August 15: Enough to go around

Regarding “London’s burning – who’s to blame?” the answer is just about everyone. The list is endless.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Enough to go around
Sir, – Regarding “London’s burning – who’s to blame?” (UK Unrest, August 12), the answer is just about everyone.
The list is endless.
There has been a breakdown of the family, social order and responsibility. UK governments hand out taxpayers’ money to one-parent families in which the off-spring don’t know their father (or, all too often, the mother). It is the perfect breeding ground for more of the same.
As for the country’s so-called Christian leadership, there isn’t any. There is no God anymore, no morality and no absolutes.
Teachers are dismissed for giving as much as a tap on an unruly pupil when they try to do what parents fail to do.
Academics and experts continue to say we must work with criminal youth and understand them better. Substitute “pander to” for “work with.” This has been done for decades, and a purer definition of insanity you will not see.
The judiciary works through the night issuing sentences that do not fit the crime, which will only add to the problem. UK prisons have revolving doors, and for those who may have to stay a fraction longer, substitute “holiday camps” for “prisons.”
The judiciary must not treat the victim as if he’s a criminal.
The public complains about the police response. Police numbers have nothing to do with it.
It is called police empowerment.
It is absurd that the police have to get government approval for more stringent measures, such as water canon and plastic bullets. Their hands are tied by political correctness, as well as by governmental weakness, ineptitude and bureaucracy.
UK governments over the years have talked the talk on crime, but never walked the walk.
Then there is the British public itself. It should not hesitate to take to the streets by the millions and demand that the government enact immediately all it has bragged it would do over the years but has never done.
Sir, – One thing conspicuously absent from Andrew M. Rosemarine’s list of potential factors to blame for the riots and looting in the UK is that no one seems to be blaming Israel or Zionism, a rather fresh departure from the recent upheaval in so much of the Arab world.
So while I agree wholeheartedly with his analysis and anger at this “post-Darwinian secular society,” in today’s world, where Israel-bashing and -blaming have become so common for almost every world malady, perhaps the blatant exception in this case indicates there is still hope for the UK!
Hatzor Haglilit
Sir, – I would like to draw a connection between the riots in London and the current protests in our own country. Though the overlapping is purely coincidental, Israel can learn much about the potential consequences of heeding demands for a welfare state.
Many analysts name welfare dependence in England as one (if not the main) cause for the riots, as the mentality of entitlement spurred many rioters to believe they had the freedom to commit their crimes. Heeding our own protesters’ demands for a welfare state could very well breed a similar mentality of selfentitlement.
Jerusalem Finance and famine
Sir, – Regarding “French banks at center of new funding crunch” (Business & Finance, August 12), no matter what their political or economic gripe, why couldn’t the French farmers, instead of destroying crates of Spanish fruit, have shipped it to the starving people in Africa we read about daily?
In a heartbeat
Sir, – Israel wants the US to release Jonathan Pollard yet refuses to do anything that might help US interests in the Middle East – namely freezing settlement construction.
So here is an idea: The US will release Pollard, and in return Israel will permanently freeze all settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
That’s a win for America, Israel and the Palestinians.
I’d support that in a heartbeat.
Will Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cabinet?
New York
Problems at home
Sir, – While I agree that all the points Steve Linde mentions in “The time has come...” (Editor’s Notes, August 12) need to be addressed, I thought that Tisha Be’av also teaches us to reflect upon the way we treat each other as Jews.
From the headline I thought he would address the issues that we in Israel have to correct, and not just make demands on other nations. Shouldn’t we discuss the differences between the streams of Judaism and figure out how to accept the differences? On the eve of Tisha Be’av, I joined a few hundred men and women to listen to the Book of Eicha on the promenade overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. It was moving and beautiful to see men, with and without kippot, plus women, in pants or headscarves, sitting together and listening to both men and women chanting the lamentations. Had we sat together at our country’s most sacred treasure, the Western Wall, we would have been insulted, beaten or arrested.
Isn’t the hatred between our own people what led to the destruction of the Temples? Next time, perhaps Linde should list the issues we need to resolve among ourselves. They are numerous and difficult to solve if we can’t even listen to one another.
Help the ‘agunot’
Sir, – Regarding “Why civil marriage is good for the Jews” (Comment & Features, August 11), I am not at all certain that civil marriage or any one particular formula will provide the remedy to the many serious and often painful problems that cause so much stress and conflict in our pluralistic society.
What is certain however, is the absolute need for the religious establishment to display empathy for agunot (women whose husbands refuse to grant them a get, or halachic divorce) and fervently work on finding fair and proper solutions. This requires rabbinic leaders who, while they are completely anchored in halacha, have both the courage and compassion to seek the boldest of strategies.
Some suggestions: 1. Pre-nuptial agreements that would clearly spell out the penalties for refusing to grant a get 2. Strict and immediate enforcement 3. Ostracism by religious society of those who refuse to grant a get 4. Annulment of marriage in extreme cases.
It is worth noting that the Talmud relates the practice in the times of David whereby soldiers going off to war would provide bills of divorcement to their wives to prevent them from becoming agunot if the men fell in battle, in which case the divorce would be validated retroactively.
Petah Tikva
More interference
Sir, – Some letter writers (“Living blueprint, August 12) who took Barry Shaw to task for his own letter (“Empty can be good,” August 11) seem to be wishing for the government to be over-intrusive when it comes to home purchases.
My hometown is Margate, New Jersey, a seaside community where more than half the residences are owned by second home owners, who pay the majority of the taxes despite using relatively few services. The year-round residents don’t object.
Should our government forbid people from owning more than one residence? Besides, isn’t Israel supposed to be a safe haven for Jews around the world who might one day need a refuge from anti-Semitism?
Alfei Menashe