July 7: Opening the door

Let unauthorized puppet shows proceed, and the next thing would be on-stage incitement from official Jerusalem theater troupes of the PA.

July 6, 2013 23:17

Letters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )

Opening the door

Sir, – It may seem understandable that “Puppeteers protest cancellation of east Jerusalem puppet festival” (July 3) and believable that there was no politics in the puppetry.

Similarly, there was no heavy weaponry on the notorious Mavi Marmara when it sought to reach Gaza without Israeli inspection.

But in both cases, Israeli authority was challenged and Israel’s choice was to use it or lose it. Let the Mavi Marmara pass, and the door would be open for camouflaged arms shipments in the future. Let the unauthorized puppet shows proceed, and the next thing would be on-stage incitement from official Jerusalem theater troupes of the Palestinian Authority.


Exemplary lives

Sir, – Judy Montagu reminds us of the ideal of having consideration for others as opposed to the seemingly natural instinct of all of us to be egocentric and think only of ourselves and our own needs (“Survival of the fittest,” In My Own Write, July 3).

She does this in her outstanding writing style, demonstrating beautifully that despite the many infractions of the ideal we all encounter every day, Israel has progressed immeasurably from the near chaos of years ago when shoving ahead in lines and bullying were commonplace.

Kol hakovod to her for frequently writing articles about our everyday lives and the complexities of modern Israeli society, and encouraging Israelis to lead more exemplary lives.

Petah Tikva

Day of rest?

Sir, – The editorial “Shabbat Consensus” (July 2) was insulting and degrading to the majority of observant Anglos who have made aliya to live in a Jewish State. Lest it be forgotten, Israel is a Jewish State and not a state of Jews. For thousands of years, handed down from generation to generation, there has been the tradition of Shabbat observance.

The writer Ahad Ha’am stated “Far more than Israel has kept the Shabbat, it is the Shabbat that has kept Israel,” which the editorial proposes overturning and modernizing to suit those of a liberal persuasion who wish to do away with traditional practices.

In addition, it appears we have to take cognizance of those who were economic immigrants from the former Soviet Union and satellite states whose claim to be Jewish has proved to be tenuous, coupled with their widespread disregard for some of the basic elements of Judaism, Shabbat, kashrut, etc.

Shabbat is supposed to not only to be a day of rest, but a holy day with religious worship and instruction forming an integral part of its observance, and its observance is a positive commandment. It is the source and guarantor of family life.

The editorial is totally out of place. Woe betide us if its ideas are adopted – it will bring disaster to the Jewish people.


Sir, – The Shabbat issue calls for clear thinking and clear principles.

I suggest a clear principle: Religious coercion of any kind is inherently wrong, doubly so in a state that calls itself democratic.

In Israel, the web of coercive personal and business laws based on religious law has only caused immense damage to the state, to Judaism and to the average citizen.

It must be clearly stated again: Religion is and must always be a private matter, the state must have no part in enforcing or favoring any religion.

To maintain this in no way threatens the Jewish character of Israel, anymore than the Christian character of the US and many European and other states is threatened by liberal Sunday trading laws or gay marriage, or the French character of France is threatened because there is an English-language TV channel.

Judaism is robust and needs no artificial bolstering by unjust and unwise coercive laws. Every worker should by right and law have a proper weekend off or equivalent, but this should have nothing to do with the specific day chosen. That should and must be a matter for employer and employee alone.

Rosh Pina

Rocky past

Sir, – Michael Freund provides a keen, cutting and apt critique of the motives behind David Harris’s condemnation of Naftali Bennett’s statement that, “The attempt to establish a Palestinian state in our land has ended” (“David Harris and the AJC’s “Self- Importance Syndrome,” Fundamentally Freund, Comment and Features, July 2).

In addition to the American Jewish Committee’s rocky record of its anti-Zionism stance, some of which were enumerated by Freund, it even took positions harmful to the safety of their brethren in Europe during the Holocaust, even though their opposition to Zionism was not the motivating cause. They vigorously opposed the anti-Hitler protest rally held in March 1933. At the outbreak of World War II, the AJC ceased its independent rescue operations of European Jewry, relying on the Allied war effort to accomplish this task. By totally adopting the US government’s declared position, it abandoned its co-religionists to avoid the possible criticism that American Jews are not patriotic.

As a consequence of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel, from a Jewish point of view, the AJC was dragged into the second half of the 20th century.

However, the raison d’etre of the organization has remained the striving for acceptance by their non-Jewish neighbors. Evidently, if this goal can only be achieved at the expense of Jewish identity and safety for those living in Israel, then that’s the price you have to pay.


Harmful for peace

Sir, – The US State Department wrote that “The policy of ongoing construction in the settlements is unacceptable to us.

Both sides must work to rebuild trust... and Israel must recognize that the policy of construction beyond the Green Line is harmful for peace” (Knesset Finance Committee to hold meeting on funding for Har Homa infrastructure, July 1).

What is harmful for peace is Arab hatred of the Jewish people and our ability to survive against all odds. What is harmful for peace is continuing statements like the above coming from the US. What is harmful for peace is the groveling and idolatry displayed by our prime minister towards US President Barack Obama and his emissaries, who feel free to come to our sovereign land and dictate to us what we must and must not do.

What is harmful for peace is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreeing to a “de facto freeze” on new tenders in West Bank settlements and Jewish east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

This is just another example of Netanyahu’s double speak and double cross. I, like MK Moshe Feiglin, am very concerned that “What Netanyahu is working on with Kerry is a lot more cooked than it appears... we know what similar efforts led to in the past.

Netanyahu is going to give in to the Americans so he can tell Israelis that the US will protect them on Iran” (“Left blames Netanyahu for diplomatic stalemate, July 1).

The very thought sends shivers up my spine and should to anyone willing to open their eyes and ears.


Only the news

Sir, – What is the connection or significance to the story about an alleged rape that “the Ra’anana man is reportedly a religious father of four?” (“Owners of two Jaffa shops indicted for sexually assaulting American tourist” July 1).

Is this “news” because it is so rare to find a “religious” man committing sexual assault? Conversely, is the second alleged perpetrator, presumably “secular,” not labeled as such because we are meant to assume that sexual assault in the “secular” world is so common that it is no longer news? Are your reporters possibly displaying, at worst, just a bit of bias, or at best, an awkward attempt to somewhat sensationalize an otherwise straightforward story? Perhaps it’s time to include only the news in your news section.


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