Letters to the Editor, May 29, 2023: Rabbinical dominance

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

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

Rabbinical dominance

Multiple kudos to Cookie Schwaeber-Issan for telling it like it is concerning haredi poverty and deprivation for most of those “studying” in the yeshivot (“Forced destiny,” May 28). No exams, no supervision, they drink a lot of coffee and they leave early. Then they blame the state.

They don’t blame the haredi rabbis for their atrocious, deprived, way of life created for the sole purpose of maintaining the haredi rabbinical dominance over their lives. At the end of the article, Cookie hopes that someday secular Israelis would be supportive of the real Torah geniuses if the haredi society engages in self-examination.

No, Cookie. There are secular geniuses who study at universities and colleges but still have jobs. Study doesn’t have to be a 24/7 business. The geniuses can study Torah for eight hours a day, and then get out there for the other 16 hours and live a productive life.

Get a job, at least part-time. Support yourselves. Don’t live a life of beggars. Learn English so that you can read The Jerusalem Post



 Haredi youth are handcuffed together during a protest against National Service enlistment in Jerusalem’s Shabbat Square. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Haredi youth are handcuffed together during a protest against National Service enlistment in Jerusalem’s Shabbat Square. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

One beating heart

Differences are our nation’s strength” by MK Danny Danon (May 25) couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time in our country’s ongoing strife and protestations. 

Mr. Danon talks about the diversity of the tribes at Sinai, as well as in the present day. The tribes, then, seemed to meld their differences into one, so that they were thinking and acting as one organism. They maintained that togetherness through the acceptance of the Torah.

Our rabbi here in Modi’in gives a short dvar Torah (words of Torah) daily. He said that the tribes at Mt. Sinai formed a circle around the mountain, standing very close together, so that God was talking to them as if they were one entity. In that regard, no one person was accepting the laws, but all were privileged to be the recipients equally.

If only Israel could regress in thought to those times and become the shining example to the world with our everlasting love for each other and our eternal gratefulness for the giving of the Torah. We were the chosen people then; we now need to become the chosen people again. We need to be that one entity with one beating heart, in sync with each other regardless of cultural or religious differences.

How, you ask? Stop the infighting among the religious factions, stop the fighting among so-called Right- and Left-leaning groups, stop using language that drags us down to the gutters of society, especially comparisons to the Holocaust, and stop the protests that are shredding our society.

We must become partners with everyone in our quest for a more democratic, peace-loving, religiously tolerant nation. We are different, but we are also all the same. We want Israel to continue to stand as a beacon of light guiding all Jews back to this holy, sacred land.

We always come together as an amazing unified force in the wake of trouble. Now we must show that same force to continue in peace and prosperity.

With that in mind, I hope you all had a joyful, peaceful, cheesecake-filled Shavuot!



More closely aligned

We see a more nuanced Douglas Bloomfield in the article “The two-state dissolution” (May 25) when he talks of “the little remaining hope” for a two-state solution being more remote now than right after the signing of the Oslo Accords 30 years ago. He has finally become more closely aligned with the Israeli people on the prospects of peace with the Palestinians.

He even quotes J Street, which he incorrectly describes as being “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace,” as eventually owning up that Abbas’s vitriolic attack against Israel at the United Nations regarding the Nakba Day celebrations was “outlandish [and] offensive.”

In a recent press release from the lobby group on the ongoing turmoil within Israel, they state that “both countries [the US and Israel] face very real threats posed by illiberal far-Right movements” and they call upon “pro-democracy forces” in both countries to continue the struggle. In Israel, that illiberal far-Right movement might also be called a duly elected government – reflecting the will of the people.

In America, we now know with certainty, after the release of the long-awaited Durham Report, that the whole “Trump-Russia collusion” was a fraud cooked up by the Clinton campaign for the 2016 presidential election. Then in the waning weeks of the 2020 election, there was the concerted fraud regarding the Hunter Biden laptop similarly being called “Russian disinformation.”

Both activities by the Democratic Party had the intent only of altering the outcome of the two presidential elections. Bloomfield and his running mates need to think carefully before calling Israel, anti-democratic.

Amusingly, Bloomfield concludes with his long-held wish to see Netanyahu behind bars, thereby removing from Israel the right to elect its own prime minister.



The real issue is not the status of the two-state solution negotiations, but the competition between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is working to unseat the PA and is doing so by increasing the volume of terrorist attacks. Israel’s response is then used as proof that the PA is incapable of protecting Palestinians.

The PA then incites riots. The group between the two that appears more belligerent is the one that emerges victorious. Hamas is winning, as revealed by a recent poll in which over 70% of Palestinians choose Hamas over the PA. If the PA went into negotiations it would appear weak, a death sentence if there ever was one.

The only way the PA can maintain any equilibrium is to be more hostile toward Israel, which explains why its leader Mahmoud Abbas just ratcheted up his antisemitic pronouncements at the UN. Because of this Palestinian power struggle, there is nothing Israel can do, no concession it can make that will get Hamas and the PA to engage in peace negotiations.



 READING FROM the Torah in synagogue: Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments. These commandments, like the Torah, offer stories, insights, values and actions as ways in to God (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
READING FROM the Torah in synagogue: Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments. These commandments, like the Torah, offer stories, insights, values and actions as ways in to God (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

More God

Gil Troy is interesting to read, whether or not I agree with his take on something in particular. But I’ve noticed a definite difference in his writing over the years, as more warmth and greater receptivity have crept in. His article on “Finding God on Shavuot” (May 24) explains why.

How wonderful it is that such an enormously creative and not only talented but gifted individual continues to grow personally and can also express the process so well as to provide an inspiration to many others. How heartwarming it was to read his plea for us to bring more God into our life. I am grateful to the Post for publishing Gil Troy’s articles.



Christian messianism

I have been a regular reader of your paper and have been receiving a delivery daily of The Jerusalem Post for some 36 years. I was extremely disappointed and taken aback to have seen the full-page advertisement headlined “Revelation in our times” (May 25).

There is nothing wrong in publishing articles related to any other religion. It is not becoming though for the Post to be used to publish an advertisement aimed at spreading Christian messianism. This ad is the work of Christian missionaries trying to “save the Jews from eternal purgatory.”

Out of respect for Christian sensitivity, I am quite convinced that you would refrain from publishing a similar full-page advertisement proving that the Christian savior is false. Factually he does not fulfill even one of the preconditions of being the true Messiah described in our scriptures.

There is obviously no need for The Jerusalem Post to involve itself in publications which could be perceived to be hurtful to adherents of any religion. I would hope too that the publication of the advertisement was not driven by commercial considerations.



Cuts both ways

Regarding “With budget secured, judicial overhaul talks return to spotlight” (May 25): “The coup d’etat will not pass,” and with those words, Yair Lapid’s mask has slipped and this genial, telegenic opposition leader has revealed himself not as a serious politician but a rabble rouser drunk on his own brief hold on power and yearning to overthrow a democratically elected government, in order to get it back.

He may not like the budget, indeed it is his role to attack it, but he has failed at doing so. Instead, he screams “coup d’etat” because he lost the election and like an ex-US president, he refuses to accept that reality.

This man is dangerous and although it’s fun to gather and scream about “democracy” every Saturday night, that sword cuts both ways and he needs to adhere to his side of the bargain.


Zichron Ya’acov

Conventional assumptions

Yonah Jeremy Bob’s analysis of how Iranian nuclear weaponization might proceed misses some sinister and dangerous possibilities (“Why is Iranian nuclear ‘weaponization’ decisive?” May 25). Specifically, an Iranian nuclear weapon need not be miniaturized, and a neutron initiator need not be included.

The “gun-type” Hiroshima bomb, for example, required no miniaturization. It merely required rapid assembly of two sub-critical masses of U-235, brought about by firing one of the masses into the other one with a conventional explosive, inside a hollow cylinder.

Furthermore, the inclusion of a neutron initiator in this device was a decision made late in its development, as Manhattan Project scientists believed it might improve the explosive yield, but was not necessary to produce a nuclear detonation (Carey Sublette, “Section 8.0, The First Nuclear Weapons,” July 2007). Overall it was thought unnecessary to test this design, as its simplicity and certainty were thought to be sufficient without testing.

Such a device need not be miniaturized or delivered as a missile warhead. It could be smuggled into Lebanon and detonated on a day when there is a north wind, thus both damaging northern Israel and subjecting the entire country to radioactive fallout.

It could be sealed into a lead-lined container and smuggled onto a ship which would then sail just offshore of Israel. The resulting detonation would cause severe damage to Israel’s coasts, and with a west wind irradiate much of the country. Iran also has submarines which could carry such a weapon close to the Israeli coast and then detonate it.

Finally, Iran does not have to manufacture a fully functioning nuclear weapon. They could instead construct several “dirty” conventional missile warheads, load them up with enriched uranium, and fire them at Israel. Any that got through could contaminate their target areas for decades.

It’s dangerous to rely on conventional assumptions about the risks posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The terrorist tyrants of Tehran do not comprise a conventional regime. Israel cannot afford to make the kind of mistake France made with the Maginot Line.

I fervently hope that the IDF is monitoring and planning for these and all other feasible scenarios of a nuclear attack by Iran.


Williamsville, NY

TV immunity

Your editorial “Adopt IHRA” (May 23) explains that the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition “is the gold standard when it comes to defining contemporary Jew-hatred,” and that “it has been adopted by 40 governments and multilateral organizations.” It would be helpful if Israel would implement this IHRA definition.

In such a case, Channel 12’s Galit Gutman would fall under this definition as promoting antisemitism. In Germany or France, she would be fired for referring to members of the haredi community as “bloodsuckers,” and most probably she would be indicted for antisemitic incitement.

In Israel, the only Jewish state on the globe, such incitement is pardoned, and Gutman enjoys a kind of TV immunity.

Antisemitic incitement must be eradicated in the Jewish state. Otherwise, how can we preach to other nations to combat antisemitism?