November 1: ‘Jewish democracy’

Finance Minister Yair Lapid stated in a speech that Israel’s being both a Jewish and a democratic state was contradictory (“Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable contradiction,” October 30).

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
October 31, 2013 20:45
3 minute read.
Letters

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

 
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‘Jewish democracy’

Sir, – Finance Minister Yair Lapid stated in a speech that Israel’s being both a Jewish and a democratic state was contradictory (“Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable contradiction,” October 30).

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It appears that Lapid is confused about the words “Jew,” “Jewish” and “Judaism.” The term “Jew” comes from “Judea,” a geographic unit that was once a sovereign state.

When Judea was captured all the residents were called “Judeans” or “Jews” for short. We see this in the Arch of Titus, erected to commemorate Rome’s conquests. The memory of being a nation was kept alive in words, as in prayers and some community events, and in learning the laws that once applied, and, hopefully, would apply when political independence was reestablished.

Today we use the term “Jew” interchangeably as a religious designation and a national designation.

When writers, politicians and others want to make a comparison between Jews and other groups, the word “Jew” changes to meet the need. When “Jew and Arab” is used it refers to cultural or ethnic groups, while “Jew and Muslim” or “Jew and Christian” refer to religions.

Lapid also seems to forget, or didn’t learn, that Judaism does support democracy. In the Bible the Jewish people are to have one law (one Torah) for the Jew and the stranger. The Bible also says for the people to choose their leaders, specifically judges, police and other representatives, for various tasks.



Returning to the main point and supposed contradiction, Israel is the state of the Jews and Jews are the “national entity” by definition, and have a democracy.

AHARON GOLDBERG
Hatzor Haglilit

Sir, – With regard to “Lapid: A ‘Jewish and democratic’ state is an unsolvable contradiction,” democratic? Hardly. We can’t marry when we wish or be married by whom we wish, for starters. We have no personal representative in the Knesset who looks out for our interests ahead of his or his party’s.

When we get these things fixed we can call ourselves Jewish and democratic.

Until then, the oxymoron stands, for we can’t be Jewish and democratic at the same time, as Jewish came first, and democracy much later.

A. WEINBERG Rehovot

WoW’s magnanimity

Sir, – How magnanimous of the Women of the Wall to present a list of conditions for a solution to their prayer rights (“WoW lists demands needed to give up woman’s section,” October 29) – or, if you take the opposing view, for their offensive religious exhibitionism.

As was said by Ronit Peskin, director of Women for the Wall, the group set up to represent those ladies who actually pray there on a regular basis, “The very idea that a group that can hardly muster 100 women on a good month should dictate to the government how to run the Kotel plaza is mind-boggling. The list of demands is yet another example of WoW’s preoccupation with themselves at the expense of the Jewish people.”

As Peskin’s colleague Leah Aharoni put it, “The WoW claim to give women a voice at the Kotel, yet in reality they are there to squash the voice of hundreds of thousands of women who oppose their antics and want to preserve existing Jewish tradition.”

MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, UK

New math


Sir, – In “Fixed-line fees for connectivity to fall” (Business & Finance, October 30) we read: “The current fee averages NIS 0.04 and will be cut to NIS 0.099.”

Will wonders never cease? ROSALIE BROSILOW Rehovot The business editor responds: This misprint came from Globes. There was a missing zero. It should have read: “The current fee averages NIS 0.04 and will be cut to NIS 0.0099.”

APOLOGY The Jerusalem Post apologizes to subscribers for having included in its Friday, October 25, issue a flyer that was inappropriate.

In the future, the Post will ensure that such material is properly vetted.

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