November 4: Who's to blame

According to Maimonides, a man who refused to give his wife a get when ordered to do so by the religious court was to be flogged until he agreed – or died.

(photo credit:)
(photo credit: )
Who’s to blame
Sir, – Jeremy Sharon (“Bill passed in committee streamlining the sanctions process for ‘recalcitrant husbands,’” November 2) writes that new legislation “may obligate religious courts to hold hearings on applying punitive sanctions to a husband who is ignoring an order to give his wife a get, or bill of divorce.”
This move is unlikely to work unless the rabbinic courts are allowed to apply the Halacha without interference by advocates of “universal human rights.”
According to Maimonides, a man who refused to give his wife a get when ordered to do so by the religious court was to be flogged until he agreed – or died. It is likely that the secular, left-leaning cadre that effectively controls Israel would object to its implementation, so it is these people, and not the rabbinic courts, that are really responsible for the impasse suffered by these unfortunate women.
MARTIN D. STERN
Salford, UK
Why the secrecy?
Sir, – The idea of closing a school at Yitzhar (“Ministry closes high school at Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, November 2) leaves many questions.
The yeshiva is a bedrock of Jewish patriotism and loyalty to the ideals of Zionism. Some of the matters in question relate to secret documents. These documents should be open to the public. If there are anti-state ideas being taught there, people should know.
There have been some arrests made in conjunction with violence against mosques, but the young people have been released for lack of direct evidence.
We rightfully do not go against Islamic institutions that preach incitement because we value free speech so highly. Shouldn’t the same value be the norm in regard to Jewish institutions?
THELMA SUSSWEIN
Jerusalem
Grateful to Sami
Sir – Last week I underwent angiography in a state-of-the-art facility that’s part of a large, new building devoted to coronary care at Sourasky (Ichilov) Hospital in Tel Aviv. A member of the staff told me it cost $100 million to build, and that the late industrialist Sami Ofer paid the whole sum.
Seth J. Frantzman rightfully deplores the desecration of Ofer’s grave (“Disgraceful behavior,” Terra Incognita, November 2).
Nothing can detract from the reputation of such a man and his philanthropy.
LESLIE PORTNOY
Netanya
Time has come
Sir, – Regarding “First ‘Jewish Federation of Israel’ to make debut at GA” (October 31), Israel today is not the Israel of yesteryear.
Discounting the deprived and needy, there are areas and towns in Israel that are exclusively inhabited by people of substantial affluence.
Jews in the Diaspora have been heavily affected by the economic meltdown in Europe and the US, and the time has thus come for the introduction of sophisticated fund-raising in Israel to support the many worthy and charitable causes so far maintained by Jewish communities outside.
LEILA CUMBER
London
The Christian way
Sir, – We read of the Greek priest reacting to the yeshiva student who spat in his direction by punching him in the face (“Judge quashes indictment of pugilistic priest,” October 31). Admirably, in my view, the judge exonerated the priest.
According to Christian teaching, however, the priest should have been admonished by his superiors for not “turning the other cheek.”
Israel is held to ransom by the entire world, which expects us to turn the other cheek when rockets are fired at us daily from Gaza. Although such behavior was never part of Jewish theology, could it be that the international Christian community demands its fulfillment only from Jews?
ADRIAN BECKER
Jerusalem


Tags yitzhar