Sir, – As Caroline B. Glick indicates in “The ZOA’s leadership challenge” (Our World, March 4), the Zionist Organization of America needs major updating and reformation, and needs to move from a 20th century to a 21st century organization. Its failure to become more than a one-man organization led by a man who micro-manages every molecule of his group’s ability to breathe is a big reason for the catatonic position in which the ZOA has been entrapped.
Glick’s list of what the ZOA needs to accomplish in the next four years is what it needed to do, but couldn’t, for the past 20 years.
Why she indicates that it can suddenly become a new and effective organization under the current frozen leadership sounds good but makes little sense.
PHILIP GILBERT Jerusalem
Answers, please Sir, – I have some questions for Gershon Baskin (“Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people,” Encountering Peace, March 3): When Ariel Sharon gave up the Gaza Strip, did we get peace? Did the whole world suddenly love us and rush to aid us? Did I miss something? Why on earth should I, not an extreme right-winger, believe that giving in to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will bring peace and prosperity to us? When rockets rain down on us, will the world say we are being disproportionate when we defend ourselves? Have we learned nothing from the Holocaust? Mr. Baskin reminds me of all the German Jews who did not believe they could come to any harm.
When Abbas welcomes convicted murderers as heroes and gives them a pension for their endeavors, he certainly does not wish us well.
FREYA BINENFELD Petah Tikva
Sir, – If US President Barack Obama were to warn Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that if he lets the peace talks fail, Obama’s administration would have great difficulty defending the PA and US subsidies to UNRWA before Congress, there might be more chance for a peace treaty – and a second Nobel for the American president.
FRANK ADAM Prestwich, UK
Call their bluff Sir, – I hear it’s almost time for more prisoner releases to “encourage” our peace partners to be more forthcoming in negotiations.
Does anyone remember that the releases were to be contingent on progress in the talks? That is why they were to be freed in batches.
To date, there has not been a smidgen of an offer on the Arab side – only more threats of violence if they don’t get what they want. And now they say that if the talks go beyond the nine-month deadline they will want more prisoners freed, plus a building freeze in the disputed areas.
When has the victorious side in a war had to pay blackmail to the losers? Only Israel is treated like this.
It is about time we called their bluff and said, “You want a state? Call us when you are ready for a true agreement.” We, too, can threaten to walk out. At least we already have a viable state despite all their efforts to destroy us.
By the way, has anyone noticed that the Ukraine crisis broke out just as US President Obama was again threatening dire trouble for Israel? Maybe God is working in mysterious ways to remind the world who is Boss. It is not Obama.
JUDY PRAGER Petah Tikva
On their coattails Sir, – Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (“Herzog tells Kerry in DC: Likud hawks, Bayit Yehudi don’t represent Israel,” March 2) got to be a Knesset member on the coattails of his illustrious Zionist ancestors, with the expectation that his performance would do honor to their memory. You would expect him to try to be a model for his own progeny, and not an affront his antecedents’ memory.
DVORA R. FRIEDMAN Jerusalem
Issues of service...
Sir, – I am surprised that Martin Stern (“Readers react to Sunday’s mass haredi protest,” Letters, March 5) believes that “‘universal sharing of the burden’ and ‘integration into the workforce’” will sound to the haredim “like Orwellian double-talk.”
Surely, all the geniuses who devote so many hours of every day to studying have sharpened their gemarakopf brains enough to understand what the rest of us are talking about.
SUSAN NAGUS Jerusalem
Sir, – The haredi community, although living mostly in the past, has failed to learn from it. Again, it is on the wrong side of a fateful issue. In the 1920s and ’30s, its leadership forbade constituents to move to Palestine, with horrific results.
In addition to their basic antipathy to Jewish sovereignty in Israel, the haredim have enabled their leadership to assume anti-Torah positions by universally adopting a relatively new and historically non-Jewish concept of da’at Torah, where they accept their rabbis’ views on virtually all daily issues, and not just Torah. Unlike the traditional psak Halacha, or ruling of law, which is published and therefore subject to peer review, da’at Torah proclamations are more like a papal bull or Islamic fatwa.
I’m not sure of the meaning of fatwa, but the bull connotation is quite clear.
SAMUEL DERSHOWITZ Jerusalem
Sir, – What we are witnessing is the purest form of societal parasitism ever to exist in a modern, technologically advanced and democratic country. There is no parallel to this in recent recorded history. It is beyond the realm of the imaginable. The haredim are taking the entire country for suckers.
There is only one answer. Refusing to serve in the military or perform national service should immediately result in the confiscation of blue identity cards coupled with the cancellation of all benefits.
Period. That will be a real wake up call.
MITCHELL RADOV Ashdot Ya’acov
Sir, – My reaction to the haredi demonstration was one of great sadness.
There is no doubt in my mind that Israel has a truly great challenge ahead in order to integrate thousands of haredi youth into both the army and the work force.
The secret is to be firm and to work in a determined manner that leaves no doubt in the minds of young haredim that Israel understands their problems and is truly concerned with their future.
These young people must understand that Israel needs their talents.
They must also understand how important internal peace is in a country that is being threatened by external enemies and pressured by friends in a manner that could endanger its existence.
Israel must find a way to convince the haredi leadership to help in this endeavor so that we can demonstrate to the world that we are united internally, and that we are strong enough to withstand outside pressure in our quest to remain a free and vital people in an area of the world haunted by hate and terrorism.
PAUL BERMAN Shoham
Sir, – It is acceptable that politicians criticize their opponents during an election campaign.
However, I have never observed a candidate for mayor who denigrates voters and maliciously and intentionally spreads hatred.
Most of candidate Eli Cohen’s posters throughout Beit Shemesh say “Let’s beat the extremists.” This traverses a red line that oversteps civil society’s rules of appropriate language during an election campaign, and unjustly criticizes the citizens of his own community.
Since when is everyone who disagrees with Eli Cohen’s candidacy an “extremist?” Why is he criticizing many of the very citizens of the community in which he wants to be elected?
ELLEN GINZ Beit Shemesh