December 18: Fortuitous defect

December 18 Fortuitous

Fortuitous defect Sir, - Leslie Wagner deals admirably with the legal aspects of the UK Supreme Court majority decision ("Yet another defect in UK law," December 17) but it also needs to be considered in an historical perspective. From 1732 until just 20 or so years ago, JFS enjoyed remarkable success without the obstacle of admission solely by matrilineal descent, and the Jewish community not only survived, but developed and strengthened. So traditionalists need not tear out their hair or don sackcloth and ashes for the anticipated demise of Anglo Jewry. Devising a religious test will undoubtedly be a difficult exercise, but it should offer the JFS an opportunity to judge the Jewish background of all the pupils seeking admission - whatever the style or type of Judaism they or their families legitimately embrace. Wagner quotes one of the justices as saying that the grounds on which M was rejected "may well be considered [by whom?] perfectly reasonable in the religious context," but if there are to be any changes to the legislation, they should not merely reestablish the status quo ante. RAYMOND CANNON Netanya Misuse of power Sir, - As long as the current defense minister continues to use the army for political purposes, it is legitimate and, indeed, imperative for soldiers to protest against him ("Rabbi Melamed may state political protest in army is wrong," Internet Edition, December 17). The army was created to defend the State of Israel against its enemies. Are Jewish, law-abiding so-called "settlers" enemies of the state? Is freezing building in any Jewish city, town or village - thereby preventing natural growth and causing untold financial damage to people who have already contracted with builders - not a political action against Jews, whom the defense forces' main objective is to protect? I am outraged at this misuse of power. Our army must never be used again as it was in Gaza. RUTH BROCH Moshav Shadmot Mehola Hanukka spirits Sir, - The AP story about kosher wines ("Kosher wines uncork their premium side," December 14) omitted mention of the acceptance of kosher wines in the connoisseur world. This was achieved by Israeli and French kosher wine producers. It also omitted the relevance of wine to the Hanukka narrative. Although Michelle Locke writes that "wine doesn't play a big part in Hanukka," there is, indeed a connection: Yehudit served wine and cheese to the Greek dictator in order to get him drunk, and then killed him and saved the Jews of her time. Wine and cheese are consumed on Hanukka in remembrance of this deed. Women are also remembered for their role in the victory. AHARON GOLDBERG Hatzor Haglilit