April 9: Mischievous Imp

Of course, it is arrant nonsense to suggest that Jewish nature of anything can be strengthened by coercion.

Mischievous imp
Sir, – Occasionally, The Jerusalem Post publishes an editorial that is so opposed to the enlightened ethos of the paper that one can only assume that some mischievous imp inhabits the editorial offices, determined to provoke contented readers out of their pre-festival stupor. Such was “Defending ‘humrot’” (April 6), which purported to support the imposition of religious restrictions in public life.
Of course, it is arrant nonsense to suggest that the Jewish nature of anything can be strengthened by coercion. Only free choice buttressed by a value-laden education can do that. Laws obliging non-Jews and non-observant Jews to witness long shelves in shops covered by ugly black plastic sheeting and cello-tape, preventing their exercise of free choice and liberty to purchase (and therefore to consume) whatever foodstuff they wish whenever they wish, are nothing but a pathetic submission to religious fanaticism, whose evil results we see every day in the fields of personal law, female rights, transport and many other areas.
This weakens, not strengthens, the true Jewish character of the state, which ought to be based on wisdom, tolerance and example, not crude coercion.
Shame on the Post.
A Wall for all
Sir, – In Joseph Feld’s letter “Women and walls” (April 6) he writes, “We don’t try to build mehitzot in Reform temples, so why do they want to tear down the mehitza at our holiest site?” He was referring to the Kotel, the Western Wall.
Just as nobody would want to tear down the mehitza in an Orthodox synagogue, the Kotel is not an Orthodox synagogue. It is a holy site to all Jews – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and unaffiliated.
As a Masorti (Conservative) Jew I am always offended at seeing the separation at the Kotel. Tear down the barrier and keep your traditions in your own houses of worship.
Pollard prediction
Sir, – Regarding “Passover prayer” ( Dry Bones, April 6), I can forecast precisely when Jonathan Pollard will be released: a week or so before the US elections.
Relationship defined
Sir, – Amichai Lau-Lavie (“The ‘drag rabbi’ who dared take on Apple,” April 6) is the nephew of former chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, not his grandson. He is the son of veteran diplomat Naftali Lau-Lavie and the brother of well-known modern-Orthodox Rabbi Benny Lau.
All in time
Sir, – Jonathan Rosen (“Of bondage and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Inside Out, April 5) underscores Arab nationalism and the Islamic religion as twin obstacles “barring the way” to Palestinian Arab and Islamist “acceptance of the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state.” In this he is correct.
Rosen is also correct in demanding that in keeping with Zionist ideology, which “espouses sovereign Jewish self-reliance and self-determination,” Israel should “decide for itself what kind of country it wants to be....”
But in his hunger for immediate solutions, he falls into the usual “messianic” trap of urging upon Israel irresponsible strategic moves that would further imperil its security without gaining anything beyond what it has now.
Regarding the “state of limbo” in the West Bank that so concerns him, Israel has two choices: 1. Increase incrementally Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria in the expectation that in the short-run as well as the long-run Israeli sovereignty will and must extend from the Mediterranean to the Jordan ,notwithstanding a large Arab minority population 2. Initiate nothing at the present time when the whole Middle East flounders in a fog of uncertainty, but keep growing and developing a strong, healthy, advanced Israeli society while leaving the West Bank in continuing legal (though not socio-economic) limbo.
As far as the future democratic nature of Israel is concerned, there are a number of models throughout the enlightened world that can be copied or not copied by a sovereign Israeli people – when that future is upon us. As Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel, said recently: “One of the great things I have learned about life is that you don’t have to make decisions before you have to make them.”
Who’s irrational?
Sir, – Ray Hanania reveals his own prejudices and irrationality while calling for a more evenhanded approach to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict (“Out of place with irrationality,” Yalla Peace, April 4).
Hanania lauds the oft-criticized Edward Said as “a brilliant theorist and writer.” He then describes Said as “the most misunderstood Palestinian since Jesus.” In so doing, Hanania totally rewrites history.
He suggests that there is a direct line between modern Palestinians – a group that did not claim peoplehood until the 20th century and whose nationality many would argue is a convenient fiction – and the inhabitants of this region 2,000 years ago. At the same time he pointedly ignores Jesus’s membership in the only group that has lived here continuously and claimed direct attachment to the land for three millennia – the Jewish People.
This is entirely consistent with his complaint that the Jewish names Judea and Samaria are “disrespectful” to those who would now expel Jewish residents and claim that ancient Jewish territory as their own.
Denial of Jewish historical ties to the land is at the heart of the entire dispute. The Arab refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to their own nationstate in their ancestral homeland makes the lasting resolution of any of the other issues virtually impossible.
If Hanania expects the parties to interact rationally, he must first be willing to accurately describe and recognize who the parties are.
EFRAIM A. COHENZichron Ya’acov
Sir, – What is so sad about Ray Hanania is that he really wants peace between the Jews and Arabs here in the Middle East but is unable to see the existing situation.
How often must our neighbors refuse our extended hand before he realizes that the Arabs do not want a two-state solution? They say it often, loud and very clearly: Israel is to be wiped off the map.
Up to now, their children are taught that Israel does not exist, with maps that obliterate the country, and that all the land belongs to the Arab people. Martyrdom is lauded as long as it is against the Israelis.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is touted as a partner for peace, refuses to come to the table to continue talks. Could it be because he fears assassination should he come to an agreement to divide the land? Believe me, most of us do not harbor vengeance and revenge.
Peace is our dream and all the terrible wrongs perpetrated against us would be forgiven and forgotten when the two states were in place. Would it be the same for the Arabs? Or would they, like the Gazans, start bombarding us with rockets to drive us off our land? Let me take this opportunity to remind Hanania that the land west of the River Jordan was always Jewish, according to the League of Nations, the United Nations and the British Mandate.
It was never meant to be Arab land. The names Judea and Samaria, against which he objects so strongly, are and have always been the names of those territories, just as his name is Ray Hanania and mine is...