July 4: Twist and turn

I’m writing in regard to the article “Hatnua MK Stern drafts bill for burial of gentile soldiers alongside Jewish counterparts.”

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Twist and turn
Sir, – I’m writing in regard to the article “Hatnua MK Stern drafts bill for burial of gentile soldiers alongside Jewish counterparts” (July 1).
These young men died defending our country. It is outrageous to “demote” them and bury them away from their comrades. There are so many ways that our rabbis twist and turn the law in order to make it suit this century – when they want to, for instance, “Shabbat elevators,” or allowing Jewish waiters to work on Shabbat in hotels and Jewish doormen to work on Shabbat.
With the same inventiveness and flexibility, surely they can honor the heart and the courage of a non-Jew who gave his life for Israel by not separating him at his final resting place from his Jewish comrades in arms. These are not visitors to the country who happen to have passed on while they lived here – these men died for us Israelis, and should be accorded every honor.

In good faith
Sir, – Jeff Barak writes in his column that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s chance of success depends on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu negotiating in good faith (“Can Netanyahu break old habits?” Reality Check, Comment and Features, July 1).
Does this mean that he has to accept all the preconditions that PA President Mahmoud Abbas wants in order to sit down and talk? Why isn’t sitting down with each other without any preconditions not considered good faith? I have yet to see Barak ever write a column showing Netanyahu or his family in good light. it seems he has never done anything right in Barak’s eyes.
Sir, – I take the serious opposite view to Jeff Barak, when, at the end of his article, he writes “the question is whether Netanyahu is brave enough to follow in Sharon’s footsteps.”
Sharon’s unilateral withdraw from Gaza, by destroying the Jewish settlements and expelling the settlers – which he did to take off the heat from his legal problems and not ideology, led to Hamas sending thousands of rockets into Israel. Barak telling Netanyahu to follow in Sharon’s footsteps implies we will now have Hamas taking over Judea and Samaria, and who knows how many rockets will be thrown at Israel.
Is this what Barak wants?
MURRAY JOSEPH Kiryat Motzkin
Sir, – Jeff Barak asks “what are Kerry’s chance for success?” and then answers his rhetorical question by wondering if Netanyahu will change and commit to negotiating in good faith; implying that in the past he negotiated in bad faith.
He makes no mention of the fact that Abbas has refused to negotiate at all. No mention of preposterous demands by Abbas for preconditions that in effect would preempt the negotiations altogether.
Barak hints that Netanyahu might well decide to abandon the position his party stands for, abandon the party platform that the Israeli people elected him to follow, all the while implying that this would be a good thing to do.
We the Israeli electorate are dismayed by the way our elected politicians have betrayed their promises in the past and committed themselves to policies which were not only contrary to the desires of the people, but proved to be disastrous. The Oslo Accords cost thousands of lives and decimated our international standing.
The capitulation in Lebanon brought Hezbollah to power on our northern border, and the catastrophic abandonment of Gaza brought Hamas to our southern border. These moves were all done against the will of the people, and were the direct opposite of the policies that our leaders campaigned on and were elected to perform.
I would favor a law mandating that any change in sovereignty, either an increase or decrease, would be subject to a referendum.
Only thus can we be assured that our rights will be protected. We certainly cannot trust our politicians.
STEPHEN COHEN Ma’aleh Adumim
Dental dialogue
Sir, – I read with interest The Jerusalem Post’s editorial “Yael German’s crusade” (June 30).
I agree with her policies regarding organ donations, but it was the comments on dentistry that interested me most. It is definitely a mistake to cancel fluoridation requirements. There is a crisis going on in Israeli dentistry right now, because of former deputy health minister Ya’acov Litzman’s policies. Dentists working in the public sector make ridiculously low salaries and the Health Ministry’s policies are causing many private dentists to close up shop. I believe the policies of the Health Ministry regarding dentistry are scandalous and I criticize German, who has been in office for 100 days now, for not realizing this and for not taking action.
So far, she has rejected numerous requests from dentists to engage in a dialogue over policy.
As a dentist who has been very active in advocating for dialogue between the community of dental practitioners and the Health Ministry, I can say I have been very disappointed with German’s response so far.
Sir, – Your editorial on attitudes on organ transplants is fascinating.
Your attitude and positive approach reminds me of governments labeled as extreme Left and extreme Right. In both cases, leaders feel they knew better than the individual what was good for him/her and the society.
In endorsing automatic acceptance of organ transplants, The Jerusalem Post is stating that the individual is subordinate to the group. Individual citizens will not go to government offices to state they do not want their body organs used on others, because then others will accuse them of being selfish and ornery and public pressure will try to force acceptance of the “public good.” It will indicate that a person’s body is not his/her own and can lead to abuses. This is what dictatorial regimes of the Left and Right did.
Is this what the Post and health minister advocate? Doctors/surgeons may be less likely to try save a life if that individual’s organs can do more good in another’s body. People’s lives may judged by the quality of their organs rather than by their being human.
The whole idea smacks of colonial superiority of the native population.
A. I. GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit
Fitting tribute
Sir, – Thank you for the excellent and comprehensive article on Theodor Herzl’s 109th yahrzeit by David Geffen (“Herzl’s ties to the red, white and blue,” Comment and Features, June 30).
It fittingly includes the vital role played by my late brother-in-law, US Army Chaplain Oscar M. Lifshutz, in implementing the transfer in 1949 of Herzl’s remains from Vienna to the State of Israel that Herzl had envisioned.
It is only right to mention that Lifshutz was himself an ardent Zionist, and his final resting place upon his leaving this world on November 11, 1990, is on Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem. I am often called upon to accompany visiting family members and friends who wish to pay tribute to Chaplain (Lt.-Col.) Osher Michel Lifshutz z”l.
Reach overseas
Sir, – The Israeli Chief Rabbinate is in an unholy mess (“A rabbinate begging redemption,” Middle Israel, Frontlines, June 28).
In 1952, David Ben-Gurion offered the presidency of the State of Israel to Albert Einstein, the most illustrious Jew of his time, who was living in the US. He declined.
Today, as many Orthodox rabbis are mired in scandal – financial, sexual and plagiaristic – Israel should also search outside of the country for a chief rabbi who will bring credit to the Jewish nation.
French Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim was forced to quit, Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger is under investigation, and extremist haredi rabbis are turning off so many Jews in Israel from Judaism. UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, retiring from his position, is a brilliant and inspiring Modern Orthodox leader. Appoint him as the next Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel.

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