June 25: Our kids first

The government spends tens of millions to bring college-age Diaspora Jews to Israel, while our own youth serving in the IDF receive NIS 300 per month.

Our kids first
Sir, – While the government spends tens of millions to bring college-age Diaspora Jews to Israel, our own youth serve in the IDF, receiving NIS 300 per month. Now the government wants to invest millions in bringing more Diaspora Jewish youth (“State looks to fund high school-age programs in Israel,” June 23), while what few educational trips our own high school students take are paid for by parents.
Is it too much to ask that our government start investing in its own teens and young adults, at least the same resources we’re in investing in their Diaspora peers?
Editorial off the mark
Sir, – I read your editorial “The lost Jews” (June 18), regarding the massive haredi demonstrations of the day before, with shock and considerable disbelief.
How great is the power of a contrary agenda to “blind the (otherwise) intelligent and distort the truth,” which was plainly on display for all to see.
Far from “congregating to fight for the right to discriminate against their fellow Jews,” the some 150,000 haredim who gathered in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem declared with absolute clarity their disassociation from any form of ethnic-supremacy policies.
What galvanized them in such numbers was their unanimously-perceived need to proclaim unflinching commitment to quality religious education, and their faith in the vitality and unassailability of historical – yes, authentic – Torah values, as adjudged exclusively by the leading Torah sages of our time.
The genuineness and the sheer majesty of the two totally non-violent demonstrations were not lost on many secular commentators.
How sad that your editorial could not see this.
How great, also, is the irony: Israel suffers concurrently, in disbelief, from the concerted propaganda attacks of its enemies around the world, who unabashedly twist the facts and the legal norms to support their agenda, with the “objective” Judge Richard Goldstone in the lead. And just at this time, the very same kind of convoluted campaign of delegitimization is conducted within Israel against its haredi population, with the High Court in the lead. Painful indeed.
In fact – though of course not without their struggles and glitches here and there – mainstream haredi educational institutions are veritable oases of spiritual and moral purity in the very difficult environment of today’s crass and aggressive permissiveness and rampant social frustrations. It is in everyone’s vital interest that this inner kernel of unadulterated Jewishness be allowed to flourish. And, though it may or may not be the American way – as defined in 1954 by the US Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education – this, unfortunately, cannot be maintained here without a degree of religious (not ethnic) segregation.
It is the function of the community’s spiritual leaders – and clearly not of the secular High Court – to responsibly calibrate that degree.
RABBI SHMUEL JAKOBOVITS Dean, Harav Lord Jakobovits Torah Institute of Contemporary IssuesJerusalem
Don’t strike the match
Sir, – Both Lebanon and Iran are preparing ships to to reach Gaza in spite of Israel’s warnings (“Gaza restrictions eased, but naval blockade remains,” June 18).
Both countries have played a disastrous role in the Middle East and have continuously violated United Nations resolutions.
Both have reported that they will start a war on behalf of the ships, their cargo and personnel if the vessels are in any way touched. If the UN does nothing before all hell lets lose, it will have lit the match that ignites this disaster.
The United Nations cannot kowtow forever to the Arab bloc. We who value truth and freedom demand that it warn Iran and Lebanon that they cannot take such provocative actions and expect the world to stand silently by.