I couldn’t help but notice the wisdom of placing two headlines, atop pages two and three on July 31, across from each other: “Haredim disrupt Rosh Hodesh Wall prayers again” and “US immigrant rabbi joins Religious Zionist primary.” The first article spelled out quite clearly what is wrong with Judaism’s supposed haredim. They are not even showing familiarity with a basic tenet of our faith, namely “Every Jew is responsible for every other Jew.”
On the other hand, the second article spells out quite clearly how a newly-arrived rabbi, David Fine, is focusing on helping olim integrate, while training community rabbis (“You have to accentuate the positive!”).
Without a doubt, we must reject the faux-haredim and devote all our energies toward ensuring the success of the likes of Rabbi Fine.
MICHAEL D. HIRSCH
Regarding “Options for the moderate, right-wing religious voter” (August 1): Ms. Hattis Rolef poses a good question, but I think some of her assumptions should be challenged. Every person, across the age groups, from whom I have heard has said that Naftali Bennett performed very well as prime minister.
Only a few extremists make the negative comments the writer says she has heard. And I think those have come from people who really didn’t understand why the coalition came about – for Israel to survive after being without a budget because of Netanyahu’s political games – and that all of the partners had to make significant compromises. Again, it is people who have an immature perspective and don’t really understand politics who throw around nasty slurs like “betrayal.”
Having said that, I have also heard, again across all ages, that even people who voted Likud in the past have said that they will not vote for Netanyahu again; that he has broken too many promises in the past, that his behavior in the Knesset during the past year has been a disgrace, and that his attempt to deny any responsibility for the greatest civil disaster in Israel’s history was truly pathetic.
Outlived its usefulness
In the editorial “UN bias” (August 1), you correctly exposed the antisemitism as well as the big lie that the UN has become. However, you do not in any way suggest what concrete steps might be taken to retaliate and punish the UN for its glaring bias against Israel.
I would suggest that the Israeli government expel the UN from its current location at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem and convert that beautiful location into the prime minister’s residence. The fact remains that the UN’s presence in Jerusalem has long outlived its usefulness, while its governing body has become increasingly hostile to the State of Israel over the years. With this one act, we would kill two birds with one stone.
Two things at the same time
Whereas Walter Bingham makes an excellent case for those of us who are national religious voters to support the Likud-led parties (“An appeal to all right-wing voters,” August 2), he persists in supporting Benjamin Netanyahu to lead it.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many people who can do two things at the same time and do both well. Mr. Netanyahu has demonstrated repeatedly that he isn’t one of them. The last elections were directly the result of his actions. Every action that he took in the Knesset in the last four years was independent of what was the right thing to do for the people, since that didn’t matter to him. The actions were based on his assessment of what was best for himself.
In the unlikely event that Mr. Bingham and/or others can convince Mr. Netanyahu to cease and desist from his selfish actions, either by stepping down as the head of the Likud or by demonstrating rational, correct behavior, then I and others can vote for the Right parties. Without that, we are faced with a conundrum.
HAIM SHALOM SNYDER
I find the name of Israel’s newest party “The Zionist Spirit” inspiring, captivating and probably well overdue in our homeland of political idealists aspiring for political leadership (“Shaked, Hendel, announce joint run,”July 28). It is a name that represents the tenacious spirit of our people and it encompasses the two thousand year dream come reality of Zionism leading to the establishment and preservation of the State of Israel.
What’s in a name? Absolutely everything! I congratulate those who conceived this new party’s name. It is the most complete political party name that I have seen in Israeli politics and for that matter, probably anywhere in the global political spectrum.
Unsuccessful, but well-intentioned
I very strongly fit the profile of those modern Orthodox Jews who Susan Hattis Rolef interviewed, as included in her article titled “Options for the moderate, right-wing religious voter” (August 1). I was hoping she would clear up my confusion and tell me who I’ll likely vote for and whether or not I would like to see Bibi do some time behind bars. Alas, those and other important matters that I’m currently struggling with were left unsaid.
Some modifications to the profile she put together, however, are called for. I’m not, for example, concerned that Zionist Spirit does not yet have a religious individual in a realistic slot, since kippah-wearing legislators in Center-focused parties seem to go out of their way to prove how even handed they are.
My concern is that the new party may include in its platform a more welcoming approach to civil marriage and less cumbersome conversion procedures, both of which I would find a good deal troubling. It’s not clear how long those she interviewed have been in Israel, but the political roots of some, no doubt, lie with the once proud National Religious Party (Mafdal); what that party has metamorphosed into is sad indeed.
And while I agree in principle that the government of a Jewish state should not have to rely on an Arab party to provide stability or to push through important legislation, I do feel that the time has come to provide our Arab population something more than just voices in the opposition. The Bennett/Lapid experiment proved unsuccessful, but was nonetheless well-intentioned.
Another attempt to bring an Arab party into the coalition should not automatically be refused any consideration but, rather, be viewed as a challenge that requires a solution as we’re now into the third decade of the 21st century. And until our election process is revised, small parties will have influence far greater than indicated by their number of seats.
The bottom line is that I do indeed have options when I go behind the curtain in three months’ time; providing, that is, I prioritize the issues that are important to me and figure out which of the parties satisfies them the best. Then I can only hope that, unlike Bennett, those representing the different parties will not break their promises or commitments to their voters.
No special attachment
Regarding “The situation” (July 28): For millennia, most Jews lived outside of their ancestral homeland, often experiencing periods of acceptance followed by persecutions and expulsions. While making great contributions to the societies in which they were temporarily living, they prayed for a return to Zion.
Yet, modern Zionists didn’t arrive in Palestine demanding a state based on divine promises. They bought land and improved its productivity, built schools and hospitals, organized civil defense units, and lobbied world leaders for their cause. When the land of the defunct Ottoman Empire was being divided into modern states, the Yishuv had a de facto government in place and the Zionists were able to build a viable state.
The Palestine to which Zionists traveled in the 1800s was largely underdeveloped and sparsely populated. The Arabs living there had no special attachment to Palestine. Arab leaders who opposed the 1947 UN Partition Plan said that the Arabs of Palestine were Southern Syrians, not needing or deserving a state of their own. Only when Arabs began fleeing Palestine, did they become a distinct group.
The Arabs who had fled and their descendants became the “Palestine refugees,” who have a UN agency assigned solely to their welfare, which hasn’t resettled anyone because Arab leaders insist that Israel must take in millions of “refugees” (99% born in UNRWA camps) who’ve been raised in societies which honor and reward people for killing Jews.
The modern State of Israel has endured wars, terrorist attacks, boycotts, and lawfare for decades. When Israel signed the Oslo Accords, it afforded the Arabs of Palestine the opportunity to live under the administration of leaders of their own choosing, something no Arab state had ever done. Yet, while the elected leaders tell the world they want to build a Palestinian state, it is clear that their true objective is the destruction of the nation-state of the Jews.
Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza was reciprocated with attacks on Israeli population centers and demands that Israel recognize the Palestine refugees’ “Right of Return.” Both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas flatly rejected Israeli proposals for the establishment of a state in portions of Judea and Samaria, even with the possibility of joint governance in parts of Jerusalem.
Abbas insists that signing a peace treaty won’t end the conflict and proclaims that the PA’s payments to Palestinians who murder Israelis is his government’s primary obligation.
Tiny Israel has become a leader in many fields, aiding poor countries to develop their economies and responding, quickly and efficiently, when natural disasters strike throughout the world. The geographic separation between Gaza and Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria would not be a problem for a Palestinian state willing to coexist with the Jewish state.
If there were peace, traffic would flow freely across the region. It’s time to admit that Israel cannot make peace alone. The Palestinian leaders need to build a state in which the people living under their administration (including the “Palestine refugees”) can become productive citizens.
TOBY F. BLOCK
The exciting news that the Israeli Opera will be staging Carmen in the park this coming August (“‘Carmen’ heads to the park,” August 1) will certainly be a treat for all those lovers of Bizet’s majestic extravaganza.
However, and although the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality’s staging of such a free event in Park Hayarkon is most welcome, those of a certain age and or ability not able to attend would certainly be pleased if such an occasion could be televised.
It would clearly present a major opportunity for all throughout Israel to share in and thrill to the “Toreador” beat.
Independence and creativity
Amotz Asa-El’s article “How can Jewish schools be bad?” (July 29) misses the boat entirely and is without any historical perspective. As a parent, grandparent and former teacher I see today’s teachers as victims.
Firstly, especially the younger teachers, those under forty, are victims of the child-raising philosophy that instructed parents and preschool teachers not to correct grammar. Good grammar, which in Hebrew means proper use of masculine and feminine in adjectives and numbers went down very rapidly in the 1980s, and the downward spiral has continued.
For those of us who painstakingly learned the rules and would die of embarrassment if we made a mistake, the accepted incorrect Hebrew is especially jarring. Totally incorrect English is also the norm and even though the rubrics for composition in the English Bagrut requires proper capitalization, The Jerusalem Post would lose points.
Teachers are “prisoners” and the “results” of the system. Too much independence and creativity can get them into trouble. Public education in all countries is a big bureaucracy and big business. When I taught high school English, I was happiest with my remedial groups which let me “escape.” As long as I had succeeded, the system was happy.
Nowadays parents have to buy new workbooks each year for each child, and the teachers must teach from those books, rather than accommodating to the “learning styles” of the students in the class. Even worse is the business aspect.
Instead of textbooks used year after year that teachers worked around planning lessons and requiring the children to copy and write, today’s teachers must get used to new versions almost annually, and kids “circle” the correct answer, draw connecting lines and at most fill in the blanks. These aren’t good tools for writing and thinking. Remember that many teachers are the results of this system.
I have many complaints about the Israeli education system, but listing them and my solutions don’t fit into a letter to the editor.