June 20: 'Get' the coercion?

Thousands of agunotsuffer because of the rabbinate's treatment of them.

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June 19, 2007 23:49
4 minute read.
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'Get' the coercion? Sir, - "Freeing the chained" (June 19) on the Arts & Entertainment page about an initiative by fashion designers to publicize the plight of agunot quotes Robyn Shames of the International Coalition for Aguna Rights as saying "the Rabbinate refuses to release the figures." Readers maybe interested to know what happened some years ago when I approached the Rabbinate to ask how many agunot there were in Israel as I had read there were many thousands. The Rabbinate claimed there were - 15. This discrepancy intrigued me and I decided to investigate. It seems that for the Rabbinate, if a husband tells his wife: "I'll give you a divorce if you give me $50,000," such a wife is not an aguna because the husband has not refused outright to give her a get. The rabbis will not countenance the slightest hint of coercion on a husband because of the basic rule in Jewish law that the divorce must be given and accepted freely. But wouldn't a husband demanding money from his wife also be a form of coercion? RENEE BRAVO London Livni's latest? Sir, - Re "We too deserve a political horizon" (June 19): I was delighted to pick up today's Post and see the byline of our foreign minister because I was eager to know Tzipi Livni's latest thinking on the situation in Gaza - how, for instance, Israel should respond to the Hamas takeover there. What does Livni think about investing more money, guns and hope in Mahmoud Abbas. Poor me. There was nary a mention of the Hamas takeover in Gaza. Nothing about Abbas. The line "As recent events in Gaza have shown" - seemed to have been an afterthought. I understand she wrote this op-ed for an Arab newspaper, but in that she also sent it to the Post, why didn't she tell us something we don't already know. Is our Foreign Ministry so sluggish that they have no capacity to keep up with changing events? Yvette Porter Ra'anana/Paramus, NJ Sir, - The Jerusalem Post ran two opinion columns (June 19) on the current situation by Caroline Glick and by Tzipi Livni. Foreign Minister Livni speaks to the world with words the world wants to hear. She is not one to prioritize Israel's needs. Glick states the unfortunate truth: Abu Mazen is totally bereft of support even among the Palestinians who are members of Fatah. The reality is that the arms and money which are now going to be poured into Ramallah will be used against Israel and that the peace vision which is dangling before the eyes of the West will never come to pass until the terrorists are thoroughly defeated. All that's being done now is to make sure that the cost of defeating them mounts. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Convergence Sir, - There were a number of developments, seemingly unrelated, whose convergence eventuated last week's debacle in Gaza. Just to enumerate a few: If, for example, Israel hadn't withdrawn from Gaza, it is highly unlikely that Hamas would have been able to marshal its forces. If Mahmoud Abbas hadn't been so reluctant to confront Hamas, Hamas might have been contained. If the Saudis hadn't funded Hamas, their zealotry might have been thwarted. And, if Condoleezza Rice hadn't insisted that a few cameras and the good intentions of the Egyptians would be enough to secure the Philadelphi Corridor, Gaza might not have become a weapons depot. Last summer it was Lebanon. This summer it's Gaza. It might be of some help if the savants who dabble with these matters were to consider a mid-course correction. Mitchell Finkel North Bethesda Pro-active PR Sir, - Re "UK's largest trade union begins debate on boycott of Histadrut" (June 19): Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini rightly said the proposal to boycott the Histadrut by UNISON, Britain's largest trade union was "a dangerous decision." Virulently anti-Israel agitators in the UK - who comprise a small minority of all union members - will continue to find more and more Israeli organizations to boycott. While needing to fight these proposed boycotts we, the Israeli public and our government, need to be working more proactively to vigorously promote the good image of Israel so that we do not constantly find ourselves working in reaction to unjust attacks rooted in lies and media misinformation. Norman & Lola Cohen British Israel Group Jerusalem Moyal's wisdom Sir, - After reading Ruthie Blum's interview with Sderot mayor, Eli Moyal, "We're still fighting the War of Independence," (June 7), I felt like shouting, "Way to go, Eli!" I totally agree with his wise and articulately expressed perspective on the nation of Israel, her current position and specifically, the response she needs to make to the terrorists that threaten to annihilate her. I am a Christian believer who loves Israel and the Jewish people and is praying for the peace of Jerusalem. I, too, pray for a "hawkish" leader for her and believe Binyamin Netanyahu would be a great choice. Israel should not let pressure from the US or anyone else decide her course of action. She is not an occupier nor an aggressor. The Jews are still God's chosen people and when Israel returns to the Him for guidance, He will show Himself strong on her behalf. Sderot is fortunate to have leadership like Mayor Moyal. I only wish Israel had more like him! Patricia Balaguer Wilmington Delaware Happy solution Sir, - A few months back I wrote complaining about the disappearance of the 5 x 5 puzzles in Monday's Post. I see that you re-installed the puzzle and I want to thank you with much appreciation. It's the first thing I turn to every day - to see yesterday's answer, and to figure out today's. Monday was always a disappointment when the puzzle didn't appear. Mondays start much better now! Frieda E. Roseman Jerusalem

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