letters good 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sir, - Re "Sailing down the Hudson with Hebron in their hearts" (June 22): Neither the Jewish Community of Hebron, nor the Hebron Fund receive outside funding from "non-profit organizations such as the Christian Friends of Israeli Communities."
The event did not raise money for Beit HaShalom, nor was it a fund raiser. And as our receipts clearly state, $55 out of the $65 ticket price was not tax deductible.
"Cruise & Shmooze" is our annual singles event designed to attract new young people to our cause.
Oven of Achna'i
Sir, - Gershom Gale started off beautifully in his op-ed "Flies and elephants" (June 26), but ran aground in dissecting his second "elephant."
He starts off with a reasonable retelling of the story of the Oven of Achna'i, but then veers unexpectedly to the conclusion that what the tale signifies is how much the sages had moved away from God, saying that this has (wrongly) been taught by "Diaspora rabbis" as "an example of the triumph of majority rabbinic rule over individual interpretation."
May I point out that, as part of my studies for this year's Machshevet Yisrael matriculation exam, I learned that the Ramban, Rambam, Rihal and various other respected authorities all agreed that submitting to the decision of the majority in rabbinic matters is of paramount importance, with the case of the Oven of Achna'i cited as a prime example of this.
Another precept emphasized by many sages is that one is not allowed to doubt the wisdom of any Torah scholars or to question their decisions.
MENACHEM G. JERENBERG
Ramat Beit Shemesh
Free Alan Johnston
Sir, - The Ramadhan Foundation joins thousands of people across the world in urging those holding BBC correspondent Alan Johnston to release him immediately without any pre-conditions.
Johnston is a journalist who has spent his time living among the people who are suffering at the hands of the Israelis; his reports have been balanced, and allowed the world to witness the apartheid being practiced by the Israelis against innocent Palestinians.
We call on those Muslims holding Alan to consider the impact on the Palestinian campaign by continuing holding him, as each day passes the fewer opportunities there are for people to tell the real story of Palestinian suffering. We hope the captors can find it in their hearts to release Alan safely to his family.
Islam does not allow this sort of kidnapping, and we urge the captors to release him unharmed.
Sir, - Consider the photograph accompanying your report of Monday's Sharm e-Sheik meeting, "To boost Abbas, Israel will release 250 Fatah prisoners (June 26). Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is shown sitting beside three Arab leaders.
There is Jordan's Abdullah II, an artificial king whose clan rules over a population that's 70% Palestinian Arab. Maintaining Jordan as Hashemite causes much of Israel's trouble with Palestinians.
Then there is Mubarak, a dictator who does nothing to stop arms and men entering Gaza through tunnels at the Philadelphi Corridor.
And, finally, Abbas - a Holocaust denier whose "security forces" made no effort to fight off Hamas and whose Fatah offshoots such as Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade are part of the problem.
And yet it is Olmert who is giving all, and getting nothing but empty words.
Sir, - Two points on Barry Rubin's excellent column, "The fall of the house of Yasser," (June 26). Mahmoud Abbas's belief in the Palestinians' "right of return" should be enough to sideline him rather than keep him on political life-support. Secondly, the Fatah vs. Hamas debate is similar to discussing whether it is better to have gonorrhea or chlamydia.
Sir, - I just heard on Israel Radio that Mahmoud Abbas has condemned Israel for liquidating a top Islamic Jihad terrorist "engineer." Tell me again why Israel, the US and EU put any faith in this tiresome windbag?
Don't blame us
Sir, - Daoud Kuttab's "'No' to false trappings of sovereignty" (June 26) includes a number of specious arguments that cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.
Kuttab complains that the occupation of Gaza continues because Israel controls the borders and collects customs for imports. But that is what sovereign states do on their borders.
Does Israel still control the Rafah crossing point between Gaza and Egypt? I thought that Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, under the supervision of the European Union, are calling the shots there.
Gazans are unable to work in Israel? Guess what? Canadians are unable to work in the United States, and Americans are unable to work in Canada. Perhaps you could explain how allowing Gazans to work in Israel would make them less dependant on Israel.
Gaza lacks resources for economic viability? What happened to all the aid money that was sent to Arafat? What happened to the industrial parks that were built along the border between Gaza and Israel to provide employment for Gazans? The Gazans attacked them because their hatred for anything Israeli is more important than their own economic well-being.
Kuttab demands territorial contiguity between Gaza and Judea. Before Bangladesh became independent, Pakistan was also composed of two non-contiguous territories that were far apart from each other. The country functioned under such conditions for over 20 years.
Kuttab complains that the Palestinian police are lightly armed. So why do I see pictures of them carrying automatic assault rifles?
Kuttab talks about withdrawal to the '67 lines. In fact, those were not borders merely cease-fire lines.
Kuttab lists all kinds of attempts by the Palestinians to bring about an end to the "occupation."
He forgot one: displaying a sincere desire for peace.
Sir, - Apropos "Historic Torah dedicated aboard US aircraft carrier 'Harry S Truman'" (June 26): A Torah dedicated a number of years ago by the Leo V. Berger Fund is presently aboard an Israeli submarine. It is my understanding that this is the first time a Torah was permanently assigned to an Israeli naval vessel.
This is particularly significant since during his lifetime Leo V. Berger was the largest private ship owner of US flag vessels in the world, and chartered a number of his ships to Zim Lines on very favorable terms for the benefit of the State of Israel and its residents.
HARVEY SCHWARTZ, President
The Leo V. Berger Fund