Letters to the editor, March 17

Battle of Jericho Sir, - It is rare to see a situation, prior to an election, where the three major parties can agree on a single policy decision: the proper handling of the situation surrounding the attack on the prison in Jericho ("Jericho's prison walls come tumbling down," March 15). On the other hand, it is now clear that we do not have a partner in the quest for peace in the region at this time. The best way to undercut Hamas's influence would be to make an effort to treat Israeli Arabs as real citizens of Israel by improving their lot. This would provide the Palestinians with an opportunity to compare their situation with that of their brethren in Israel. Hopefully in the next Palestinian election they will oust the oppressive Hamas organization. P. YONAH Shoham Sir, - Why in the world would the IDF strip Arabs in Jericho in front of an Associated Press photographer for all the world to see (photo, March 16). Isn't Israel's PR bad enough? If I was in charge I wouldn't make it easy for most of the international media to enter the West Bank, or Israel. I would at least delay their entry in Ben-Gurion Airport for many hours. GERSON JACOBS Greenbrae, California Life for us, with them Sir, - Uri Savir is right when he says the conflict between militant Islam and the West is a clash of cultures ("Pax Americana," UpFront, March 10), but wrong when he equates the culture of the West with democracy, and wrong again in his suggested solution. Democracy is a system of government and not a system of values, as the democratic victory of Hamas clearly demonstrates. If we want to find a solution we must look at the roots of the problem. The West is concerned almost entirely with the short-term well-being and happiness of its populations, often ignoring the effect on long-term values, while militant Islam looks to the long-term future, with sometimes cruel disregard for present hardships. In such a conflict the long term will always, by definition, prevail. It is a culture war we cannot win. But we, as the Children of Israel, are neither of the West nor of the East, and we have our own culture, that of the Torah of Sinai, which is God's prescription for properly balancing those two opposing considerations. We must stop trying to interfere in the culture of Islam, either directly or indirectly via the US, and develop our own Israeli/Jewish culture, contained in the laws of the country. That would be a way of life for a free and independent people - not necessarily an Orthodox, and not a Conservative nor Reform one, but one derived from the Torah that Moses taught to all the 12 tribes in the desert of Sinai. Such a culture would not seriously conflict with the Palestinians' way of life. The only way to live in peace with our neighbors in this land is by persuasion and not by force, and in order to persuade you must first properly understand. In 1917 the British House of Lords voted that from then on English law "need no longer conform to divine writ." The result to British society is only too evident in today's collapse of values. So what we need is a reverse declaration from the Knesset, possibly in the proposed constitution, that from now on laws should be - as far as possible since we do not live in biblical times - guided by "Divine writ." THEODOR OPATOWSKI Jerusalem Ban oral suction Sir, - Marvin Schick raised an important issue in his column "One aspect of circumcision that may be too risky" (UpFront, March 10) and I applaud his inherent recommendation that mohalim (ritual circumcisers) use methods other than metzitza b'peh (direct oral suction) on a circumcision cut. However, he has also done a disservice to the Israeli community in particular, and to the Jewish community in general, with his presentation of the facts. He informs us of the Chief Rabbinate's approval of the use of suction devices, and from that concludes that "there has been no metzitza b'peh in the Jewish state for years." If only that were true. Oral suction has not been forbidden and is quite common in Israel. The disservice your writer has done to the Jewish community in general is his presentation of the halachic issues involved. Readers did not likely come away understanding that by using non-oral methods they are making no halachic compromise. Metzitza b'peh is not part of the commandment of circumcision, as is made clear by Rav Kook, Rabbi Feinstein, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and the Hatam Sofer before them. Considering the possible danger to infants, as well as to mohalim, it must be forbidden to risk the lives or health of anyone by performing metzitza b'peh. DEBBY KOREN Jerusalem Purim 'Post' Sir, - After reading this week's "Not Necessarily The Jerusalem Post," I forgave you for increasing the price. Considering what we have to choose from in the coming elections, Tony Soprano is beginning to look better all the time ("Tony Soprano weighs in as new prime minister," 14 Adar). In keeping with the same spirit, I give you the following: It's party time in Israel / Come in and join the fun / With Kadima, Labor and Likud / And many more to come. / It's party time in Israel / So choose it well, my dears - / This party doesn't last one night / It could go on for years. MIRIAM VAN BERS Moshav Zofit Sir, - My treasured jpost was well worth the read as I contemplated the chances of a daily national newspaper in Britain forgoing its front editorial page in favor of humor at its best. It just would not happen. Well done for making me and, I am sure, many, many other people smile. MARTIN LEWIS Hod Hasharon