Letters to the Editor: Not on the list

Considering the divisive acts that have taken place in Jerusalem during the past year, maybe it’s not such a surprise.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Not on the list
With regard to “Tragedy generates unity” (June 2), I went to the official residence of President Reuven Rivlin to attend the ceremony for Unity Day. I was turned away at the door because I “wasn’t on the list.”
Before going, I saw no other public events that day on the Unity website. As I noted to the staff member, I think it’s odd that there are no public events that are open to all the Jewish people on Unity Day.
Considering the divisive acts that have taken place in Jerusalem during the past year, maybe it’s not such a surprise.
We saw Jerusalem, “built as a city united together,” divided by a barrier, split for perhaps the first time since 1967. We even saw an attempt to split the Western Wall in two – except that for some, the plan apparently wasn’t divisive enough. And more recently, the government added an extremist and divisive defense minister to its ranks and now claims to want to talk about peace.
I have some ideas about events for Unity Day in Jerusalem.
As we approach the Shavuot holiday – the original Jewish unity day – I’d like to remind the president, prime minister, defense minister and all people (including Jews and Arabs) that everyone should be “on the list.” Everyone should be invited to this party. Now’s the time to get it started.
Mental gymnastics
I hesitated before deciding to comment on Adam Keller’s “Israel 2016: A house divided” (June 2), since it is just a rehash of the same old tired mantras of the extreme-Left BDS brigade, the usual distortions and lies that really aren’t worth the time to respond to in detail.
We all know the rejectionist, racist line of the Arabs and their apologist supporters, and don’t need yet another reiteration.
However, Keller’s attempt to recruit Abraham Lincoln to his fantasy world of mirror-image reasoning is worthy of a retort, if only because of the originality of the mental gymnastics involved.
Perhaps it is superfluous to point out that the slaves of the US were kidnapped, transported and imprisoned, something that as far as I am aware, does not apply to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. The blacks most emphatically did not struggle to expel the whites back to Europe or destroy them by suicidal terror. When they did fight for the North (and South!), they did so with whites and for white-espoused values of liberty and freedom.
There is no similarity whatever between them and their champion, Abraham Lincoln, and the ferocious criminality of extreme Islam and Arab nationalism.
The other side
Pnina Omer (“The winds of overwhelming shame,” Comment & Features, May 31) highlights two extremely grave societal problems – violence perpetrated against women by their spouses, and the phenomenon of sarvanut get, whereby a man refuses to give his wife a Jewish writ of divorce.
While not minimizing the seriousness of these offenses, I would like to point out that there are two related crimes that do not get sufficient media attention.
First, a growing number of women and their lawyers are cynically filing false charges of violence with the police and in the courts as part of the opening shot in a divorce battle.
From personal experience, I have seen how devastating this tactic can be – the man is issued a restraining order and finds himself suddenly unable to return to his home or see his children while his wife embarks on a campaign of denigration. It is a long uphill battle for him to demonstrate his innocence and regain his good name.
Second, men can also be victims of a sarvanut get. Under the false claim of shalom bayit (peace in the home) in a rabbinical court, the woman can refuse to accept a get and delay the process indefinitely, thus causing much suffering for everyone involved.
Shame on the women, and the lawyers supporting them, who rely on such tactics!
A close family member of the writer is undergoing a bitter divorce.
Bizarre notion
In your May 30 editorial “Just demand,” you say: “Watching [Avigdor] Liberman – a man who heads a party with just six MKs – take the Defense portfolio must not be easy for Bennett, who probably believes he is more deserving as head of a party with eight MKs.”
More deserving because his party has more seats in the Knesset? Here is one of the more egregious, damaging factors in our system of government.
What a bizarre notion! Qualification for a cabinet post should be based on a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects of the ministry, and on his or her administrative ability.
An example of this method was US President Barack Obama’s choice of Robert Gates, a holdover from a Republican administration, as secretary of defense because Gates was a man who fit the description of what an administrator should be. It was the result of Obama’s confidence in Gates’s proven ability to bring success to the office and carry out the president’s program, not because he was member of the party with the most seats in Congress.
Our ministers are frequently shifted from ministry to ministry or appointed based on party leverage growing out of coalition politics. Thus, ministries see no end of new ministers who dissolve policy and programs, and create new ones. The Education Ministry is a prime example. No wonder our education system is such a mess.
A new paradigm for appointments must be devised that eliminates coalition politics, egos and political reward, and the egregious damage and blackmail from small parties.
Israel’s citizens deserve a better government than that to which we are consistently subjected.
A thundering yes
A few days ago, I had the alltoo- rare pleasure of going to a theater performance. The occasion was Disney’s Aladdin by the Encore Educational Theater Company at the Beit Shmuel auditorium in Jerusalem.
My brother and I attended the 5 p.m. performance and found the auditorium filled to the brim with spectators, including many children with their parents. All were anxious to see Aladdin rub his magic lamp, but what I saw made me rub my eyes in disbelief as the show got underway.
Whereas I had expected to see a rather amateurish production, everything from the accompanying orchestra to the cast, costumes and sets was of the highest theatrical standard and extremely professional.
This was true for the main performers: Ziv Shalit as Aladdin, Lauren Flaherty as Princess Jasmine, Art Gilboa as the genie, Mordechai Buzner as Jafar, Michael Ben Eliezer as the sultan, and a very fine supporting cast of dancers.
The song solos, without exception, elicited big rounds of applause. In fact, it was hard to find any weak point in the production, which kept the audience enthralled from start to finish, testifying to the hard work of the artistic and musical directors of the company, Robert Binder and Paul Salter, and their large production team.
I was amazed to learn that the Encore shows are not given press reviews, so I am happy to give this superb production a thundering yes of approval and am eagerly looking forward to the next production.