May 26: Affront to Torah

That Lapid is working to pass legislation that would recognize same-sex marriages in Israel disturbed me.

May 25, 2013 23:33

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Beersheba and banks

Sir, – There is much discussion in America concerning the need for gun control. It very much appears there is a similar need here in our own small country (“Beersheba gunman kills four in bank rampage,” May 21).

Surely it should not be a given that security personnel carry arms at all times, rather, there should be a requirement for them to return their weapon at the end of each shift. A lot more work and bureaucracy for sure, but if it saves lives, it’s worth it.

Mevaseret Zion

Sir, – David Brinn deserves credit for getting to one of real issues leading to this horrific bank massacre (“A society fraying at the edges,” Comment, May 21). It is well documented that Israeli banks are charging clients exorbitant commissions on everything and are profitable beyond comprehension.

I recently paid NIS 60 to Bank Mizrachi to deposit cash at the bank counter. I refused to put the cash in an envelope in their black hole safe. It would have taken the clerk 30 seconds to count it. These charges and others are unheard of anywhere else in the banking world. This, along with the eight-legged familycontrolled monopolies, should be the first priority of new changes.


Sir, – I found David Brinn’s article irresponsible and demagogic.

Precisely because the banks behave as they do, it is incumbent upon every citizen to acquire proper budgeting habits.

I know nothing of the perpetrator’s financial history with the bank, but banks generally extend credit far beyond what is healthy for the customer. The banks sin more in granting credit than in denying it.

As a family budget counselor, I have encountered case after case where the banks continued to offer credit when they should have instead instructed the customer to get some financial counseling (or at least made one contingent upon the other).

So if on this occasion they now refused the killer an extension of NIS 6,000, it is reasonable to assume that many times prior to the horrifying event, they indeed had accommodated him. Until the banking system in Israel becomes an adjunct of the Education Ministry, we ought not blame the banks for our financial difficulties.



Sir, – In defense of Bank Hapoalim, my husband and I, both pensioners of very limited means, have always found the staff of both our previous branch and our present branch to be unfailingly courteous, helpful and on one or two occasions, when we have had to cope with an emergency, kind.

The people at the top of the banking chain may earn obscene salaries, but the branch managers and clerks are everyday people like the rest of us doing a job to the best of their ability. I found David Brinn’s comment, coming as it did after the bank shooting, by someone obviously deranged enough to be unable to cope with the rejection of his request except by extreme violence, not in the best of taste.


Staged libel

Sir, – In regards to “Panel concludes IDF didn’t kill Muhammad al-Dura in 2000” (May 20) – why didn’t this “panel” just stay out of this story completely.

The incident took place in September 2000, nearly 13 years ago. In all this time, the response to this story from Israeli official sources has been a deafening silence – except, of course, for Ehud Barak’s initial apology. The panel’s finding now only confuse the issue.

In true political double-speak, it suggests that if he was killed by Israeli gunfire, it would have been accidental. Does Israel not know that Philippe Karsenty, a true Jewish hero, has almost single- handedly been fighting, through the French courts, the French state-owned Channel 2 TV – which initially sued him for libel, for his claim that this incident was staged and that the boy, Muhammad al-Dura, was never exposed to IDF bullets.

Karsenty was initially found guilty but on appeal, the guilty verdict was overturned, and today he is awaiting the verdict of a second appeal by the supporters of the “Muhummad al- Dura story,” who claim that the judges had no legal right to call for the viewing of the filmed footage of the event.

That this was a staged libel against Israel and the IDF is beyond question. The issue now is: How much political pressure is going to be put on the French judges who have had their verdict delayed several times? The saddest conclusion for me and countless others is why do our “leaders” not understand that the media war is as potent and dangerous to Israel and to Jews everywhere, as are bullets, bombs and suicide bombers. The government and the IDF have been less than helpful to Philippe Karsenty and to my knowledge, Charles Enderlin still holds Israeli press accreditation.


Understanding complexity

Sir, – Just as the Beduin tent that Tamara Cohen saw in her childhood camp on Israel Day every summer was Epcot-esque (“Israel must protect its Beduin citizens, not cast them aside,” Comment and Features, May 20), so too was the totally onesided presentation of the condition of the Beduin in the Negev which she saw with the group Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.

While she concedes that the issue is complex, thanks to her guides she has accepted completely the claims of the Beduin.

Her group visited an unrecognized, illegal Beduin settlement, of about 2,400 residents. They claim their village existed before the creation of the State.

Did she see any proof, any aerial photographs? Nor does she tell us how many dunams of land they have taken over.

She complains that residents of this illegal settlement cannot get building permits. I think there’s an oxymoron there somewhere.

Nor do they receive basic services such as water, electricity and health clinics. Does Ms. Cohen not understand why? Ms. Cohen has been convinced to take the Beduin claims to land ownership in the Negev at face value, although in many cases there is no proof. As a consequence, she calls the most generous government proposal to resolve the issue of Beduin settlement “a new threat” to their way of life, since it offers compensation for no more than 50% of their claims.

I hope that Ms. Cohen will arrange another trip to the Negev, this time with a group such as Regavim, who will explain the situation with facts.

Then, when she returns to Philadelphia, she can help her son’s Jewish school truly understand the complexity of the problem.



Affront to Torah

Sir, – I have been in agreement with most of the programs that Finance Minister Yair Lapid has placed on the agenda for the new government, and I applaud his courage and bold initiatives.

However, your headline stating that Lapid is working to pass legislation that would recognize same-sex marriages in the State of Israel disturbed me very much (“Lapid working to pass civil, gay marriage in Israel,” May 19).

I never dreamed that a Jewish State would legitimize something that our Holy Torah calls “an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). The harshness with which the Torah describes homosexuality testifies to the repugnance in which God holds those that engage in such practices.

None of the other prohibited relationships are described with this term of disgust. Homosexuality, however, is unnatural and therefore abominable.

It behooves us, as Jews in a Jewish State, to vehemently reject such an affront to our Holy Torah.


The writer is the rosh kollel at Yeshivat Orayta in the Old City

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