Sir, – Last Saturday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu politely asked President Shimon Peres for an extension to form a government. He went on to compare the boycott of goods from Judea and Samaria with the boycott of haredim by Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi (“PM: I won’t accept boycott of haredim by Bennett, Lapid,” March 3).
This is our prime minister’s way of fanning the flames.
I, a voter for the Likud, seem to remember Netanyahu taking his time to merely congratulate Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett for his election success, and even longer to invite him to discuss joining a coalition.
Was this not a boycott? Was not this small-minded thinking or, even worse, payback thinking? Just as my conscience bothers me for having supported Ariel Sharon in the past, this makes me wonder about my latest vote.
I only hope that I will have the opportunity to vote again in the near future and boycott the party I have voted for since 1969.YISRAEL (IAN) LAST
Sir, – I wish that United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush and others would stop referring to the haredim as the “Torah world” (“Haredi leaders strike out at Bennett, Lapid,” March 3).
That sector of Judaism does not have a monopoly on the Torah. As far as I am concerned, all of Israel is the Torah world, and while I am not haredi I am part of that world.
Sir, – As I watch the politicians wheeling and dealing with one another, and as I hear “sharing the burden” being used and abused, I want to share with you my thoughts on the real meaning of the phrase.
Sharing the burden means:
• Not sleeping for three years while your son is in the army
• Praying that you will not have to be in the military cemetery each Memorial Day together with so many families whose lives will never again be the same
• Not having the whole family around the Seder table for three years or longer – even if your soldier does come, he falls asleep over the haroset from exhaustion
• Watching your son buy his books for university when his peer group throughout the world is well into earning a living.
Sharing the burden means:
• Knowing that, God forbid, should the need arise, everyone around you has someone in the family who can defend them and need not rely on you and yours
• Rejecting the idea that community service can take the place of army service. It just does not cut it
• Rejecting the excuse that “the army does not know what to do with us.” My IDF, which has worked miracles in the absorption of every culture and background, and which has played an integral role in forming one Jewish, Zionist entity, will continue to do so no matter how challenging it might be.
Sharing the burden means:
• Proudly watching your soldier make time to learn from the Torah while wearing army fatigues, being as learned as anyone else and giving just as good a Torah sermon
• Hundreds of thousands of fellow Jews who have turned their back on the beauty of religion will once again have a deep respect for both the sources and their fellow Jews.
Sharing the burden means being counted among the Children of Israel. “All the children of Israel were counted according to their fathers’ houses, from 20 years and upward, all who were fit to go out to the army” (Numbers:1:45).RUTH RADBERG
Call them ‘so-called’
Sir, – To label a group of homosexuals who met on the Sabbath as “Orthodox,” as in your headline “Orthodox homosexuals group holds first ever Shabbat event in Jerusalem” (March 3), is a gross misrepresentation. At most, you should have placed the term Orthodox in quotation marks.
These homosexual Jews may wear kippot all the time, keep the Sabbath and even Jewish dietary laws, but their brazen rejection of one of the Torah’s mitzvot and advocacy of anti- Torah behavior disqualifies suggestions of piety and Orthodoxy.
The commandments to not engage in illicit sexual relations form a central theme of the Torah reading during the afternoon on Yom Kippur. Claiming alternative, relativist or modern Torah interpretations places them squarely in other camps more akin to Conservative or Reform Jews.
You can certainly point out that these individuals claim to be Orthodox, but you also must say that such a label would be rejected by all rabbinic authorities of repute.
In a democratic society, one can call himself anything he wants. However, The Jerusalem Post should be above the fringe.
Journalistic standards require it to adhere to normative definitions and cull through agendadriven propaganda, sectarian advocacy and political correctness, preferring accuracy instead.
Jerusalem Those wildflowers
Sir, – After moving to Jerusalem in November 1949 from England’s green and pleasant land (where most outdoor flowering plants lie dormant in the winter’s cold), I was, like Herb Keinon (“Turning weeds into flowers,” Out There, March 3), amazed and enchanted by the miraculous Israeli spring – the awakening from summer brown to spring green and wildflowers brought forth by winter rains.
Like millions of people before me, I walked and was guided by locals around the country to see, learn, recognize and name Israeli wildflowers, trees and bushes – and even weeds. I bought little booklets containing accurate and beautiful color paintings of wild flowers and plants from different regions of the country, with their names printed in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Latin and other languages.
I learned about generations of accumulated herbal folklore and folk remedies associated with the plants of the countryside.
As a fellow immigrant and as an Israeli parent and grandparent, I wish Herb Keinon and his family many happy and instructive springtime walks together.
Sir, – I am very fearful of the upcoming trip to Israel by US President Barack Obama.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may have buckled once again – even before Obama’s arrival – by ordering a cessation of building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Are we a banana republic or are we an independent country? Is Jerusalem ours or are we admitting that it might not be ours? Israelis are still waiting for any action or speech that will give us the confidence that the Palestinians want to live in peace with us. To date, only the opposite is true.BILL WEBER
Jerusalem Syrian opening
Sir, – Three members of the IDF – Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman – have been missing in action for over 30 years, since the infamous battle at Sultan Yakub during the first Lebanon war in June 1982.
Over the years there have been persistent reports suggesting that Zack, Yehuda and Zvi may have been, and perhaps still are, captive in Syria.
While the outcome and consequences of the ongoing civil war in that country are not known, it is clear that for the first time since 1982 the ironfisted, totalitarian control of the country has been lifted. The current chaos there could present an opening and provide unprecedented opportunities for obtaining information.
It is imperative that the Israeli government and its security services seize this opportunity.