Danish red alert
Sir, – With regard to “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (April 4), I don’t know what to think about that country, or what anyone can think about it. It sounds like a country so amoral it is beyond belief.
This is 2014 and Denmark legally allows bestiality, which means having sexual relations with animals. This is a psychological perversion of horror. Yet it does not allow shechita, or Jewish religious slaughter, a tenet of Jewish law that is humane. How can this possibly be? It is very peculiar that the United Nations has never taken up the case of a country that has legalized bestiality. It is one of the most difficult concepts to ever understand. This story of what is happening in Denmark should send a red alert to the civilized world.THELMA SUSSWEIN Jerusalem
Sir, – According to Leviticus 20:15, if a person engages in bestiality, both he and the animal should be killed.
The question remains, though: If an animal is subject to bestiality, can it ever be kosher? If not, it is logical that no animal in Denmark can be slaughtered for kosher meat.
You would have no way of knowing if, for example, the chicken you are eating was violated by a human being.GIDEON HACK Zichron Ya’acov It’s not okay
Sir, – Following a spate of gang rapes involving minors – and the near certainty that what is reported in the news reflects only a minor segment of such acts (“Is it time to combat youth sexual violence here on a national level?” April 4) – when will the governing and judicial authorities in this country finally understand it’s time to block all forms of pornography? This is a necessity. It certainly does not counter individual freedoms in an enlightened state; it actually does the opposite.
Not one of us has been spared exposure to pornographic programming on public media of one sort or another.
I ask: What do you think this does to the minds and awareness of our youth? The answer can be seen in today’s news.
Judicial and other forms of opposition to the banning of pornographic content sends a clear message – that rape is okay.GIDEON BEN YACOV Ra’anana They got it good
Sir, – Employing haredim takes more than the willingness of conventional employers to hire them (“Lapid to business- owners: Hire Haredim,” April 3). It requires that haredim show an interest in being legitimately employed, something not likely to happen.
Legitimate employment means declaring one’s income and paying taxes. In turn this would mean a suspension of government handouts, tax reductions, waivers, health benefits and more, all of which are worth thousands of shekels per month.
What Finance Minister Yair Lapid fails to grasp is that a great many haredim do, in fact, work. But since they work “off the books,” they not only avoid paying taxes, they continue to claim poverty and garner all the benefits accruing to the poor, and can still get their government- funded yeshiva stipends for their no-show enrollment in wink-wink kollels.
Estimates of the total “package” a haredi can make between sub-rosa work, poverty claims and a kollel stipend run well in excess of NIS 15,000, a sum no employer can afford to pay a functionally illiterate worker.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem Knock it down
Sir, – “The harder they fall” was the headline on Gil Hoffman’s April 1 analysis of the Holyland rap sheet. But justice has to be seen to be done.
Knock it down.
What about the innocent people who bought homes at the Holyland development? How will they be compensated? The guilty ones have money. A few months in jail will not lessen their riches; they must compensate the innocent.
Then the bulldozers must come and destroy every part that makes a mockery of the wonderful name. If necessary, rebuild it – to the size originally planned – and sell the apartments to those who are first on the list. Call it New Holyland.
STEPHEN POHLMANN Tel Aviv First, our unity
Sir, – Notwithstanding the date of his column, Michael Freund makes an interesting and bold suggestion (“Build a ‘Young Israel of the Temple Mount,’” Fundamentally Freund, April 1).
Being a longstanding member of the Young Israel of Kfar Ganim, about to celebrate its 40th year, I can attest to unusual harmony between our members.
We have two former active supporters of the Kahane movement who happily coexist with other members who refuse to cross the Green Line. There is an unwritten rule that politics remain outside the synagogue doors. There has never been an acrimonious word because of politically held views.
Building a similarly run Young Israel on the Temple Mount might at least demonstrate to Jews that we could live in harmony together, for it would be counter-productive to build a prayer house on the Temple Mount only to have it mired in synagogue politics. That would defeat the object of the exercise.
Until we can guarantee harmony at least there, it is better to maintain the dream of what might be rather than the nightmare of what would be.ALAN (SHLOMO) KOOR Petah Tikva
Sir, – Your editorial “Say VAT?” (March 30) assumes that economists know best how to run society and that Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s plan to cancel the value added tax on apartments bought by a particular sector of our young population will cause a general increase in the cost of housing.
Economists are accountants of statistics and history who provide pie and bar charts to the decision-makers. This is similar to the way blood and other tests provide data to the doctor treating a patient. Elected leaders and the heads of business seeing the big picture for the marketplace take responsibility to decide what actions will be beneficial and just.
VAT is a tax we citizens give to our Treasury to help finance our common needs. Lapid saw that young couples who gave several years of service to the country or community – when they could have been working or studying – do not have the savings needed to become owners of their first home. He decided, as the person responsible for our communal funds, that a just remedy would be to forgo the 18 percent VAT and make it possible for those who served to have the happiness of their own home.
There is no reason this would cause apartments or the general housing market to rise in price. Contractors do not benefit from the VAT they forward to the government, and where they give a loan to a buyer they must pay a VAT. Established families will buy more expensive and larger apartments that are not effected by the lower- price niche.RAPHAEL BEN-YOSEF Ramat Gan
Let ’em know Sir, – With regard to “Rolling Stones fans get what they want – a Tel Aviv concert in the park on June 4” (March 26), the scheduled arrival of the Stones in Israel will be a big event if it happens. It will be an even bigger event, though, if the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement prevents it from happening.
Supporters of Israel should contact the band and its management to encourage them to perform in Israel. We all need to get on the bandwagon.JONATHAN D. REICH Lakeland, Florida
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