jews, is today largely anti-Israel. Germany, on the other hand, despite small neo-Nazi activist groups has many vocal leaders who speak of their responsibility to the Jewish people.
If anything has convinced me of the Evangelical Christians' sincerity, it has been the many touching letters published in this paper. If more of our estranged Jewish brothers shared some of that love of God and the Jewish people, our overall situation would be much improved.
Sir, - Naomi Blumenthal's pardon, Haim Ramon back in the Knesset after being found guilty of the charges against him, and Moshe Katsav's plea bargain - all boggle the mind.
The average Israeli citizen charged with a crime will be brought before our criminal justice system and, if found guilty, will serve the sentence. But a known politician charged with a crime and found guilty will get a slap on the wrist. Double standard, once again ("Peres bails out Blumenthal," July 24).
JERRY AND SYLVIA DORTZ
Sir, - Now we know the Movement for Quality Government has a political bias, just like B'Tselem, Peace Now and other NGOs ("MQG protests clemency for Blumenthal," July 25).
The fact that Omri Sharon committed a worse crime and had his sentence reduced on appeal, yet is now appealing to the High Court for a further reduction of his sentence, does not seem to be a matter for so-called "quality government."
The latest excuse in Sharon's case is that "he committed the crime when he was in the Likud," as though the party and not he is to blame. Now that he is Kadima, all should be forgiven; not so Blumenthal, who did not renounce her beliefs. Maybe she should quickly join Kadima?
These two sentences and the reaction to both appeals - especially the clemency for Blumenthal - show how politicized our NGOs and judicial system have become, and how far we have drifted from the "Jewish heart" we were always so proud of.
...ask the cabbies
Sir, - Greer Fay Cashman, Shelly Paz and Dan Izenberg cite Haifa University Prof. Emmanuel Gross's objection to President Shimon Peres's reduction of the sentence given former MK Naomi Blumenthal for obstruction of justice and bribery ("Peres bails out Blumenthal," July 24). They do not state the professor's credentials to pass judgment on the president's judgment.
I suggest that the Post adopt the policy followed in New York City for obtaining expert opinion on matters of the day: Ask the cab drivers, for they are truly objective. They endanger the lives of other drivers and pedestrians without regard for race, color or creed.
Please, Prof. Gross, let the woman live in her troubled peace. She is far less culpable than other MKs and government ministers, who are free to do as they wish, including committing more alleged crimes.
Sir, - It's sad indeed, and a setback for Israel, our justice system and our police force - which we had all hoped was on the mend - when an officer who used insults and foul and vulgar language is offered a promotion; and, to add insult to injury, that promotion is approved by the High Court of Justice ("Court okays promotion of police officer who insulted settlers," July 23).
What kind of message is this sending our youth and citizenry, to whom the police, and certainly the court, are supposed to be a beacon of hope, light and justice?
DVORA R. FRIEDMAN
Show some gratitude
Sir, - "After the Americans withdraw, defeated and humiliated, from Iraq" wrote Yosef Lapid in "Bush Peres's rosy scenario" (July 19), thus joining a chorus of Israeli commentators who find the need to denigrate the American effort and characterize the US intervention in Iraq as ill-conceived and futile.
True, there are difficulties in restoring peace in Iraq, and it may take some time before that happens. But for us Israelis there can be no doubt that even just the exit of Sadam Hussein and his regime eliminated a major threat to our existence and we are safer because of that.
It would be appropriate, therefore, to show some restraint in our criticism of the US and instead express our gratitude to President Bush and the American people for their willingness to sacrifice American lives so we may all live in a safer world.
New dangers are on the horizon and the might of America may be needed again.