US President Barack Obama continues his condescension toward Israel. He concedes it has the right to “maintain basic law and order,” yet he equates Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (“Obama says PM, Abbas are adding fuel to the fire,” October 18).
This from a man who, if the world applied the same standards to the US that it applied to Israel, would be in the International Criminal Court docket in the Hague for, among other things, the recent American bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan.
The “collateral damage” inflicted by US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq far exceeds the damage inflicted on intended targets, but one doesn’t hear calls for an ICC investigation, probably because US and NATO countries pay most of its costs.
This could be called the “gold standard” – he who has the gold sets the standard.
How about demands for “proportionality” in those conflicts? Do the Taliban or al-Qaida have the same weapons available to the “forces for good”?
HAIM SHALOM SNYDER, Petah Tikva
We recently witnessed US Secretary of State John Kerry at his lowest. After a series of murderous terror attacks, he had the temerity to say that they were due to anger at Israel’s settlement activity (“Kerry: Settlement increase has led to current violence,” October 15). Following angry Israeli reactions, the State Department spokesman toned down the message with the weak assertion that Israel had a right to defend itself.
Blame for this double standard should be placed squarely on the State Department.
Back in the late 1940s, Secretary of State George C. Marshall vehemently opposed the establishment of the State of Israel and ensured that the State Department would be staffed by people who agreed with him.
From then until today, it has done everything it can to weaken Israel, and Kerry is now expected to make further efforts to work things out between Israel and the Palestinians.
My grandfather used to say that “the fool travels the entire world but always returns as a fool.” How right he was.
RAPHAEL ROSENBAUM, Kiryat Ono
A red line was crossed when John Kerry, secretary of state of the United States, supposedly our closest ally, implied a possible justification for the indiscriminate murder of Israeli Jewish civilians by Arab terrorists. Even our Arab enemies did not make this connection.
After such an implication by an aspirant to the Nobel Peace Prize – and at this critical time of national crisis – our national pride is at stake. I would suggest that until an official and public apology is been given, we recall our ambassador from the US and make it clear that Kerry is unacceptable here as a peace mediator.
A true leader of any self-respecting country would do no less.
YEHUDA OPPENHEIM, JerusalemBleak future
I lived through the 1930s and, although I was young, I wondered how the world stood still as a radical idea seized certain nations that were allowed to swallow up continents before a concerted effort by surviving countries vanquished the fanatics, at a great cost in lives and material.
Today, a parallel scenario is taking place as radical Islam spreads its dreaded message and conquers nations unprepared or unwilling to rise up against these fanatics. This time, however, the battle will not be with two atomic bombs, but with hundreds, and the world and its humanities will face extinction.
Fortunately, I will no longer be around, but I cry for my grandchildren and their future.
CHARLES TICHO, Hackensack, New Jersey Not at all powerless!
Regarding “Yesh Atid, Shas press for measure to counter Diaspora divorce refusals” (October 12), in testimony at the Knesset, the chief rabbi of Moscow claimed that because civil sanctions could not be enforced abroad, “the [rabbinic] courts are essentially powerless to do anything.”
Rabbinical courts are “powerless”? A rabbinical court just has to grant the divorce! A court is where parties go to have an impartial authority resolve a dispute. A rabbinical court, however, will grant a divorce only if both the husband and wife agree. If they disagree, the court will not rule, and the party wanting the divorce stays chained in the marriage. What kind of a court rules only when the disputants agree? The halachic explanation is that a man must give a get (religious divorce) and a woman must accept it, both of their own free will. But rabbinic judges do not strictly adhere to this principle; rabbinic courts have imposed civil sanctions (even imprisonment) in an attempt to force recalcitrant partners to grant a divorce.
The obvious solution is for rabbinical judges to actually issue rulings based on the circumstances of the marriage and whether the couple should or should not divorce.
MAYER BASSAN, JerusalemThe ‘anusim’
With regard to “MKs launch Knesset lobby for Bnei Anusim” (October 14), we are looking at the 11th missing tribe, and surely the biggest. Bringing them back into the Jewish family might easily become a turning point in the history of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
As a state, we need their numbers, their political power, their professional proficiency and – definitely not least – their education, ethics and manners. For us as a people, they would enlarge our dwindling numbers and probably prevent the disappearance of some troubled communities abroad. And they, as individuals, would find an answer to their dismay in watching western civilization drowning into oblivion – they would have a new faith, a new goal.
The task of “reconnecting” our lost brethren is the utter expression of Zionism in our time. As such, it should not be left in the hands of politicians – or at least not politicians alone. I therefore suggest the following: 1. An NGO should be created for the purpose of concentrating and running all worldwide activities related to the Bnei Anusim.
2. Existent Sephardi organizations should participate in the NGO’s management.
3. Members of the “11th Tribe” should be “adopted” by Israeli speakers of Spanish, Ladino and Portuguese.
4. The State of Israel should declare the “reconnecting” venture a preferred project of national importance and allocate sufficient funds to ensure its successful realization.
5. There will be a need to convert our returning brothers and sisters. If this is left in the hands of the Chief Rabbinate, failure is guaranteed. Something very drastic will have to be done in this respect to ensure that the whole thing is not botched because of a few fanatics.
MOSHE KOLIN, Kiryat Motzkin High fives
I was in America when the pope came. As I watched the coverage on TV, it was hard not to compare the love people had for the pope to the contempt so many of us here have for the Chief Rabbinate.
What I found truly wonderful was watching the pope interact with children in Harlem. The kids took selfies with the pope.
One child “high fived” the pope. All I could think of was whether our chief rabbis could engender a response of that kind from our children. Probably not! I write this not to celebrate the pope, but to comment on the sad situation with our chief rabbis.
Even worse is the fact that they do not seem to care.
JEFFREY RAPPOPORT, Jerusalem