Letters to the Editor February 7, 2022: Kotel conundrum

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Kotel conundrum

I read the open letter of my classmate Rabbi Shlomo Riskin regarding having an egalitarian section at the Western Wall (“The Kotel is for all,” February 4). 

May I remind the Efrat chief rabbi that our revered teacher, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, held that one does not fulfill his prayer obligations when worshiping among mixed pews. The Rav ruled that a person should not hear shofar on Rosh Hashana if it could only be accomplished in an egalitarian prayer service. May I also cite the Talmud (Sukkah, 51b) that the very concept of separate pews was institutionalized at this very Kotel site.

It would be most unrighteous to desecrate this principle in the very location where it was established. I might also add that retaining the sanctity and the tradition that envelops the Kotel will continue to aid the Jewish people in negating assimilation and intermarriage. A visitor may well ponder what this tradition is about. 

Once he questions, he may reach the conclusions that have enabled our people to survive as Jews and return to Zion.

 PRAYERS AT the Kotel.  (credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90) PRAYERS AT the Kotel. (credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)

RABBI DR. AARON RAKEFFET-ROTHKOFFProfessor of Rabbinic LiteratureYeshiva University in Israel

Rabbi Riskin’s letter leads me to believe that the Temple can’t be rebuilt in our days – because it would require several temples:

One for Ashkenazim, one for Sephardim, one for the Orthodox, one for the Reform.


Crazy bone

As I read the story in February 3’s Post (“1.5-million-year-old bone found in Jordan Valley sheds light on ancient migration”), I couldn’t help but recall a popular song from my youth: “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...” Those of us with warped senses of humor will appreciate this comparison.


British remedy

Defamation by written or printed words, in other words libel, is a criminal offence in the UK. In a 280-page document published on February 1, Amnesty International, a company registered in England and Wales, stated that Israel has “established and maintained an institutionalized…system of apartheid” directed against Palestinians.

In short, the organization has libeled the State of Israel.

English libel law permits individuals and companies to go to court to defend their reputations against the harm caused by false and defamatory publications. 

A claimant must show that they have been identified in the publication, and that the publication was defamatory. 

The State of Israel should seek the remedy of British justice against the false claim that it is an apartheid state. It should charge Amnesty International in an English court with criminal libel.

If the government balks at taking this action, surely there are organizations and individuals able and willing to defend the State of Israel, either in court or in other ways, against this monstrous accusation.

A 280-page document, refuting Amnesty International’s charges point by point, would be a good start.


Laugh out of court

The admission by police to illegally hacking the phones of important witnesses in the evidence gathering stages of the criminal complaints against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have several important consequences (“Police reportedly hacked cellphone of central witness in Netanyahu case,” February 3):

It will force the courts to deal with the issue of how to deal with important evidence illegally gathered by police during an investigation, for even if such evidence may turn out to be true, the admission obliges the courts to deal with the fact that they are closing their eyes to abuses committed to the rights of citizens of the state in order to procure the criminal conviction of one of its citizens;

If the court ultimately decides that such evidence is admissible, it implicitly condones the illegal methods of the police, thereby placing the right to privacy in a lower ranking below the necessity of discouraging illegal conduct by its citizens; in other words, in the interest of discouraging illegal conduct by its citizens, the state itself is above and not subject to its own laws;

What are the rights of a citizen during a police investigation and do they include a right to privacy?

The loud and continuous protestations by Netanyahu and his legal team that there is a vast conspiracy against him by state justice officials, including the courts, have now received at least the beginning of a confirmation;

The question of whether Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit knew of the illegalities when he decided to issue initiate prosecutions against Netanyahu is now wide open, and even if he did not know, ought he to have minimally asked how the evidence was obtained?

The protestations by justice officials and media persons, including the editor of this newspaper, that Netanyahu’s allegations were bringing the entire system of justice into disrepute have been proven false; indeed it is the system itself that has been demonstrated as patently abusive and disreputable.


Under the bus

I was surprised when I read Ron Lauder’s quote on the Palestinian’s yearning for peace in the article “Inside the Netanyahu and Friedman plan to convince Trump that Abbas didn’t want peace” (February 4). 

Apparently Lauder told then-president Donald Trump that the Palestinians “were prepared to make peace with Israel on very favorable terms, even to include conceding all of Jerusalem to Israeli sovereignty and giving up the return of refugees,” then going on to blame prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the lack of negotiations. 

Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, was feted by The Jerusalem Post in its Most Influential Jews of 2021 supplement as being “a rare voice of moral clarity” (“Ronald Lauder: Biggest challenge facing Jews this year is bad PR.”) 

I have to ask where was the moral clarity in the totally deceptive statement characterizing PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s stance on peace with the Jewish state. 

There is absolutely nothing on the record at that time, or since, that would lead him to making these statements on behalf of Abbas.

Lauder’s enmity toward Netanyahu is well known, but the Israel citizenry is clear in its position regarding peace both under Netanyahu’s leadership, and under the current government.

Abbas is not willing to say any of the things attributed to him, fearing for his life if he were to. Indeed his continuing compensation to terrorists for killing Jews is well known.

How can Lauder “throw Israel under the bus” with his outlandish statements? History will not judge him well in this regard.



Regarding Ruthie Blum’s piece “‘Amnesty’ for Whoopi Goldberg’” (Right From Wrong, February 4), I can see where Goldberg is coming from, and I agree with her, Jews are not a race, but a people, a nation and a very mixed bag, which includes several races of every color – not just white.

The problem was that Hitler thought of us as a lower race even than animals – rats and cockroaches we were to him – to be exterminated and all traces removed from the face of the earth. 

So the Holocaust was indeed the worst form of racism. 

While Blum states clearly that stupidity and evil are not mutually exclusive, they are not synonymous and should not be treated as such, she still feels Goldberg, whom she dubs a moron, should be punished and the show should be shunned. 

It’s obvious Goldberg saw only one side of the picture and had not delved into the subject too deeply. 

She was on the show to express her opinion. It was unfortunate that her opinion on this subject was not a correct one, but that is what she is paid to do.

The lady is an actress, an entertainer, and a very good one indeed. She is no moron when it comes to histrionics. 

So she made a mistake and hurt a lot of people. She apologized twice. 

Let her go back to her job on The View and, hopefully, some Hollywood producer will find a good part for her that will earn her another Academy Award.

Go to it, Whoopi!


‘Whoopsie’ Goldberg, let her speak.

Apology accepted. Not because I think she learned her lesson, I doubt it. I don’t think she’s antisemitic, she’s just ignorant of what the Nazi Nuremberg race laws were about.

And most importantly, now the world knows a little bit more about what ignorance of history looks like. In a free society, people are allowed to be half-wits. She shouldn’t be canceled. She shouldn’t be fired. She should continue to espouse her idiocy on ABC for a long time.

My perspective is rooted in the US Constitution’s First Amendment ,which established the principle of freedom of speech. It’s very simple. You have the right to say whatever you want. I have the right to be offended. And to tell you as much. I want everyone to know what she stands for. 

I do not want to censor Goldberg or any version of antisemitism or other hate speech. I don’t believe we are so fragile as a people or as individuals that we can’t take a few harsh words of hate. 

We’ve lived through the physical torture and pain, words can’t hurt. I want to know damn well what they stand for, who they are and, most importantly – where they are!!

This way, I can protect and defend my people, my family and myself against these cretins!

If you censor them, they go underground. If you let them spew their vitriol – you can identify them. Period.

Either you understand the principles of freedom and liberty, or you are an ignoramus like the rest of Woke culture!!


Beautiful homage

Stewart Weiss’s tribute to Esther Pollard (“Death of a queen,” February 4) was a beautiful homage to an amazing human being. I am sorry that our paths never crossed.

My heartfelt sympathies to Jonathan, who has endured so much in this life.

May Esther’s memory be blessed.