December 18, 2015: Presidential politics

Envelope (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Presidential politics
Is President Reuven Rivlin any more political than his predecessor (“Rivlin must eschew politics,” Candidly Speaking, December 17)? After his latest foray at the Haaretz conference, it is time to reconsider the continuation of what is supposed to be a ceremonial position.
Unless the presidency resembles the role of the British crown, ways must be found to limit his activities with repercussions to political activities. Freedom of expression should not be applicable to a position that is supposed to represent the consensus of Israel’s citizens with his own personal political views.
New York
Defining terms
We remain stumped why your editorial (“Lowering the tone,” December 16) cites a “Palestinian village,” whereas Jewish communities re-established on their own ancient land are referred to as “settlements” throughout the paper. Your definition of these terms is absolutely necessary.
Dynamic Judaism
A wise man once said that one’s definite position is one’s weakness. With all the certainty, self-assurance and self-righteous pomposity expressed by these latest defenders of the faith, Sara Stern and Sholom Gold (Letters, December 16), one ought to prepare quickly for the arrival of ‘Mashiach’ who will undoubtedly be welcomed by a fully repentant Israeli-Jewish community universally dedicated to Orthodoxy in faith, observance and commitment to Halachic Judaism, Zionism and ‘Medinat Yisrael.’
But of course this will not happen. There are just too many of us Israeli Jews out there whose “positions” are not nearly as “definite” as those of Stern and Gold. To insist that there is only one stream of Judaism and that Torah Judaism and its historical evolution have not had its enormous share of “man-made, open to constant revision, rejection and change” is to brandish a medieval sword of “my way or no way.” Like most things in our complex lives, diversity may have a “dark side.”
But when the God of creation said: “let there be light” and followed it with the creation of humanity that was to be “many,” surely, the intention was not robotically infinite copies of one human model.
Returning to our homeland with all its external and internal problems calls for unity of national purpose, but a “dynamism” of effort from within a “diverse” Jewish peoplehood.
Letter writer Sarah Stern should be careful with the tired argument against the liberal Jewish movements – that the Orthodox have the correct religious standards and we don’t. Yes, I want a doctor and a lawyer that have studied in the “authentic medical or law books.” But even Ms. Stern would like her doctor or attorney to have studied in books published in recent years and not in the 19th century, when the Orthodox movement crystallized, and have learned new techniques taking into accounts modern developments.
Come on, Ms. Stern, attack us, but be a bit more creative about it!
Cruel and unusual
The recent complaints about Israel using excessive force should be addressed. Maybe the Palestinians who drive into pedestrians or a bus stop should not be shot, but every effort should be made to capture them alive. Then they can be sentenced to refresher courses in safe driving by the Transportation Ministry.
On second thought, I had to take one of those courses many years ago. I recall it as cruel and unusual punishment so it’s likely that this policy wouldn’t placate the United Nations either.