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
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
MARK L. LEVINSON
Herzliya 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rehovot Harmful for peace
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
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
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