letters to the editor 88.
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Sir, - "Broadcast Zionism" (October 5) made my day: My deepest appreciation to Samuel Flatto-Sharon.
Many of us have been saying for years that our hasbara - our public relations - are the worst possible. So far nobody has found a way to combat this inexplicable, very damaging phenomenon, and it was wonderful to read all about this gentleman's plans. I can hardly wait to find out how much difference his new broadcast network will make, and believe it could work wonders.
This is the nicest Succot present we could have asked for. Thank you, thank you.
'Pay to pray'
Sir, - Who would think a Yom Kippur service in a closed-down movie theater could be one of the most meaningful I have ever attended?
Rabbi Meir Chai, from Chabad of the Gold Coast of Illinois, presided over this service meant for all Jews, regardless of religious affiliation. Knowledgeable and spiritual, he showed an open love for Judaism and every Jew. He indicated that you should not have to pay to pray and suited action to word when he located a disenchanted Jew in downtown Chicago and invited him to services.
The man was upset because he had been refused admittance elsewhere, being unable to afford a ticket. I was aghast when I heard this.
He was made welcome at the Esquire Theater in downtown Chicago - even, when discovered to be a Kohen, given the highest aliya in the afternoon service.
I am cognizant that the High Holydays are the main way many synagogues make their money, but their stringent "pay to pray" policies are disturbing.
I hope the above story is unique; unfortunately, I believe it is not. But if it makes some shuls reexamine their High Holyday policy, some good will have come of it.
Yes-men are no good
Sir, - Yiftah Ron-Tal speaking out regarding the conduct of the Lebanon war and the disengagement from Gaza is not the problem. The fact that he and Rabbi Yisrael Weiss are making their voices heard now shows that the Israeli army was and still is an army of yes-men afraid to defend their military positions against politicians who don't know what they are doing ("Halutz fires Maj.-Gen. Ron-Tal," October 5).
Only "Boogie" Ya'alon was brave enough to expose the criminal stupidity of rewarding the enemy with a prize for terror, and he was punished for it.
If Israel wishes to continue to exist our leaders must have the humility to listen to the opinions of the military; and the officers of our army must have the guts to express these opinions without fear of losing their chance of advancement.
Who's a friend?
Sir, - Those who choose to describe new UK Conservative leader David Cameron as a "good friend of Israel" (as per The Jerusalem Post's October 4 report) ignore the fact that he was one of the first to loudly complain that Israel's response to being attacked by Hizbullah was disproportionate - as if he were a great military authority rather than just appealing to the ill-informed popular view in the UK.
If there is a really good and true friend of Israel in the Conservative Party it is Michael Gove, who writes for The Times and would be a real asset if he were appointed foreign minister in any victorious Conservative government led by Cameron. However, that eventuality seems most unlikely.
Rather than bland statements of "good" friendship, the Israeli public deserves a more accurate critical appraisal ("Conservative leader seen as good friend of Israel," October 4).
Pinner, Middx, UK
Come live with us
Sir, - Re "Cabinet approves extra school funding for North" (October 4): Now that Lebanon II is over, reconstruction aid is expected in the North, and we pray for a dramatic spurt of growth and development. Despite our 34 days under siege Haifa remains the same beautiful, cultured, vibrant city with its celebrated quality of life.
The modern Orthodox community in Ahuza invites young religious couples to consider making Haifa their home. Our neighborhood on the Carmel has schools, synagogues, activities for adults and children and, best of all, a warm, welcoming community. The advantages of a large city include many employment opportunities.
A "garin" framework is forming for young religious singles and families aged 22-32, and the first meeting will be held on October 8. For details, call David: (052) 364-0325; or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Not very beautiful
Sir, - Re Christoph Haarlem's "The beautiful game" (Letters, October 5) about last week's Utrecht-Ajax soccer game: The Dutch football association, KNVB, has ordered all referees to interrupt games in which supporters chant discriminatory slogans. While this ruling has indeed come into effect several times, it has never been applied to anti-Semitic slogans.
The referee in this game was Dick van Egmond, remembered by many Israeli football fans for the offside goal he granted Switzerland, thereby halting Israel's way to the World Cup.
devout Ajax fan
Sir, - A little background: Before the Holocaust Amsterdam had a big Jewish population, and Ajax is still called a Jewish club, although there are very few Jews around there today.
The "Hamas, Hamas - Jews to the gas" slogan has been chanted for decades by fans of the opposing team. The Dutch like rhymes, and Utrecht has a bad record. It was the only city in the Netherlands where Jews were not allowed to spend the night (!) until Napoleon occupied the Low Countries and introduced equality for all citizens.
That this slogan is being heard in Utrecht today is an especially bad reminder of a history that should not be forgotten.
Sir, - As the largest religious Zionist women's organization worldwide - one of whose aims is to strengthen the traditional Jewish family - Emunah vehemently takes issue with the fact that such an august newspaper as The Jerusalem Post saw fit to include the "New Family" brochure in its Yom Kippur edition.
It is ironic that controversial populist issues that threaten to undermine the stability and fabric of Jewish society should be disseminated at the time of the High Holydays, when the whole atmosphere is focused on seeking the unity of the Jewish people, so essential for our survival.
The Editor responds:
The "guide book" was not produced by, or in consultation with, the editorial department of The Jerusalem Post. I have taken steps to ensure that, in future, I am consulted over proposals to distribute any such material with the paper.
"Reading 'Mein Kampf'" (Letters, October 5) was written by Karl Huttenbauer, and not as published.