Bloody Turkish soil
I wonder if, in addition to his letter of regret for the murder of Israelis on Turkish soil (“IAF plane brings 3 Israeli terror victims home from Istanbul,” March 21), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will offer compensation to the families of the deceased. It seems like the right thing to do after Israel paid compensation to the survivors of the Mavi Marmara agitators killed by Israeli personnel defending our country.
Isn’t Turkey responsible for the security of the people on its territory? ROSALIE BROSILOW
The name of one of the dead in Saturday’s terror attack in Turkey is Yonatan (Yoni) Suher, and not as reported in “IAF plane brings 3 Israeli terror victims home from Istanbul.”Just cause
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The demonstrators described in “Ethiopians hold Jerusalem march in protest over aliya stoppage” (March 21) have just cause for protest.
The Israeli government claims that an amendment to the budget laws adopted after the November 15, 2015, cabinet decision permitting 9,000 Ethiopian Jews to make aliya nullified that decision. This claim is patently false, for the following reasons:
1. The amendment was adopted only a week after the government decision. Is it credible that cabinet ministers passed the decision knowing that a law they themselves proposed would nullify it in only seven days?
2. The government adopted the decision in the presence of cabinet secretary (today Attorney- General) Avichai Mandelblit and then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein. Is it credible that they knew the decision would become invalid, yet remained silent?
3. The most eminent jurist in Israel, Meir Shamgar, a former president of the Supreme Court, is confident that the amendment does not apply.
4. Eli Groner, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, apparently did not consult Mandelblit for his legal opinion
5. One of the most respected law firms in Israel has opined that the government’s position is wrong.
6. The government is not applying the law retroactively to any other government decision.
Does it retroactively apply only to decisions that benefit the Ethiopian Jewish community?
7. The law itself contains effective dates that fall later than the date of adoption of the government resolution.JOSEPH FEIT
The writer is a former President of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry.
More research needed
Regarding Susan Hattis Rolef’s “Unjustified hatred” (Think About It, March 21), the main issue is why Orthodoxy considers itself to be the “real deal,” leading Shas’s minister of religious services, David Azulai, to say what he did on Army Radio. Mind you, I do not accept that Reform Jews are not Jews unless they are born of a non-Jewish mother or a mother who converted not according to Halacha.
That last phrase – “according to Halacha” – illustrates the crux of the problem.
Our religion is based on the belief of the Torah – both written and oral – being given to the entire nation on Mount Sinai. God, who took us out of Egypt, thereby showing He controls our destiny, gave us the outline of the Torah: the Ten Commandments initially, and the rest of the written Torah via Moses, and the details in the oral tradition.
To be an observant Jew means accepting both the written and oral law as Divine and not subject to change.
When new situations arise, such as the invention of electricity, the sages of the era have to figure out how they fit into Torah law, not how to modify Torah to fit them.
The written Torah is sometimes, even often, not very clear as to how to keep the commandments. Ms. Rolef brings one good example, that of the commandment to keep meat and milk products separate.
The prohibition of eating a “kid in its mother’s milk” occurs three times in the Torah. Why three times? And why only goats? What about calves and cows? Where did all the “contorted set of dietary laws,” as she calls them, come from? For the explanations, we turn to the oral law, written down for preservation in the Mishna and Gemara, or Talmud.
Originally, these laws were not allowed to be written down so as not to freeze them in time. But they were in danger of being forgotten during the Roman era, so Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi “broke the rules” in order to “save the rules.”
Throughout the centuries, people have debated, clarified and codified these laws. But they did not make up anything new or delete anything, and did not say “can’t apply to today,” because that would be heresy.
The people we call Orthodox are the standard-bearers of that legacy. Some are strict, some are less strict, but all accept that the written and oral laws are holy and eternal.
Can Reform and Conservative Judaism say the same? BATYA BERLINGER
Jerusalem Letters about a letter
Reader James Adler leaves us with the impression that he sleeps very well now that he has concluded that he possesses the formula for ending the BDS movement and resolving the Arab-Israel conflict (“Rx for BDS,” Letters, March 20). To achieve this state of bliss, all Israel must do is “cease settlement expansion and end the occupation.”
It is worthy to note that when Adler iterates what Israel must do, he provides not even the slightest hint as to any obligations or requirements that are expected of the Palestinian side in order to reach this messianic goal. Some points of reality that he might want to consider are:
1. The state of Israel is surrounded by hate and enmity, and the corrupt Palestinian Authority is engaged in active anti-Israel incitement in its educational system and mosques, so that the relinquishing of any territory is not doable now or in the foreseeable future. We have witnessed the results of our unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, where we were repaid with thousands of rockets.
2. The primary interest of the PA and its partner, Hamas, is not a state of their own, but the elimination of the State of Israel.
3. The discomfort of checkpoints is not the cause of terrorism.
Terrorism demands the security need for checkpoints.
4. The settlements and occupation are not the cause of BDS, as attempts to boycott Israel have been a tool of Israel-haters ever since the state’s establishment.
Contrary to reader James Adler’s opinion, the underlying illness today is the socially acceptable form of anti-Semitism known as anti-Zionism.
The BDS movement is the embodiment of this extreme bigotry.
The true goal of BDS is the total destruction of Israel. Blaming the so-called occupation and settlement expansion for the rise of BDS is a myth.
For nearly 20 years, 95 percent of the Arabs living in disputed territories have been governed by their own government, the Palestinian Authority, and thus have not been “occupied.”
Israeli construction in the territories has mostly been confined to cities and towns that would remain part of Israel under any peace agreement. A negotiated peace seems inconceivable given that the Palestinians have rejected numerous offers that would have given them virtually all the territory.
BDS is a movement of pure hatred. Blaming Israel for the existence of BDS is an absurd proposition that gives credibility to the ferocious lies upon which BDS is built.NAN KLEIN
Montebello, New York
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