More than an exam Sir, – In regard to “A young rabbiwannabe struggles for recognition” (August 12), I just want to say that passing an exam doesn’t by itself make a rabbi. Can you imagine going to a young 14-year-old boy for counseling, marriage issues, neida problems or other questions? A person needs maturity, not just to pass the ordination exam.The rabbinate is right in its informal ruling to set 22 as the minimum age to take the ordination exam. No matter how many Bible quizzes this young man may have won, a 14-year-old does not have the worldliness or knowhow to be a rabbi. For that he needs life experience.Let Moshe enjoy his young age.HANNAH SONDHELMJerusalemHypocrisy unmasked Sir, – Mudar Zahran (“Hizbullah: Hating Israel... and the Palestinians,” Opinion, August 12) has written another fascinating piece on how the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who are mainly Sunni, have been violently discriminated against by the various Shi’ite factions.Zahran unmasks the shameless hypocrisy of Hizbullah and other allegedly pro-Palestinian forces.The motivation for the wars against Israel is similar. It has its roots in Islamic religious intolerance of Jewish national self-determination.The Palestinian refugee problem has been a side-effect.Factional hatred and violence have been on gruesome display in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, yet the West has been dancing around the issue instead of facing it head-on.As thinkers like Mudar Zahran enlighten others, peace will evolve.
DAVID KATCOFF Jericho, Vermont
Two views of Ayalon Sir, – Ami Ayalon (“Proposing a ‘Voluntary Settler Return Law,’” Opinion, August 10) says people who have lived in their towns and villages for over 30 years should be called home because “your mission is now over.”What mission is that? People didn’t move just to fulfill some sort of mission for the government; they moved to these areas for a better quality of life. More space, more affordable housing and a love for the land of their ancestors.The author wishes to give these people a choice: Move out now if you are living east of the security barrier or you will receive no compensation if you are uprooted after a negotiated settlement.Have we as a nation not learned a lesson from the Gaza disengagement? How well taken care of were those Israelis, who had beautiful homes and thriving businesses, only to be thrust into a world of confusion and suffering that is still going on five years later?
JONATHAN SURASKY Ra’ananaSir, – Ami Ayalon’s opinion piece intrigued me.Michael Handelzalts wrote an article in Haaretz that lends credence to Ayalon’s idea. He used King Solomon’s wise decision in the conflict of the two mothers. As recorded, one mother claimed that the living child was hers, whereas the other claimed the child was hers. King Solomon ruled that the living child should be divided. To this the true mother objected.Handelzalts relates Solomon’s wise decision to our current situation here in Israel. Indeed, babies you can’t divide, but land, while painful, you can.JENNY WEIL Jerusalem
Strike the P in PC Sir, – In “Nine years after the Sbarro massacre” (August 10), Frimet Roth wrote about the “senselessness” of releasing terrorists and her own tragedy in losing a child.What she writes regarding the freeing of terrorists in return for Gilad Schalit is perhaps not politically correct. However, I believe the way she expressed her viewpoint was morally correct.It’s time people pay less attention to being politically correct and more to just being correct. Why are we so concerned what others think?STEVEN TOBERMAN Jerusalem
Next unilateral step Sir, – Eli Avidar’s column (“In the Middle East, self-respect is a deterrent,” August 10) shows so clearly that Ehud Barak’s unilateral actions of the past have been disastrous for Israel, especially his unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon 10 years ago, which led to Hizbullah’s control of the South and the Second Lebanon War.Any reasonable person would learn from his mistakes – but not Barak, who promises even more unilateral actions in the future.He could make a significant contribution to the State of Israel and to the peace process if he would unilaterally withdraw from politics immediately.DAVID ROTENBERG JerusalemGhetto would be preferable Sir, – In “The New Ghetto” (Opinion, August 9), former minister of justice Yossi Beilin laments the policies of the present government as either causing or allowing for a continuance of both Arab and world condemnation of Israel.Beilin correctly states that the Israel of the 1990s was the Jewish state closest to the vision of Herzl and other early Zionists: Israeli Arabs were generally prosperous, the Arab boycott was partially abandoned, and numerous Arab states engaged in discussion on many regional issues.He then writes that the past 10 years were ones of dramatic reversal.His solution: “Israel needs to change its policy.”What Beilin overlooks is that Israel did just that, and for several years we were indeed starting to make headway in both the Arab and non-Arab worlds. We pulled out of Lebanon, and there were several years of quiet before the missiles rained down on us.We pulled out of Gaza, and the missiles simply started falling faster, harder and wider. The world condemned not the aggressors, but Israel, whose very policies of “moving toward peace” caused the aggression in the first place. Does Beilin want us to make the same mistakes again? With neighbors like these, I frankly prefer to live in a ghetto. I’d even bolt the door and throw away the key.STUART KATSOFF Tel Aviv