Letters to the Editor: Fearless Publishing

Readers respond to the latest articles.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Fearless publishing
Sir, – I wish to thank Barbara Sofer for her courageous column concerning the mostly hidden subject of sexual abuse within the Jewish religious community in Israel, especially victimizing young children (“Not in my school,” The Human Spirit, November 14). I can only praise her and the editor for fearlessly publishing this.
I believe that if these religious men (men are the huge majority of offenders) cannot be cured of this disgusting and life-ruining habit (as far as their victims are concerned), then perhaps they could be chemically castrated by agreement. Not only that, but being religious, these lawbreakers should be happy to be chemically castrated – in order to fall in line with God’s laws, and cease ruining the lives of innocents.
Ascend with us
Sir, – I would like to thank Rabbi Stewart Weiss for sharing his opinion about Jerusalem (“O, Jerusalem,” In Plain Language, November 14) and specifically Har Habayit, the Temple Mount. He expressed himself beautifully when he said the call by members of the Chief Rabbinate to stay away from Har Habayit “undermines our claim to the land and our very legitimacy as a state.”
We firmly believe what Rabbi Weiss has stated so eloquently.
For the past 15 years, we, men from Hashmonaim, regularly ascend to Har Habayit. We do this after having prepared ourselves physically and spiritually.
We ascend on the eighth day of every Hebrew month, as part of an initiative to maintain a constant Jewish presence there – joining with other communities that have chosen other days of the month for their visits. I would urge Rabbi Weiss to join us with his community, and pick a date when he and others from Ra’anana can go up to Har Habayit.
We must not continue to neglect to fulfill this positive commandment. Our group, at all times, adheres to the rules as laid down by the Israel Police.
We are law-abiding but we do go up once a month, to fulfill the positive commandment of ascending to the place of the Temple with awe.
Join us!
‘Tainted’ review
Sir, – I have been traveling abroad and am late in catching up with “Confronting Israel’s apartheid accusers” (Books, September 12), Seth J. Frantzman’s review of my book Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel.
I offer you the benefit of my 54 years in journalism, many of them in executive posts and also as a book review editor: Never, never give a book for review to anyone who has previously been publicly castigated by the book’s author. It opens the way to personal malice and bias. At the very least, the reviewer must declare his/her personal interest.
And so it has proved with your reviewer Frantzman: It so happens that on October 23, 2009, I wrote an article in Haaretz about IsraCampus and Israel Academic Media and named him as one of their “dangerous cranks,” using “crude censorship” to undermine academic freedom in Israel’s universities.
His review is payback time.
My regret is that your readers have been denied a fair and intelligent assessment of my book, which addresses an issue of crucial concern to Israel.
Instead, they have been given dross.
Apart from my complaint of malice, one example of the low quality of his review is that he presumed to correct me about the history of armed resistance in South Africa. It’s a subject I know well, because I watched most of it at firsthand as a journalist there.
Seth J. Frantzman responds: The writer is mistaken to state that my review of his book had anything to do with a personal vendetta against him.