Letters to the Editor: Haredi rioting

Let’s be fair and open-minded, but democracy and free speech have their limitations. One cannot scream fire in a movie theater invoking free speech.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Haredi rioting
How can a sect of supposedly the most Orthodox Jews – keepers of the Torah, holy men – be so perverted and their brand of Judaism so distorted (“Haredim riot for third night in a row over army service,” February 10)? These men and young boys who have been demonstrating are anything but holy. They are hooligans, troublemakers. Look at their faces, their anger, the demeanor. They destroy property and create chaos. They curse and resist police who are trying to keep order.
What is going on here? They are physically hurting their fellow Jews! (And what about their wives and mothers who have the sad burden of cleaning all their heavy clothing, wet from the water cannons?) Where are the leaders? Aren’t there any holy men, perhaps some rabbis, who are honorable and who can rein in this insanity? Doesn’t anyone in the community have a voice? Isn’t anyone ashamed of this behavior? Aren’t we ashamed that this is happening in our society today?
Neve Ilan
Free speech
Amazingly, your February 10 editorial “Free speech” believes municipalities should allow organizations on the fringe of society have access to public buildings.
Perhaps we should allow the Muslim brotherhood, Fatah members or, for that matter, neo-Nazis.
Let’s be fair and open-minded, but democracy and free speech have their limitations. One cannot scream fire in a movie theater invoking free speech.
Allowing organizations that are primarily funded from abroad by Israel’s harshest critics and which look to do harm don’t deserve to have freedoms reserved for Israeli citizens.
Your editorial confuses two issues. No one is opposed to permitting free speech to the NGO Breaking the Silence. Its members have every right to declare, openly and without hindrance, that many soldiers and officers in the IDF are war criminals.
But this is not the issue.
The issue at hand is whether public funds should be allotted to an NGO to help it promote its agenda. Personally, I totally oppose seeing my taxes being used to declare that my children who serve in the IDF are murderers.
It is the task of elected public officials to decide which projects are worthy of financial support and which are not. I hope they will take my views into account before distributing public funds.
Petah Tikva
What I believe is troubling about Breaking the Silence is the anonymity aspect. How can we know from whom a testimony has come? Maybe there are some talented writers on the staff who might even, heaven forbid, invent and/or elaborate on stories? Freedom of speech demands full disclosure and truth.
Shoresh Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev accuses Breaking the Silence of “spreading lies” even though she never actually listens to what the organization has to say. In stark contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and most politicians (including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat) peddle blatant untruths nonstop, but are never denied a venue from which to spout their lies.
Selective free speech?
Your editorial is highly problematic and probably disingenuous.
It is fair to ask whether you would support as “free speech” calls for the transfer of all Palestinians from Judea and Samaria because for historical, religious and cultural reasons the entire Land of Israel belongs to the Jews. Should municipal funds be used to subsidize a lecture on this subject? Particularly shocking is your suggestion that expressions of Holocaust denial should also be permitted in the name of freedom of speech. To quote from your editorial: “Permitting the voicing of outrageous or appalling views... is essential for intellectual growth and development.
Baseless claims that the world is flat or that the Holocaust did not happen or that the IDF is immoral challenge us to question how we know what we know. How do we prove all of the claims are false? Perhaps a grain of truth exists in some of them?” If claims are baseless, what is the point in discussing them? If they are baseless, how can there be a grain of truth?
Your editorial, regrettably, misses the main and overriding point: survival.
We, because of the hostility of an assortment of our neighbors, have been at war since the birth of our state. Hence, we are not in the same position as the liberal democracies of western Europe whose security is not at risk (at least not yet).
Our democracy has to be defended, and this includes an approach related to the attitude of the UK and US during World War II, namely, restricted speech that will be of minimum help to our antagonists.
We dare not allow those who hope to destroy us to weaken our resolve to survive. Indeed, organizations that assist our enemies by trying to undermine our determination must be curtailed.
Tel Aviv
Outspoken to the end
The Jerusalem Post recently lost one of its most outspoken readers with the death of Leonard Zurakov, 95, of Netanya. I think readers of the letters section might be interested to know something about him.
Zurakov, who made aliya from Chicago, was a lifelong teacher and an ardent Labor Zionist. He spent World War II as a radio operator in a C-47.
Based in England, his squadron supplied Gen. George Patton’s army as it advanced across Germany and later evacuated the Dachau concentration camp.
After the war, he got involved in Zionist activities, recruiting pilots for the future Israel Air Force.
In 1958, Zurakov won a Fulbright Scholarship to train teachers of English as a second language in Israel. He returned to the country permanently in 1971 and settled in Netanya, where he served as chairman of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel.
In his later years, he could no longer walk to the AACI offices, but he could still read the Post every day and comment on the news in letters to the editor.
Between 1997 and 2017, the newspaper published 248 of his letters. He was often the only reader to voice support for leftwing politicians and liberal policies, which made him a lightening rod for right-leaning readers.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Eleanor Seltzer (Etti) Zurakov, who wrote the Post’s All in the Family column from 1976 to 1984 under the pen name Eleanor Harris.
Behind the times
With regard to “NGOs petition High Court to strike settlement law as unconstitutional” (February 9), these NGOs are behind the times.
The Jordan Opposition Coalition, which was formed about six years ago, recently produced a detailed plan, “Operation Jordan in Palestine,” which proposes a realistic two-state solution where Jordan is the natural homeland for all Palestinians and Israel is sovereign west of the River Jordan.
This is, in effect, what Alec Kirkbride, a British diplomat spanning four decades in the Middle East, mainly in mandated Palestine, confirmed in his 1956 book A Crackle of Thorns as being British policy in the 1920s, which led to the establishment of Transjordan.
CLARIFICATION “NFL players pull out of Israel trip, don’t want to be ‘used’” (Sports, February 12) was by Jerusalem Post staff, and not as stated