April 30: Same-sex surrogacy

Until the earthquake in Nepal, most Israelis had no idea that a surrogacy business was operating there.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Same-sex surrogacy
In an editorial, it is hard to represent the complexity of an issue, but I would expect The Jerusalem Post to at least mention some of the moral and legal conflicts involved in surrogacy for same-sex parents (“Surrogacy challenge,” April 28).
Until the earthquake in Nepal, most Israelis had no idea that a surrogacy business was operating there. At least 100 Indian women were or are pregnant surrogates for Israelis, mainly same-sex couples.
Each woman receives $10,000 to do this. There is an organization that matches them with the couples, and I am sure it is a money-making business.
Is it moral to take advantage of poor women who literally sell their bodies for this purpose? Another moral issue is the decision by these couples to raise children without a mother, without even the concept of a mother.
Same-sex surrogacy is illegal in most of the world – there might be a reason for that.
Demand accountability
The scandalous embezzlement by managers of the Claims Conference of $57 million earmarked by Germany for Holocaust victims is once again brought up by Isi Leibler (“Claims Conference leaders continue obfuscating the truth,” Candidly Speaking, April 28).
It is difficult to conceive that in an era when public and private organizational leaders are routinely held to the fire for misappropriating funds, Claims Conference leaders continue to defalcate with impunity.
Putting aside their flaunting of elemental justice, the heartlessness of their crime – denying Holocaust survivors “food, medicine and other basic services to enable them to live out their remaining years in dignity” – is a blemish on their moral character.
We are quick to condemn Islamic and Nazi inhumanity, and rightly so. But if we are to portray ourselves as a light unto the nations, we must not ignore this disgraceful behavior. We must demand accountability by our leaders.
Love ≠ competency
Shmuley Boteach’s “President Bush redux” (No Holds Barred, April 28), in which he praises George W. Bush – perhaps the worst US president – shows that beyond losing the respect of readers, he has lost his self-respect.
Bush’s resume includes the destruction of the US economy, causing the greatest recession since the great depression. His crazy Iraq war destroyed that country, emboldened Iran and created Islamic State by opening a space for it to grow. His expansionist view of government created the Tea Party, which in seeking to return to a small government, shut it down. Jeb Bush, who might be a decent president, has dropped in the polls due to his brother’s weight.
Perhaps the greatest reason George W. Bush was an almost total failure is that 9/11 happened on his watch. He had information he ignored that might have prevented it.
Lots of people love Israel. That alone does not a competent person make.
Wasteful endeavor
One of Judaism’s cardinal principles is that the Torah, in terms of interpretation and Jewish law, is not in “Heaven” – i.e., given to the celestial realm. So I fail to see how reversing this idea accomplishes anything productive (“If you believe, they’ll put a Torah on the moon...” April 28).
The huge expense and the fact that the Torah will never be used to enlighten Jews, as it was meant to be used (which raises a question of respect for the Torah), turns the entire idea into an exceptionally wasteful and highly questionable endeavor.Why not use the money to have new Torahs written and donated to replace old, unusable ones in Jewish communities all over the world? Imagine how many people could really be helped with $6 million.
Hatzor Haglilit
The writer is a trained sofer stam, or ritual scribe.
Our own quake Your April 27 editorial (“Nepal wake-up call”) could have been headlined “Israel wake-up call.”
It is well documented that we are under constant threat. We reside in a high-risk geological fault zone with many jerry-built structures erected on steep terrain that could become death traps for thousands of our citizens, with many more injured or made homeless, in the event of a major earthquake.
We need a regional contingency plan for our survival. When will there be stricter and more enforceable building regulations and safety codes? In my opinion, this matter has been thrown into the waste basket for decades by dysfunctional and unstable governments.
We must insist on an accountable government able to display managerial and leadership prowess, and demand that citizens be conversant of crucial life-saving information about earthquake preparedness.
Instead of apathy and complacency, this alarming reality requires urgent action.
Escaping trial
There’s a certain reality check missing in Jeff Barak’s “The irony of Lord Janner’s escape from trial” (Reality Check, April 27) regarding the way he relates to Nazi criminals who are still running free.
Most aging Nazis put on trial know who they are, what they did and why they’re standing trial.
Moreover, just because a person got away with crimes against humanity for so long does not entitle him to retire and enjoy his golden years.
Prosecuting criminals, especially war criminals, is more than just a matter of education. We expect our justice system to provide justice for us, the living, and for those who are no longer with us.
We need to be clear: Whether 95 or 45, if you committed crimes against humanity, you will be found, tried and, if guilty, sent to jail. Anything less is a travesty of justice.
Bravo to Ruthie
Bravo to Ruthie Blum for her excellent column “To Israel with love” (Right from Wrong, April 27), reminding all of us about the miraculous country we live in.
It is worthwhile to repeat some of her well-written expressions about Israel for citizens and foreigners who did not read it: “It is homey, yet cosmopolitan; provincial, yet worldly; war-torn, yet peace-obsessed; frenetic, yet relaxed; religious, yet secular; ...
marriage-oriented, yet a paradise for singles; ...economically shaky, yet able to weather global and local crashes.”
All of us should be grateful to The Jerusalem Post for printing this and other pieces that make us aware of the blessing of living in Israel, and proclaiming to the world that this country is an inspiration to all who set foot on its soil.
Yes, tell them
Reader Elaine Goldstein (“Tell them, not us,” Letters, April 27) illustrates precisely what is wrong with our propaganda efforts. We extol our own virtues. Few apart from Jews are impressed – particularly as there is a perceived sub-text of superiority.
We need to expose and ridicule the intellectual hypocrisy of those who excoriate Israel without ever having been here, and who derive their “facts” from publications that are blatantly hostile, possibly propounding the views of those who finance them. “Intellectuals” and “academics,” faced with having to produce a thesis or dissertation, would never dream of submitting anything that had not been thoroughly researched. Israel does not seem to merit such treatment.
The traditional haters of Jews and Israel will never change, but others who might wish to have an honest and balanced opinion of the situation here should be encouraged to come and see for themselves before making up their minds. It is not uncommon for a visitor who arrives indifferent or even hostile to leave as a Zionist.