Sir, – History may show the year 2010 as the beginning of the “internal aliya” of the haredim, as they are being force out of their protective shell and given a nottoo- gentle push into the mainstream of Israeli life (“Supreme Court to reconsider imprisonment of Emmanuel mothers,” June 20).
With the removal of subsidies, tougher enforcement of the Tal Law and now the intervention of the Supreme Court into the private lives of the haredim, Israel is sending a very strong message to this community that it is truly needed to help boost the economy and strengthen the armed forces at a time when Israel is under attack and isolated.
I hope the Supreme Court will put aside the two-week incarceration and press for a peaceful resolution to the problem. By being flexible, the court may be in a position to make it clear that even though it has the power to incarcerate these women, it is also in a position to show mercy.
The only way Israel will prevail on the world stage is by settling its internal disputes.PAUL BERMAN
Sir, – It would seem that we now have a new cult here in Israel – the haredim, who refuse to recognize our courts, brainwash their children, and reject all who disagree with their dress code (which incidentally is completely unsuitable for this country).
Regarding their schools, it’s about time we stopped paying! ROSE BARR Moshav Shoresh Woman as weapon Sir, – Samar Alhaj, leader of the boat scheduled to sail from Lebanon to Gaza, issued a rather fatuous statement (“Organizer of Lebanese flotilla: Women are secret weapon against ‘thieving enemy,’” June 20).
Women or not, they will be able to deliver their cancer medication after the cargo has been examined to ascertain that no weapons have made the trip as well. Does she really think that the fact they are women will dissuade us from suspecting foul play? Her further statement, after denying they have missiles – “you will see what they will do to us sounds” – sounds as though she is trying to provoke a battle. She will be disappointed.MARCELLA WACHTEL
Jerusalem Backbone needed
Sir, – I could not believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the inner cabinet agreed to ease the blockade on Gaza (“Gaza restrictions eased, but naval blockade remains,” June 18).
Where is their backbone? Our enemies and detractors will receive this news with glee and say it proves the blockade was wrong all along. Do we not have the courage of our convictions? It seems not.
Why does Netanyahu never stand by his red lines? As soon as trouble looms he backs down. He is a huge disappointment to his many supporters who mistakenly voted for him in the hope that he would stand firm against outside pressure.
Every time he capitulates, he will lose thousands of votes in the next election.
Not even a quid pro quo on the release of Gilad Schalit! What a disgrace! JUDY PRAGER
Petah Tikva Interesting letter
Sir, – Judith Ann Sullivan wrote an interesting letter to the editor (“One less friend,” June 18). The letter was obviously written by a sensitive and decent woman because in it, she speaks of kindness and compassion for “innocent Palestinian women and children” as well as her own past feelings of unshakable solidarity with Israel. She also invokes the Diary of Anne Frank
as being behind the need to defend and protect the Jewish State, “no matter what.”
It is therefore sad to read that Sullivan has now changed her mind and ends the letter by urging President Obama and Congress to withdraw financial and military support from Israel immediately.
With all due respect, her source of information is inaccurate. The truth is that Israel is facing an ongoing war against its physical existence: From suicide bombers to rocket attacks on civilians, we have not had a moment of peace.
When lamenting the selfimposed plight of the Palestinians in Gaza, why does Sullivan ignore Israel’s 2005 withdrawal or its daily delivery of 200 trucks of food and medicine? What other nation in history has supplied aid to an enemy that vows to destroy it? But most disappointing of all is the incredible conclusion she has reached. If her advice were to be taken – perish the thought – Israel’s ability to defend itself would result in many more Ann Franks, whose fate moved her so.
Perhaps the writer’s efforts would be better served by appealing to Hamas to free Gilad Schalit and start serious nation-building in Gaza.YITZCHAK BEN-SHMUEL
Modi’in Get Gissin!
Sir, – Regarding this country’s hasbara, I would suggest that the dynamic, charismatic Dr. Ra’anan Gissin heads the department (“Experts to discuss hasbara at Tel Aviv conference,” June 18).’ Gissin is a compelling speaker who certainly knows what is going on. Israel needs a person like him to put things in a positive light.
Israelis are not backward in coming forward in other ways, and it is time the outside world heard from him.SALLY SHAW
Kfar Saba Choose one
Sir, – David Horovitz (“The ties that drowned,” June 18) relates how Turkey has had a fine history of friendship with the Jewish people.
That can no longer continue with a Turkish leadership guided by fundamentalist Islam.
Under strict Islamic doctrine, there can be no non-Moslem political entity in an area previously subject to Islamic rule. Jews, Christians and other infidels must be relegated to dhmmitude, or second-class status, under Islamic domination.
Eventually, the Turks will have to relearn the same lessons that Kemal Ataturk and the Young Turks discovered decades before: that fundamentalist Islam is incompatible with modernity.DAVID KATCOFF
Jericho, Vermont Cup? Yup!
Sir, – In reference to “Cup, Shmup” (Letters, June 17), look at it this
way: Regardless of “better judgment” or the lack of English TV news,
maybe we, especially here in Israel, need the broadcasts of the World
Cup to get beyond the continual doom and gloom of everyday news.
Perhaps the great jubilation and unaffected joy of millions is exactly
what is necessary – the plain, nonintellectualized togetherness and
elation of coming together under the flying banner of sport.
Sir, – In your editorial “A learned ruling” (June 15) and the subsequent
opinion pieces and letters, much ink has been spilled over whether or
not it is beneficial for the state to spend millions on men learning in a
While arguments can be made in both directions, the core issue seems to
have been missed by all parties. It does not matter whether this is
money well or fairly spent – all that matters is whether or not a court
is the appropriate venue for a decision.
The power of the purse is rightly the domain of the legislative branch,
the Knesset, and, to a lesser extent, the executive branch. Every day,
the state spends money on one priority at the expense of another: roads
vs. trains, defense vs. education, etc.
This is the very definition of economics, the allocation of scarce
As long as no law is directly violated, the allocation of funds, fairly
or not, is not subject to judicial review. No court has a right to
interfere in the allocation decision, and any such interference, as in
the kollel case, is a violation of the separation of powers and, ipso
facto, itself illegal.
The people, through their elected government representatives, have every
right to change such prioritization through the messy, but ultimately
democratic, electoral process.