Letters to the Editor

Your editorial makes the point of linking Orthodoxy with coercion and lack of innovation – in short, being undemocratic and unfair.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Heavens rejoice
In their interview with Nickolay Mladenov (“‘Daydreaming’ to think Israel, PA can negotiate now,” February 21), Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff confronted the UN’s special envoy to the Middle East with substantive, hard-hitting questions worthy of their profession.
For his part, Mladenov sounded more like Chatty Kathy, the talking doll of the 1960s. He offered a limited repertoire of fixed responses that were not exactly relevant to the questions posed. It was a broken record of “occupation,” “oppression,” “frustration” and “violence,” with an occasional reference to “incitement.”
I think we all saw where this was going.
The heavens must be rejoicing because a high official at the UN has finally admitted that the world body mistreats Israel . Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special Middle East envoy, used the word “sometimes,” but any objective observer would say it has mistreated Israel many, many times.
Just as the concept of equal treatment cannot be only an abstract concept, the whole premise of the United Nations is wrong to begin with. The Security Council is dominated by the nations that are powerful and have their own interests. They do not hesitate to hypocritically state that their own narrow interests serve the purpose of peace and morality.
We can now see Turkey, Russia and the United States acting according to their own interests in Syria. It is high drama every day. But no one cares about the Syrian people. This is why I am so pleased that an official of the UN has admitted to discrimination against Israel, and this is why I still hope that the UN will be reborn under different rules and strategies so the world will have a chance for peace.
Mikve’s centrality
Regarding “Free the Mikve!” (Editorial, February 19), I feel my security here in Israel is at stake – more than from any terrorist attack. The mikve laws underpin the Jewish family unit, and the family unit is the basis of the Jewish nation.
My husband and I made aliya 25 years ago because we felt the need to be a part of ensuring the nation of Israel’s survival in its homeland. Our survival here depends on our faithfulness to God’s Torah. This is a basic Jewish belief.
The mikve, possibly more than any other mitzva, is based on ne’emanut (faithfulness). The husband has to depend on his wife’s word. The woman has to depend on the mikve being kosher, and on the balanit (attendant) doing her job faithfully.
The balanit has to depend on the woman’s word that she has made the proper checks before immersing in the mikve.
Our continuity as Jews depends on this. In fact, it is well known that if a community can build only one communal institution, it must be a mikve, which is perhaps the ultimate symbol of our faithfulness. It can serve no other agenda.
I tremble when I send my sons to our army – and my prayer is that we may merit God’s protection.
We have a brit (agreement) with Him. We cannot forget that it is a two-way brit.
We have to serve God and not ourselves, at least when it comes to the mikve.
Your editorial makes the point of linking Orthodoxy with coercion and lack of innovation – in short, being undemocratic and unfair.
There seems to be a basic mistake or misunderstanding.
Democracy and freedom must allow free religious practice, but they cannot determine what is and what is not religious practice.
Religion is a set of God-given rules that one can accept or reject, but they are not changed by coercive pressures.
Enough is enough.
YITZCHOK ELEFANT Dimona The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona.
Dishonest platitudes
Your February 16 lead headline “Olmert enters jail, becomes first PM to go behind bars” shone light on a shameful side of Israeli society.
Continuing this theme, especially concerning something mentioned in “What Olmert the inmate can expect on the inside,” which appeared in the same issue, I would like to ask if the reporter merely copied an Israel Prisons Service press release. The reason lies in the penultimate paragraph, which implies that the Prisons Service treats all inmates with “dignity.”
A few days ago, I spoke to a recently released prisoner. This person described a degrading, Dickensian regime light years away from that described in the article. It might very well be that Olmert will be treated with dignity, but this is because of who he is. It is not necessarily the case with the general prison population.
I have heard that many, although not all, Israeli prison guards humiliate prisoners, so please don’t act as a Prisons Service PR firm and publish such dishonest platitudes.
Moral confusion
While I join Dov Lipman in his totally justified condemnation of Deputy Minister Meir Porush for his boorish, ugly and polarizing remarks concerning the Women of the Wall (“Fire Deputy Minister Porush,” Observations, February 5), I am profoundly disturbed by the contrasting example he offers.
Lipman passionately endorses the reactions of Michal and Shivi Froman after the pregnant Michal was stabbed by a 15-year-old Palestinian terrorist. Both husband and wife declared that they had not changed their views, adding: “There has to be recognition of the other.... We must make their lives easier and help them develop economically.”
Sadly, the Fromans’ lack of hatred and harshness reflects an apparent inability to express their absolute loathing of the savage beast that committed this atrocity. Are these proclamations of moral confusion deserving of Lipman’s unstinting admiration? I think not! We are being placed in a confessional and are hearing egotistical declarations of moral delusions that are rooted in moral cowardice. The Fromans are, in reality, fearful of recognizing the “other” because they would be confronted by a demonic monstrosity disguised as a humanoid and driven by a legacy of over 2,000 years of ingrained hatred of the Jew.
Such a monstrosity must be met only by utter revulsion and consummate detestation. Its evil culture of death defies and betrays all human attempts at understanding.
I am also unfortunately led to believe that Lipman himself shares some of this moral confusion when he resorts to biblical distortions in attempting to vindicate the Fromans’ distinctly non-Jewish reaction to conspicuous evil. By some bizarre exegetical casuistry, he attempts to relate to the Torah’s command to be kind to the stranger.
Let the reader be assured that the Divine wisdom that requires the utmost concern for the stranger, widow and orphan does not include in that grouping the ogre who wants to take your life.
Hardly watered down
Regarding reader Harry Resnick’s letter about the Kinneret’s water level (“State of Kinneret,” Letters, January 29), a flood of such information is available on the Water Authority website (www.water.gov.il) if one searches for it. The site has the Kinneret’s levels going back to 1966 (although there is only a sprinkling of data prior to 1991).
I could shower your readership with the highest and lowest Kinneret levels on any given date, but they might storm the Post’s letters editor with a deluge or blizzard of complaints, calling me a drip and raining on my parade.
ERIC MACK Jerusalem