June 4, 2017: Why interfere?

Like our great-grandchild, these children cry out for help in the battle for their lives.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Why interfere?
With regard to “Barghouti vows hunger strike will resume if demands not met” (June 1), Israel must stop interfering with Marwan Barghouti’s and other Palestinian security prisoners’ inalienable right to self-expression and self-determination.
Allow them their hunger strike and wish them success on its ultimate completion. The money saved on their meals should be distributed to the families of their victims.
Beit Shemesh

Like any monopoly
With regard to “A Torah for all” (Editorial, June 1), monopolies are dangerous, inefficient and highly profitable. It is for these reasons that any government that cares for the welfare of its citizens will either prevent their formation or at least regulate them very closely.
At present, the Chief Rabbinate is the only institution allowed to issue official certificates of kashrut. Naturally, given its monopolistic power, it has abused it by threatening institutions that don’t bow to its demand on other matters.
The simple solution is to allow alternative institutions to offer kashrut supervision and certification.
It will not take long for the observant public that cares about such things to discern which kashrut certifications are reliable and which cannot be trusted, just as is the situation outside of Israel.
Meanwhile, all the other monopolies that exist in Israel – and there are many – should be examined to see if their continued existence is necessary or desirable. The default decision should be to abolish them unless a very strong case can be made for their retention.
Ma’aleh Adumim
A need to fight
Hadassah Fidler writes in “Manchester terrorist attack” (Comment & Features, June 1): “Around Manchester, there have been vigils and an outpouring of grief together with statements about how Mancunians are sturdy and resilient and will not be bowed by this act of terrorism, how they will not turn one person’s actions into a crusade against Muslims and how they are strong and refuse to let this attack change their views.”
Where are the anger at the wicked and the courage to fight radical Islam? These “lone wolf” terrorists (a term used by former US president Barack Obama) love it when good people say they will “not be bowed” and, in effect, that they will do nothing to fight jihad. The murderers can continue with their terror.
I’m a supporter of US President Donald Trump. He shows appropriate anger and courage.
Bnei Brak

Crass coldness
We are the great-grandparents of a very young child whose life was saved by the dedicated care of Prof. Michael Weintraub and his team at Hadassah. They are truly angels of God.
Regarding “Patients’ parents reject plan to solve Hadassah crisis” (May 30), two of the points raised expose a degree of crass coldness bordering on apathy to the urgent needs of cancer-stricken children.
Reporter Judy Siegel writes: “Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman has refused to allow Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center to open a competing pediatric hemato-oncology department,” and that “Litzman ordered other medical centers not to hire [the nine staff members of Hadassah’s pediatric oncology department] together or singly.”
Who does Litzman think he is? Such an attitude smacks of a dictatorial arrogance. One would expect more, much more, from the minister of health. Like our great-grandchild, these children cry out for help in the battle for their lives.
To play with their lives is intolerable.
That Litzman and Hadassah Medical Organization director- general Zeev Rotstein plan to replace these veteran doctors with rotating doctors from other hospitals is calamitous.
To even think that such a scheme, with its discontinuity, can possibly match the daily interaction and medical care of nine senior doctors is absurd.
This appears to be a blatant effort by Litzman to protect Rotstein, a protégé whose policies, behavior and actions appear to be based more on getting millions of shekels from foreign patients – including many Palestinians – than truly caring for Israeli children stricken with cancer.
Siegel’s article adds that last Purim, Rotstein “wrote a ‘humorous’ letter to friends calling Weintraub ‘Haman’ and making other such negative comparisons to Shaare Zedek.”
Belittling a world-respected oncologist demeans both the person and the position of HMO’s director-general.
We are shocked that neither the mayor of Jerusalem nor the prime minister have spoken out on behalf of children who are battling for their lives. Would they keep silent if, God forbid, their own children or grandchildren were afflicted?
Beit Shemesh
Not much uplift
Hoping to be spiritually uplifted on reading your Shavuot supplement (May 30), I was extremely unimpressed by some of its offerings.
In the first article, “Loving the stranger,” I had to read the author’s views on intermarriage – “that good things can sometimes be gained” from it. As an Orthodox Jewess, I believe that intermarriage will lead to the destruction of the Jewish people.
Continuing, I read about expanding tourism to Acre.
Great! Lovely! Absolutely agree! Except it seems there’s not one kosher restaurant in the entire city! This negates a large segment of the Israeli population, as well as tourists, from spending much time there. I, for one, do not intend to take my tuna sandwiches there anytime soon! I wonder what the Rosh Hashana supplement will have in store for your Orthodox readers.

Different liberalism
With regard to “The myth of ‘American Jewish Liberalism’” (Terra Incognita, May 29), Seth J.
Frantzman, asks: “Why did people go on the freedom rides to the American South? Was it because they felt superior and were trying to burnish their ‘good deed’ credentials, or was it because of a passionate belief in civil rights? It was probably the latter. But that has morphed into something else.”
Frantzman is absolutely right to question the “liberalism” of so many Americans who “play such a major role in Israel’s settler movement” and “fight for civil rights for all in the US, but ignore millions of Palestinians who are their neighbors and who lack basic voting rights and civil liberties.” He is wrong, however, to couple the liberalism of the American Jewish community with those West Bank settlers.
Arrested in Jackson Mississippi, in June of 1961, I can’t speak for my other Freedom Rider colleagues, but I think we felt proud to be liberal idealists – not “superior.” Nor did I serve 39 days in Parchman Penitentiary because I was “trying to burnish any good deeds.” Rather, I believe my colleagues and I felt empathy for, and outrage at, the way African-Americans were being treated.
As for my liberalism having “morphed into something else,” I suspect the empathy that inspired me to feel a connection to the suffering and discrimination of African-Americans in the Jim Crow South now moves me and many other American Jewish liberals to feel the suffering and discrimination of Palestinians who daily endure the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Frantzman might want to call such righteous compassion a “myth of American Jewish liberalism.”
I call it the reality of proud Jewish liberals whose evolution has aged with the politics and events of our time – an evolution nurtured out of an empathy for those who continue to suffer the heavy burden of discrimination and injustice.
Santa Cruz, California
The writer is a rabbi.