Letters to the Editor

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
I was horrified to read this comment in the Magazine ’s response to a letter from Deborah Becker of Beit Shemesh (“Tobacco Row,” June 15): “[Deputy] Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman has also been said to be lenient towards tobacco companies and not to have invested the Health Ministry in fighting smoking.”
That Litzman gives preference to the tobacco industry may be well known, but is nonetheless a disgraceful scandal that needs to be thoroughly investigated. Clearly he is unfit to be a minister (farcically called the deputy) of health, when he puts the profits of tobacco manufacturers before the health of Israeli citizens. Smoking kills and every Western nation has taken drastic measures to curtail this life threatening habits – but not Litzman, who also has the temerity to call himself a rabbi, someone who should know it is against Halacha to knowingly to damage a person’s health.
He should be unceremoniously kicked out of office for intolerable behavior that frankly stinks.
Thanks to Deborah Becker for her letter wherein she mentions the practice of smokers milling around with other passengers waiting for the bus at Tel Aviv’s Arlosoroff bus station.
I would like to add that some smokers actually wait until the last moment to board (when a bus arrives), then stub out their cigarettes and right away enter the bus, while emptying out their lungs filled with cigarette smoke into the enclosed space of the bus, thus causing discomfort to other passengers.
Regarding “For the sake of Heaven?” (Nechama Goldman Barash, June 15): We are nearing Tisha Be’av, the day which commemorates the destruction of the Temple. The Talmud tells us the chain of events leading up to this tragedy.
A Jew by the name of Bar Kamtza, it is not recorded whether or not he was a member of “The Jewish Voice for Peace,” went to the Roman emperor and told him that the Jews were planning a revolt against him. The emper or asked for proof. Bar Kamtza told him to send an animal to the Temple to be sacrificed. He gave an animal to Bar Kamtza to be sacrificed in the Temple. On his way to the Temple, Bar Kamtza made a cut on the lip of the animal, making it unfit for sacrifice.
There was a difference of opinion among the rabbis. One school of thought said that they emperor’s animal should be sacrificed, based of the principle that “there is a time to transgress the laws of the Torah in order to preserve the Torah.” The opposing school of thought said that the emperor’s animal should not be sacrificed, based on the principle “yikov hadin et hahar,” loosely translated as “Come Hell or high water, the law must be adhered to in its strictest form.”
The second school of thought won out. The animal was not sacrificed. This convinced the emperor that the Jews were indeed planning to revolt and gave the order to destroy the Temple.
It seems that the Chief Rabbinate has not learned the lesson from this event.
Petah Tikva
I am a translator of David Ohana, who has done much to promote the reputation of Jacqueline Kahanoff. I am surprised that in Ilana Studland’s article on the Egyptian Jews (“Jewish and bourgeois in the Levant,” June 15) she did not mention this author, who was a leading literary representative of this community from the 1940s onward. Incidentally, she pioneered the rehabilitation of the term “Levantine.”
Regarding the letter referencing America’s Sunday Blue Laws (“Ironic day of rest,” JJ Gross, June 8): These laws were in effect in many states, prohibiting commercial activity (baseball being a notable exception since the 1920s and mid-1930s). The writer stated that due to a lawsuit brought by Orthodox Jews such laws were overturned.
It should be noted that in 1961, an opinion by US Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled Sunday Blue Laws did not violate the constitution. The case was McGowan vs Maryland (1961) 366 US 426 and three associated cases (including Crown Kosher Market). It is of note that Justice Frankfurter in a concur ring opinion reviewed the claims of various groups, including Orthodox Jews. His conclusion was that sometimes you have to pay a bit more for your beliefs. It was not until there was public as well as business pressure to allow commercial activity on Sundays that elected officials relented and canceled the law.
Blue laws have an interesting history based in Sabbath observance by the church. It is worth reading the opinions.
Just to set the record straight.
How typical of left-wing fantasies is Danny Orbach’s column (“A deserted people,” June 15). He writes of the “Palestinians” not realizing their many goals of destroying us as unrealistic due to the mismatch between our strength and their weakness. He refers to the historian Benny Mor ris when he says that the answer to their addressing the mismatch is due to long-term historical developments and because most Palestinians see the Nakba of 1948 not only as a military defeat but also as a moral outrage that could not last. The occupation of their ancestral land and the expulsion of its inhabitants was seen as morally repugnant – so offensive to the dignity of the Arabs and Muslims that surely somebody must interfere.
What is totally repugnant is their celebration of death in order to kill Israelis to the extent that children are strapped with bombs and sent out to die, taking with them as many Israelis/Jews as possible, in the name of Islam. In 1948 the Arabs brought about their own “nakba” by refusing to accept the sharing of the Jewish land. Were it a true military defeat, they would have been totally destroyed after Israel defeated the five Arab armies that attacked the nascent Jewish state with the intent to drive it into the sea never to be heard of again. Even today we still offer a hand in friendship to terrorists with the same goal they had in 1948, a sign, on our part, of sick leadership.
I would ask what ‘ancestral land’ is referred to, just as I would ask what Palestinians are there. They are a figment of the imagination of the Arab League in 1967 as a political tool to destroy us as they could not do so militarily. The Jewish land was never their ancestral land from which to be expelled. Islam came into being only 2,200 years after Judaism. I can almost see the tears in Orbach’s eyes as he bemoans the fact that “‘The Palestinian Narrative,’ based on a sense of moral outrage, passiveness and ‘legitimate rights’ is the stumbling block underlying the failure of their struggle from 1948 to this very day.”
There are thousands of Israeli families who have lost their loved ones due to Orbach’s twisted definition of passiveness and legitimate rights.