Doing us proud
Regarding Cheryl Azair’s column (“A second child becomes a lone soldier,” October 15), yesterday was a difficult day for it was the day the family traveled quite a journey to the Tekes Kumta (beret ceremony) for my daughter’s youngest son, signifying the end of his basic combat training as part of the Golani Brigade.
Six-hundred of them, all warriors – and believe me they are trained and will G-d forbid if need be, fight like warriors to defend our beloved State of Israel. My grandson’s unit arrived at the ceremony in their soiled uniforms, painted faces, packs, guns, etc., and some of them collapsed on the grass with exhaustion, but all of them stood strong and upright to listen to the speakers, growing taller, I noticed, as our flag was raised and we all sang the Hatikva.
It was a difficult day for all of us – the soldiers bursting with pride and us elderly grandparents with their families wiping away tears, mostly of pride, but some also of fear where their next stop would be.
Nevertheless, this particular Golani unit can be proud of the way their soldiers have an almost tangible fearlessness to serve their country. So I reiterate on their behalf, even if it was a difficult day for everyone present, we are the luckiest ones to have chosen to live and serve in this special small country called Israel .LINDA HIRSCH
Many are finally now filled with pride and relief to read in The Jerusalem Post
that more housing is becoming available for us in our homeland (“1,200 homes advanced for settlements, tender published for another 300,” October 18). For millennia, we dreamed of this and had only the great Settlement Cookbook’s recipes (at the turn of the century) to nourish us.
Kudos to your efforts to provide one and all with this crucial information about our millennial dream-come-true per our ancestral siddur and founding fathers’ pioneering accomplishments.
Our millennia of homeless wandering and persecution has finally ended in our homeland and in our expanding cultural reinvigoration. Consider the catastrophe which would have befallen us (again) had we failed in this task.
Thank you to the Post for putting a spotlight on it.ESTER ZEITLIN
It seems that our legislators are determined to block donations to political NGOs that they don’t like (“NGO woes,” October 18). This is the wrong approach. It is perfectly reasonable to discourage interference by foreign governments and other foreign entities in our political discussions, but it is dangerous to give our authorities the power to pick and choose which NGOs to block.
All NGOs with a significant political agenda, even if it is not their main purpose, should be treated alike. Any support for these NGOs from foreign sources should be heavily taxed. Money from foreign governments or from secondary sources receiving foreign government support should be taxed at a swinging 60% rate. Money from foreign corporate entities such as unions or charities or incorporated companies should be taxed at 30%. Foreign individual money could be taxed at 20%.
Such an approach would have the desired effect of preventing or at least minimizing the influence of foreign money on our political decisions.STEPHEN COHEN
A matter of substance
Just when I thought Douglas Bloomfield was finally writing about something besides his utter contempt and disdain for US President Donald Trump, he ends his piece regarding the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation with a shot at Trump’s marriages (“A marriage of inconvenience,” October 19).
It doesn’t take great journalism to constantly berate an individual.
I would rather read informative pieces about matters pertaining to Israel, as he almost did in his op-ed piece.
Hope against hope
Hope for UNESCO doesn’t come from its leadership, but with an engaged United States (“Hope from UNESCO,” October 19). Since America’s defunding, UNESCO has been exploited by the likes of oil-rich Azerbaijan. In 2013, for instance, Azerbaijan made a $5-million donation to cash-strapped UNESCO, followed by recently exposed corrupt payments to the husband of its outgoing director-general.
Azeris’ abuse of UNESCO’s vulnerability is no surprise to those familiar with Azerbaijan’s global green-washing of such genocidal acts against indigenous Armenians as the December 2005 destruction of 2,000 medieval cross-stones at Julfa and the beheading of Armenians in Talish during the April 2016 attack on Artsakh. Instead of condemnation, Azerbaijan has received praises from UNESCO, which hosted the absurdly titled “Azerbaijan: A Land of Tolerance” exhibit. Continued US engagement is the only lasting hope for a better UNESCO and a better world.
Stuck in traffic
Regarding “Traffic blocked throughout country as ultra-Orthodox stage ‘day of rage’” (October 20), I can suggest a very quick way to stop all these demonstrations: Anyone not prepared to do their national duty either in the army or other ways, such as driving ambulances, should not receive child allowance or other financial help from the state. One cannot have one’s cake and eat it too. There should be no exceptions except for health or family problems. Why should one section of the population bear the burden of protecting the rest of us? JUDY PRAGER Petah Tikva I should like to challenge our prime minister when he so proudly proclaims that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. How can this statement be true when there is a major section of the population that can hold the rest of the country hostage, bring three major cities to a standstill (one being the capital) and take up hours of security time and manpower all because they do not wish to serve in the army.
The haredi community is quite happy to take all that is offered them by the government whilst giving nothing back in return whereas the rest of the country gives up their time, family and sometimes their lives to serve the country. How Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can in all seriousness call this a democracy is beyond my understanding.NATALIE GILBERT
Distortion of truth
Your well-written editorial (“#metoo in Israel,” October 20) had a few serious inaccuracies at the end. First of all, it is simply false to say that “The haredi Jewish solution [to sexual harassment] is to prevent unrelated men and women from being alone in a room together.” There is nothing “haredi” about this principle known as yichud. It is normative Halacha which applies to all Jews.
The next line is not only wrong, it is a willful distortion of the Halacha: “That tactic is, of course, antiquated and predicated on the assumption that a man, in the presence of a woman, will not be able to control himself.” Not only is there nothing whatsoever “antiquated” about yichud, it is silly to set up such an extreme characterization of the Halacha.
As you yourselves write in the following line, which argues for the critical importance of avoiding yichud today, “...self-control and personal integrity are largely lacking in the modern world.”
I remember once reading an interview with Billy Graham, the well-known evangelist who attributed his ability to avoid scandal to the decision he made, at the beginning of his career, to never be in seclusion with another woman. Maybe if we had a bit more common sense and respect for Jewish law, as opposed to marginalizing and ridiculing it, we could make some real progress in eliminating the terrible phenomena of sexual harassment.ASHER RESNICK
Ramat Beit Shemesh