(photo credit: JP)
Religion in uniform
Sir, - Regarding “AG to Supreme Court: Expulsion of cadets
was justified” (September 21), the attorney general in effect has given
commanders the right to force soldiers to violate their religious
This is reprehensible and is not tolerated in the armies of
Western democracies. It cannot and must not be tolerated in the
I might point out that the prohibition of listening to a female
singer is not a personal principle, but has a firm basis in Halacha.
as it is an uncompromising rule that a soldier must obey his commander’s orders,
it is no less an uncompromising rule that a commander may not force a soldier to
violate his religious principles.
I call upon the chief of General Staff
to take corrective measures and issue instructions protecting the right of a
soldier to maintain his religious principles.DOV EDELMAN
Sir, – How could this have been a legitimate order? The attorney general should
have demanded that the commander be reprimanded for unnecessary religious
coercion. As Martin Stern pointed out in letter published on the same date
(“Sour notes”), it does not involve any military need and is comparable to
forcing women to sit at the back of the bus. Both are examples of the intolerant
attitude that “my social mores are acceptable but yours are not.”
logic of the attorney general’s advice is that soldiers should be disciplined
for refusing to take showers with members of the opposite sex. At least that
might have some justification if the facilities at a remote outpost do not allow
for any privacy – which was not the case at the IDF ceremony.
surprising that so many religious men are unwilling to join an army that rides
roughshod over their religious rights? What is really needed is good will and
mutual respect, not the insistence that each soldier obey orders even when they
violate his conscience.KATHY JONES
London Leaving in
Sir, – The ever eloquent Isi Leibler ticks off some reasons as
to why Jewish voters might be ticked off at US President Barack Obama (“Jews
defect from Obama in droves,” Candidly Speaking, September 20), including
Obama’s request that Israel apologize to Turkey.
The idea of appeasement
for Turkey is obnoxious as well as dangerous.
Ankara is now headed by a
loose canon of a regime with a propensity for violence: the Gaza gatecrashing
ship manned by IHH thugs, the bombing of Kurds in northern Iraq, and the romance
with genocidal Hamas. And now, in imitation of Mussolini’s Mare Nostrum, Turkish
Prime Minister Erdogan has threatened Cyprus for seeking to develop natural
resources in its own waters.
The proper response to such bullying is to
lay down the law. Instead, Israel is seriously considering mollifying Ankara by
supplying it with predator drones to use against the Kurds! Such actions signal
weakness that could easily lead to a military miscalculation and wider
...or are they?
Sir, – Israel’s
courting of the US Republican Party is a dangerous tactic. Except for the
“one-issue” Orthodox segment, most American Jews could never bring themselves to
support the current Republican platform, which is antithetical to what Jews have
While it is encouraging to hear vociferous
support for Israel, most of us understand the motivation behind it: the
fundamentalist Christian eschatological basis of The Rapture, and not a love of
Zion as the homeland of the Jewish people.
When American Jews step into
the voting booths, few wear a yarmulke.