April 25: Generous to a fault?

A fifth question to add to Sarah Honig's four questions for PM Olmert: Why does the Foreign Ministry still supply "unlimited quantities of cooking gas" to Gazans?

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Generous to a fault? Sir, - A fifth question to add to Sarah Honig's four questions for PM Olmert: Why does the Foreign Ministry still supply "unlimited quantities of cooking gas" to Gazans? It's been widely reported that many cars in Gaza have been converted to use cooking gas ("Cars lie idle on Gaza streets, and many of the vehicles still running use fuel alternatives: cooking gas, mixtures of vegetable oil, diesel and kerosene" - Diaa Hadid, Associated Press writer, April 14). It's reasonable to think that terrorists are traveling in vehicles fueled by the cooking gas so generously provided by Israel ("My four Seder questions," UpFront, April 18.) STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe Sir, - Sarah Honig's first three questions come with good answers - it's the fourth that's lacking. Any Gush Katif settlers still "homeless" are so by choice. They were given hundreds of thousands of dollars (not shekels) per family and could easily have purchased new homes and started over. However, the people who were subsidized for decades by the regular taxpayer, and subsidized again to move back, demand yet another subsidy to have new towns built exclusively for them. That doesn't induce sympathy. Then there's the major difference between Gush Katif and Judea/Samaria. In the former, 9,000 people controlled 20 percent of a territory of over a million people, not close to anything Jews should consider moral. In addition, all of Gaza was part of the proposed second Palestinian nation (Jordan being the first) under any peace agreement. Meanwhile, Jews have an ancient presence in Judea and Samaria, and our ethnic cleansing in 1948 by Arabs doesn't remove our right to be there. Until the Palestinians are serious about negotiating borders, only areas we know will be part of a Palestinian state should be off-limits - unless the government ever finds the strength to say that there'll be no Palestinian state until its laws treat Jews as equals. It's the critical differences between the two areas that dictate why there should be different policies for each. Sadly, it's the blindness of rightists and leftists alike to act as if they should be treated the same. DAVID TEICH Rehovot Comfort to terror Sir, - Jimmy Carter embraces the Hamas leadership while scolding the US and Israel for isolating the Islamist group. He seems unaware that Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel, America's closest ally in the world's most volatile region, targeting Israeli civilians with rocket fire and suicide bombers. The US calls Hamas a terrorist organization. What do you call those who provide aid and comfort to terrorists? ("Rice: We warned Carter not to talk with Hamas," April 23.) RAYMOND DUBIN Farmington Hills, Michigan Aid that alienates Sir, - Batya Kahana-Dror, interviewed by Ruthie Blum in "By virtue of her sex" (April 17), emerged as someone who sincerely wants to change Orthodoxy for the better. However, sincerity and good intentions are not enough, and she is causing more harm than good. Kahana-Dror calls for women to stop going to the mikve in order to rectify the late payment of wages to the underpaid, overworked mikve attendants. But I wonder if these pious women don't cringe to see the woman who has ostensibly taken up their cause (and says "I consider myself completely Orthodox") photographed in a provocative pose, wearing jeans and a low neckline, barefoot, her hair uncovered, and quoted as being dismissive of Torah and Orthodox scholars ("Torah today seems to be more disconnected from our lives than ever.") Vis-a-vis another cause of hers, Kahana-Dror seems to genuinely want to help those women (and men) who are being refused divorces by their spouses. But I fear she may alienate the many sympathetic rabbis and dayanim with generalizations such as "We're stuck in a religion that doesn't deal with modernization." Though she is well-meaning and energetic, this advocate's strident approach and external appearance may have an effect opposite to the one she intends. And that would be a pity. SHIRA SCHMIDT Netanya Why Israel's not for me now Sir, - Gideon Hack wrote "Join us" (Letters, April 22) in response to my letter of April 18. But I would like to point out that it is by moving to Israel that I would be doing myself, my family and my fellow Jews a disservice. The ultimate goal is surely to end up there, which is what my letter was about, and I am sure I would personally enjoy living there right now very much. However, that move would be an abandonment of the thousands of Jews in my city who have never in their lives been invited to a Shabbos meal and so cannot be blamed for their lack of interest in Judaism. I am a ba'al teshuva - a returnee to Judaism - and if it had not been for people in my community who made it a point to share the beauty of Judaism with me and others like me, then statistically I would be intermarried right now, never having realized the incredible inheritance I had cast off. If those people had all been in Israel, where would I be today? It is not fair to all the other disenfranchised Jews in my area for me to leave. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said: There are two ways to stay warm. One is to buy a fur coat big enough for yourself and your immediate family. The other way is to light a fire; that way, you and everyone else can be warm. The Jewish people are in a very cold place right now, and it may take lots of time, but we need to build a fire large enough to heat everyone. I am up to the challenge, and my grandchildren will thank me. MICHAEL GREENSPAN Thornhill, Ontario