October 28: Perfect compromise?

October 28 Perfect comp

October 27, 2009 21:17

Perfect compromise? Sir, - I am an Orthodox Jew and a religious Zionist. Though I have never ascended to the Temple Mount, I respect and encourage those who do so within proper religious guidelines and with sensitivity to its holiness. The fact that you deem it a "perfect compromise" that while Muslims are permitted the full religious run of the Temple Mount, Jews are prohibited there from so much as opening their mouths in prayer is bizarre. While Israel is a Jewish nation, we pride ourselves on democratic principles of liberty such as freedom of religion. Is there any place in our country where a Muslim is prohibited from dropping to his prayer rug and praying to Allah? If the situation on the Temple Mount were reversed, the media would howl at the injustice. By allowing this "perfect comprise" we are feeding into the worst fundamentalist elements in the Muslim world that deny any Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its holy places ("The Third Templars," Editorial, October 27). MENACHEM LIPKIN Beit Shemesh Sir, - When we captured the Temple Mount in 1967, it should have been made very clear to everyone that sovereignty there is Israel's right. Every religion under Israeli sovereignty is given free access to its holy places, and the whole world knows it. Only Muslims refuse other religions free access: Look at the record of persecution of the Baha'i, Christians and, of course, Jews. What is anathema to the Arab Muslim leadership is that others want to worship on the Temple Mount too. In 2009, it is time people of all faiths who claim that the Temple Mount is holy to them were allowed free and unrestricted access. The only ones who should be denied access are those who throw rocks and use other weapons to destroy the holiness of the place. BATIA KOENIGSBERG Jerusalem Some leader! Sir, - How can anybody who allowed Hamas to take control of Gaza, an essential part of any putative Palestinian state, raising barely a finger in opposition, and who right now hasn't a clue about how he can regain control be described - as Gershon Baskin describes Mahmoud Abbas - as having "demonstrated leadership time and time again"? ("Abbas is a partner for peace. Is Netanyahu?" October 27). As for saying that Abbas has "removed the blatant incitement against Israel from the national television station," that is not borne out by Palestinian Media Watch ("Tube of hatred," August 11). PETER SIMPSON Jerusalem Playing a different tuna Sir, - Reading "J Street's campus branch drops 'pro-Israel' slogan to avoid alienating students" (October 27) reminded of the scene in the classic movie Five Easy Pieces in which Jack Nicholson's character and his sidekick enter a roadside diner. When the waitress asks for Nicholson's order, he requests toast. She responds that they don't have any. He then asks if he can order tuna on toast, to which she responds in the affirmative. So Nicholson says, "Give me a tuna on toast - but hold the tuna." Similarly, J Street provides a pro-Israel, pro-peace platform - but withholds the pro-Israel. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. MICHAEL D. HIRSCH Kochav Yai'r Sir, - "We have to deal with young people where they're at" is symptomatic of today's society, where parents are afraid to say no. If the parent organization told the student arm: "No, you can't change the slogan and allow chapters to do as they please," students would see solid leadership and not some go-with-the-flow group. As it is, this "Jewish group" is seen as bashing Israel and not promoting real peace. BATYA BERLINGER Jerusalem The Hitler comparison Sir, - Who could reasonably fail to agree with Jonathan S. Tobin's denunciation of those who compare Obama to Hitler? ("Caught in the partisan crossfire," October 21). The focus of his article, however, does beg criticism. The important issue is not to whom we compare Barack Obama, but why most American Jews are "loyal" to him and the Democratic Party. What is it in either Jewish or American tradition that values the destruction of the free enterprise system by the government's rapacious attempts to take over the banks, the automobile industry and healthcare? Where did we learn that the government should use its powers to crush dissent both in the media and among its critics (witness the attacks on Fox News and the insurance industry)? And, most important and seemingly lost these days in the American Jewish psyche, when did we learn it was laudatory to slander the Land of Israel? The analogy to Hitler is foolish, especially when such a perfect one exists: the Emperor Who Had No Clothes. The problem: Who among the ultra-naive American Jewish public will finally be the child who proclaims the emperor naked - and will that proclamation come in time? CHAIM A. ABRAMOWITZ Jerusalem Strange and unfamiliar Sir, - Amnon Rubinstein wrote: "Sending children born and bred in Israel to a country whose ways - and sometimes even language - are strange and unfamiliar means deporting them to a cultural exile" ("Jews don't expel children," October 26). The same argument could be used, in reverse, against bringing children on aliya to Israel. MERVYN DOOBOV Jerusalem The Great Turnoff Sir, - In "Consumers to pay for water crisis, says Water Authority" (October 22) Prof. Uri Shani was quoted as saying that the authority is managing the crisis "too well" - because if people turned on their faucets and no water came out, then they would understand that there is a serious water crisis in this country. So I have a very simple suggestion: Let the Water Authority do just that: turn off private citizens' water and the pipes running to the Knesset and all government offices for, say, two hours in the morning and two at night. Then everyone will understand that they absolutely have to save every drop possible, and the treasury will not dare withhold the funding needed for our desperately needed desalination plants. And perhaps the municipalities and regional councils will fix every leak immediately, and the needed pipes will finally be laid from certain sewage treatment plants to agricultural lands as well. And then the Messiah will come. BATYA JERENBERG Beit Shemesh IFCJ is a ray of light Sir, - During my 15 years in office, the Karmiel Municipality has enjoyed a flourishing cooperation with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. It has opened up to mayors like myself all sorts of possibilities for promoting important social projects to benefit our communities. Rabbi Eckstein's warm heart and the speedy action - for example, during the Second Lebanon War - of Deborah Ganani, the organization's CEO in Israel, are a ray of light to those in need. Many citizens of Israel, including the elderly, children at risk and single-parent families, owe the fellowship their their warm thanks and appreciation ("Christian donor to 'out' haredi recipients of funding," October 23). ADI ELDAR, Mayor Karmiel CORRECTION UNESCO's memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin on November 4 will be held at the organization's headquarters in Paris, with the attendance of the outgoing and incoming directors-general, and not in Tel Aviv, as reported in Tuesday's paper. We apologize for the error.

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