Haredim and the IDF
With regard to “Shaky coalition deal awaits PM’s okay at Sunday’s cabinet meeting” (March 9), I am an 83-year-old great-grandmother. All of my grandchildren have served in the IDF and I am deeply puzzled by the apparent paradox in haredi thinking.
An army of men, taught from birth to live by the highest moral standards of the Torah, forewarned and shielded from every non-haredi evil influence in the outer world, would surely be armored with such strength of character, wisdom, compassion and bravery that we should have the greatest confidence in their ability to bring us security either by divine or human intervention.
Why do haredi rabbis have so little confidence in their training and instruction that they fear the ability of these young men to face the challenges of the “evil IDF” and the normal world? If non-haredi young adults the world over can live decent lives, why do these rabbis demean their own young men, the products of their culture and their yeshivot, by implying they are inferior and weaker? EVELYN R. SACHS
Many Israelis, both secular and those living under rabbinical Judaism, have lost sight of what the Bible says. Numbers 32:6 – “And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall you sit here?” – seems a clear biblical order that evading army service was not an option.
Today’s Council of Torah Sages would probably argue that the children of Gad and Reuben were uneducated farmers while modern yeshiva Torah warriors are called to a higher level of commitment than spilling their blood. But how can these superior beings be so brainwashed as to not feel humiliated when they refuse to repay their moral debt to the state they are so dependent upon?
Maybe the sages would find some quote from Rambam or the Ba’al Shem Tov to manipulate. Neither was a soldier: Rambam earned his living as a physician and the Ba’al Shem Tov had many jobs, so unlike many modern yeshiva students, they were contributing members of society.
Ironically, the haredim clearly could contribute to our security: With their inclination for violent rioting, they would make ideal combat soldiers.BOB KNIGHT
The real Bibi
I call your attention to “Who is the real Bibi?” (Editor’s Notes, March 9) and offer this answer to Yaakov Katz:
• He is the guy who resisted the malign actions of the Obama Administration for eight years.
• He is the guy who transformed a moribund, Left-led economy into the thriving economic powerhouse.
• He is the guy who has had to deal with a fundamentally-flawed, multi-party parliamentary system that makes principled decisions very problematic.
• He is the guy who has forged foreign relationships with many former enemies. Can it be possible that Mr. Katz does not know the following:
• That the skewed system of police investigations in Israel is a perversion of democracy and reminiscent of the late-20th-century USSR?
• That in years of sifting through the prime minister’s trash, there has still not been a single provable instance of corruption?
• That the hatred of the Left and the leftist media for the prime minister has cast a cloud over anything he does, regardless of the lack of proof?
• That for all the accusations of illegal actions, there were always sound, legal reasons for doing each of them? Yes, the Left wants Netanyahu out. Were Netanyahu a saint, perhaps the hate quotient would not be so intense. But the question Mr. Katz poses speaks of a naiveté unworthy of him.CHAIM ABRAMOWITZ
It has become a witch hunt! After almost two years of investigations, it seems the Attorney-General’s Office has lost control!
The police are running wild. They have driven the population crazy with all the crazy rumors, and have given the press hundreds of field days. They are turning Israel into a police state just like the Romania of Ceausescu.
The situation has now gone beyond all sense of proportion and a stop must be made. If the attorney-general cannot regain immediate control, then it is up to the Knesset to take urgent and immediate action. It should be made loud and clear that the only way to get change is through the ballot box and not by desperate police who just arrest and arrest and accuse and accuse!
It is so obvious that their recommendations carry little weight and they are desperate just to find something that will stick. I refer to Caroline B. Glick’s “There is no there here” (Column One, March 2). She analyzed each and every charge made against the prime minister and showed how frivolous the police cases are.HAYYIM EDINBURG
A march for us, too.
I agree with Emily Schrader (“Reckoning day for the Women’s March,” Comment & Features, March 8) that writing an article instead of participating in the Women’s March is a good idea. But I think that organizing a women’s and men’s march for Jewish equality and against antisemitism is a better idea.
How about “Let My People, Too,” sometime in early Nisan? PESACH ROGOWAY
Zandberg dilutes WoW message
Information in the recent article about Tamar Zandberg (“Probable Meretz leader: I want to be Diaspora’s voice,” March 6) should concern supporters of the Women of the Wall movement and, by extension, egalitarian prayer at the Kotel. According to Ms. Zandberg herself, although she is active in the WoW group and prominently displays her colorful tallit (prayer shawl) on a shelf in her office, she is secular and does not believe in God.
While I pray in a synagogue with traditional practices in terms of seating and leading services, I do not wish to impose my practices on those who express their connection to God in another manner. I applaud and support the WoW members with whom I am acquainted for their desire to express in a personally meaningful way their deeply held religious convictions. But along comes Zandberg, apparently with no religious beliefs at all, and attaches herself to the movement.
One wonders whether she has done this to gain votes or perhaps to further social causes unrelated to any belief in a Supreme Being. If either explanation is accurate, she is harming the WoW movement by seeming to confirm its opponents’ charges that the organization is primarily a secular social justice group wrapping itself in religious symbols.
A tallit is not a prop. It should be used by those who understand and accept its religious foundation. If Ms. Zandberg wishes to advance her social agenda (with which I do not necessarily disagree), she should do so openly rather than exploit the WoW movement and dilute its message.
The need for term limits
It is vitally critical to limit a prime minister’s leadership to two terms. There are many reasons, including the benefit of avoiding years of building give-and-take relationships with machers and the benefits accrued to MKs who will have increased opportunities to run for the post of prime minister.
Activists, get out and raise the pressure to improve our democratic system!