Danger: Mines ahead
Sir, – The concept of conversions has always been a hot
potato, and J.J. Gross writes a logical article (“IDF conversions and the Book
of Ruth,” Comment & Features, June 7).
The situation is exacerbated
by the attitude of the Chief Rabbinate, which sees itself as the Jewish
equivalent of the pope.
The Talmud states a very straightforward way of
dealing with this situation, and while it may be too simplistic as written,
there is no reason to surround the ruling with a minefield so that even the most
resolute person wishing to convert is put off completely.
are not an evangelical religion, heaven forefend. But we really can’t afford to
turn away people who could enhance our Jewish way of living. I was involved in
conversions and there were some real pearls among the applicants.
interesting to note that in London, the Masorti and Reform movements approached
the United Synagogue – which seems to hold everyone in a nutcracker – and were
quite prepared to add content to their preparatory courses so that the three
mainstreams could have a joint conversion process.
The beit din of United
Synagogue condemned every idea out of hand. Even today, there is an official
forum for the movements to meet, and most often the United Synagogue absents
itself or is unwilling to move one inch.
I am not suggesting that we try
to find another six million, but we shouldn’t exclude people because the
Orthodox want to keep a tight grip on their power.HARVEY GREEN
Netanya Capture, don’t shoot
Sir, – Regarding “IDF preparing for Al-Quds Day riots along
borders, in West Bank” (June 7), if I understand correctly, the basic sticking
point in the liberation of Gilad Schalit is the number of Arab prisoners to be
released in exchange. So instead of shooting, why not capture the Naksa
protesters, create a fenced encampment near the border and offer their
liberation in exchange for Schalit? As their number is conspicuous, keeping them
in view of the border would be humiliating and could be an efficient method for
putting pressure on Schalit’s captors.ROBERTO JONA
Torino, Italy Why the
Sir, – I was very heartened when Prime Minister Netanyahu was brave
enough to publicly tell US President Barack Obama that Israel cannot return to
the indefensible pre-1967 borders or negotiate with a government that includes
Hamas, whose charter calls for the killing of Jews wherever they
Therefore, I am curious as to why, when France’s foreign minister
proposed a conference based exactly on what Netanyahu told Obama he was against,
Israel responded that it would “study” the matter (“Netanyahu tells cabinet he
is weighing French proposal for international conference,” June 6).
Israel more afraid of offending France, which more often than not is on the
Palestinian side, than it is the United States? BEN KLEIN
Sir, – Prime
Minister Netanyahu said he “made clear” to French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe
that “for Israel to engage with a unified Palestinian government, Hamas would
have to accept the three conditions set by the Quartet....”
I am begging
the prime minister to make a stand just as he did when President Obama
outrageously called for us to retreat to undefensible borders. The sky did not
fall in – Obama had to backtrack.
It would make no difference whether or
not Hamas decides to accept any conditions; it would last only until we were in
such a position as to be totally defenseless, just as would happen if there were
ever, heaven forbid, another terrorist state in our land.
We have no
obligation to go along with all our so-called friends who come to us with their
solutions, which are only to satisfy their own egos. We must take back what is
ours, including all our holy sites. We must show that we mean business and will
never again be the one to be sacrificed.
So go for it, Mr. Netanyahu, and
see how good you will feel as the prime minister of a nation that finally stands
up to its tormentors.YENTEL JACOBS
Netanya Lacking basic values
“Teen stabbed dead at Beersheba party” (News in Brief, June 5) is so sad.
Perhaps if these 16-year-olds had learned the basic values of human life, one of
Philip Geller’s friends might have stayed behind and called for immediate help,
and he would have survived.JOYCE KAHN
Petah Tikva Added anticipation
Sir, – Liat Collins’s June 5 column (“Conquering Masada,” My Word) heightened my
I was going to Masada to a performance of Aida. Nothing
prepared me for the majesty and grandeur I experienced. Such a fantastic
performance, full of pomp, power and grace. And all this in
Looking forward to next year and Carmen.HELENE MESSINGER
Jerusalem Pro-LNG plant here
Sir, – At a recent conference (“Energy leaders
advocate export plan for country’s liquefied natural gas and shale oil,”
Business & Finance, May 23), I was amazed to read that a participant
claiming to be an energy specialist stated with reference to the Leviathan gas
field: “It would’ve been great to link the field to Israel – to do it in
Ashkelon or Eilat – but the Israeli public will not allow construction of a
major LNG plant here.”
There is no logic in such a statement, given that
Israel is dotted with major refineries, petrochemical installations, electrical
generating stations and chemical plants that are far more polluting than a
facility to liquefy natural gas. The Israeli public knows nothing about this
type of facility, and thus is unable to make a valid judgment.
been a lot of scaremongering by the green lobby to sway public opinion regarding
an LNG plant, but there have not been any arguments made to promote the
virtually pollutant-free facility to liquefy and possibly purify the
Talk about building such a facility in Cyprus takes away
construction jobs and subsequent operational employment from this country to
benefit another country. And then there are the security aspects. I doubt there
is any place in the world where such a scheme operates.
As a professional
engineer who has designed and engineered major oil and gas projects, as well as
refineries and LNG facilities world-wide, I can unequivocally state that siting
such LNG plants in Israel will not give rise to any major pollution or the
release of greenhouse or toxic gases.COLIN L. LECI
Not much of
Sir, – We keep hearing from media and government spokesmen the world
over about the “Arab Spring.” Correspondents ecstatically report how the people
have taken to the streets to demand freedom and democracy after decades, if not
centuries, of autocratic and tyrannical regimes. Really? Ya think? What makes
anyone think that the Arab street has a clue as to the meaning of democracy,
freedom, human rights and religious tolerance? To compare this unrest to the
“Prague Spring” of more than four decades ago is absurd. There are no
guarantees, but it is disingenuous to expect anything other than new autocratic
and repressive regimes to replace the old ones, and the continuation of the
religious hatred for non-Muslims as well as other Muslims.
If this is
spring, I’m not looking forward to summer.NISAN JAFFEE