Welcome in question
I read with extreme sadness the attempt in Israel to recognize only those conversions performed by bodies overseen by the Chief Rabbinate and the country’s religious court system (“Shas pushing explosive bill denying citizenship for Reform converts,” May 12).
Israel seems to treat its citizens unequally (like we Jews were treated historically). This is politically dangerous and discouraging to Diaspora Jewry and our love for a country that is supposed to be our refuge.
I grew up with Orthodox parents who later moved to Reform Judaism when kosher food became nearly impossible to obtain. I have relatives in Israel and lost family in the Holocaust. I am concerned that I will not be welcome.
Ocean Park, Washington‘Lancet’ and lessons
Prof. Richard Horton’s complete turnabout in his attitude and actions as chief editor of The Lancet (“Lancet goes on charm offensive in Rivlin meeting,” May 12) is another example of why Israel needs to allow anti-Israel activists, even the misinformed supporters of BDS, into Israel: Meet them at the airport with a tour bus and a professional, non-politically biased tour guide, and show them the human side of life in Israel.
It was not the government that invited Prof. Horton, for there do not seem to be sufficiently intelligent leaders there. It was the directors of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba who made him welcome so that he could see for himself the lack of discrimination at every level of employment and patient care, with Arabs and Jews working side by side and receiving equal levels of care and facilities.
In addition, he was witness to the amazing humanitarian treatment of war-wounded from Syria and of children brought in from the Gaza Strip and other countries that consider themselves enemies of Israel. These patients are receiving life-saving treatments and sent home in good health.
Political activism has no place in a medical journal, but Prof. Horton has brought out a series of articles praising the medical care in Israel and its availability to all who need it, regardless of religion, race or ethnic origin. I admire him for his bravery in admitting his previous errors, but mostly I admire the management and staff of those Israeli medical centers that welcomed him and showed him the truth. It was only on his second visit that he met with President Reuven Rivlin and spent time at Yad Vashem.
Our political leaders should learn some lessons from this experience.
Hamas’s dirty secret
Regarding “ISIS’s dirty secret” (Frontlines, May 12), Seth J. Frantzman expresses amazement that ISIS was able to prolong its resistance because those fighting it were tepid in targeting it.
Does this not sound exactly how Israel is dealing with the terror rulers of Gaza? Israel facilitates the transfer of cement so that those dedicated to our murder can build tunnels. We supply them with electricity so that they can continue to manufacture rockets and weapons. We also supply them with water and other necessities.
Is this not the same tepid policy that in effect enables Hamas to prepare for the next round?
In “Change the narrative, Mr. President” (As I See It, May 12), Melanie Phillips writes: “What the author of The Art of the Deal needs to realize, however, is that the solution lies in grasping that a deal here is impossible....”
Ms. Phillips is right. But why is the deal impossible? Because the Palestinians follow what is written in their holy texts (e.g., “Kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out”).
According to Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer, this means that “no land that has ever belonged to Muslims or been ruled by Muslims can ever legitimately in the eyes of Islam be ruled by non-Muslims.”
Michael Freund highlights limits on religious expression that are rooted in security considerations (“Why can’t Jews pray freely in the Jewish state?” Fundamentally Freund, May 12).
Not being an expert in security (neither is Freund), I won’t comment on this. But Freund does not comment on the unprecedented campaign by Orthodox and haredi extremists against the Jewishness of the large majority of the Jewish people. It is this political aberration that truly threatens Jews in their own state.
This campaign, rooted in hatred, intolerance, ignorance, disdain and often violence, proves that it is these so-called Orthodox streams, exemplified by their political parties, that have abandoned core Jewish values and actually excluded themselves from true Judaism.
Any schoolboy knows that Judaism has always grown and developed, changed, reformed and adapted throughout its glorious history, and it is the alien concept – adhered to with fanaticism – that Judaism is fossilized in a particular, frozen 18th-century version that is truly bizarre.
Like the dinosaurs, which many of these same people of course deny ever existed, this anti-Jewish religion of fanatical Orthodoxy also will become extinct. However, the damage these people have and will do along the way is incalculable.ANTHONY LUDER
According to Caroline B. Glick (“The PLO’s most powerful lobbyists,” Column One, May 12), the IDF General Staff’s decision not to defend its soldiers and officers from the likes of B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence is a political decision.
Actually, it is much worse than that. It is acquiescence to and complicity in the insidious undermining and demoralization of the IDF by foreign-government- funded organizations.JULIA LUTCH
With regard to Ruthie Blum’s “A sorely needed change in climate” (Right from Wrong, May 8), the uninformed sarcasm of the writer dismisses known facts and does not bode well for the well-being of Israel – or the rest of our planet, for that matter.
Ms. Blum seems to have contempt for people who care.
It is beyond me why someone intelligent enough to write a grammatically-correct column in perfect English cannot seem to grasp the seriousness and righteous passion and integrity of the protesters against climate change denial.
Ruthie Blum should know that these “malcontents” are deeply worried about the future of those “babies in strollers” and “toddlers on shoulders” facing an uncertain and, quite possibly, hopelessly dire future when life as we know it might become unsustainable for them. Comparing the protesters’ very immediate and realistic concerns with her then-young son’s preoccupation with “an imminent invasion of extra-terrestrials” is specious.
I would hope that Ms. Blum might use her talents as a writer to further the cause of trying to save our planet and keep it livable for future generations, including her own progeny.
Radio REKA will be broadcasting a daily one-hour news program in English at 8 p.m., and not as reported in “When broadcasting makes the news” (May 14).