August 27: Blaming the rabbinate

The Torah cannot become a slave to secular nationalist aspirations.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Blaming the rabbinate
Sir – You report (“Tzohar campaign slams rabbinate,” August 24) that Tzohar’s chairman, Rabbi David Stav, said in a statement: “As a result of the policies of the Chief Rabbinate, restaurants across the country are foregoing kosher supervision; obstacles are being placed in front of people interested in halachic conversions and more and more Israelis are opting for a non-Jewish marriage ceremony abroad.”
Is Stav suggesting that kashrut licenses be given to people who themselves are not observant and cannot be trusted when it come to bending the rules when it suits their business interests? Is he suggesting that people who have no real intention of living a Torah lifestyle be accepted as converts? Is he suggesting that non-Jewish Israelis wishing to marry Jews should be accommodated under the Rabbinate’s auspices? The answer to all of these should be a firm no – the Torah cannot become a slave to secular nationalist aspirations.
The real reason for the de facto detachment between the State of Israel and its Jewish identity is not the activities of the Chief Rabbinate but the Zionist ideal of replacing the old Diaspora Jew with a new, self-assured Israeli who is no longer chained to the “outmoded ghetto mentality.”
Salford, UK
The fray continues
Sir – Martin Sherman (“What’s wrong with the Right – Part II,” Into the Fray, August 24) is a prime exemplar of what any Brit of a certain age would immediately recognize – the Enoch Powell syndrome. Powell, a member of parliament from 1950 to 1974, was a classical scholar of some distinction who, when he applied his brilliant mind to political problems, invariably produced an impeccable analysis and a faultlessly logical solution – although it was often completely impractical.
In his latest piece, Sherman does not once refer to the political fallout of the conclusion he is leading us to – the annexation of Judea and Samaria and a huge program of financial incentives to induce its Palestinian inhabitants to relocate.
The outcry from friends and foes alike would be unsustainable.
World opinion, which overwhelmingly endorses the two-state solution, would never endorse it, and Israel would expose itself to universal condemnation.
This is not practical politics.
May I nevertheless say how pleased I am that Sherman is to continue to entertain us with his hugely readable and thoughtprovoking articles.
Beit Shemesh
Sir, – I was delighted to read that the Post has reconsidered its decision and will continue to publish Into the Fray.
I would only suggest that Sherman’s current shorthand TSS (two-state solution) come to stand for three-state solution, thus recognizing the fact that there now exist two embryonic Arab states struggling to be born in the land that rightly belongs to what is the Jewish state as per international accords.
The alternative should be dubbed TTSS, or twenty-threestate solution – namely the existing 22 Arab states and the single Jewish state. This moniker might, of course, have to be updated soon, when Syria splits into two parts and Iraq into three parts. But it will do for now.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Educational read
Sir, – Santayana famously opined that those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Alan Dershowitz’s “J Street makes an attack on Iran more likely” (Observations, August 24) brings this vividly to mind.
Timely military action or even the credible threat in 1936 could probably have prevented World War II, and maybe the Holocaust. The decision of the Western democracies to appease fascism and Nazism rather that confront them brought immeasurable disaster on the world.
Now J Street urges exactly this approach with regard to Iran. The lobbying group’s leader, Jeremy Ben-Ami, and his friends are urged to read Churchill’s The Gathering Storm before it is too late.
Rosh Pina
Physician, clean thyself!
Sir, – I agree with everything Gabi Barbash writes in “Doctor, did you wash your hands?” (3rd Opinion, August 24). But there are more questions he should ask doctors.
First of all, why is it that so many hospital doctors nowadays don’t wear white coats, instead exposing us to clothes that have been in contact with who knows what? Nurses wear their uniforms; even volunteers wear distinctive jackets.
Second, so many doctors come to work all gussied up in their smart shirts and ties.
How often do they launder or dry-clean those ties? And third,what about those ubiquitous computer keyboards in every doctor’s office? Does anyone ever bother to clean them? I am most impressed with my family doctor, who is punctilious about washing her hands both before and after examining me. I wish the same could be said of our hospital doctors! B. YAGIL Beersheba No surprise there Sir, – Ban Ki-moon’s decision to go to Tehran (“Deaf to US and Israeli appeals, Ban to attend Tehran NAM meeting,” August 23) reminds us that the majority of member states of the United Nations are dictatorships and only handful are genuine democracies.
Two of the permanent members of the Security Council are dictatorships that oppress their own citizens. One occupies another country (Tibet) in direct and incontrovertible defiance of the Geneva accords.
The UN and its many suborganizations are good at two things: taking every opportunity to bash Israel, and reducing world jobless rates by employing thousands of well-paid people in myriad departments, committees, sub-committees and other subsidiaries.
The worst part is that the world body is largely funded by those countries that the majority of its member states oppose.
Beit Shemesh
No Christian outcry
Sir, – The Palestinian Authority president’s persistent denial of Jewish ties to Jerusalem (“Id al- Fitr diplomacy continues as Abbas again denies Jewish connection to Jerusalem,” August 22) effectively undermines the very foundations of Christianity.
According to Christian tradition, Jesus was King of the Jews and drove the moneychangers from the Temple, which Abbas claims never existed! Yet so far as I am aware, not one Church leader has uttered a word of criticism for such ignorant assertions, which challenge the veracity of their Bible and their very creed.
Paralympic coverage
Sir, – For weeks before the Olympic games you published articles introducing the men and women of the Israeli delegation.
Well done. However, you seem to have forgotten that on August 29 the Paralympic Games will open.
There are 25 Israeli men and women who have worked hard to achieve their ticket to the games. In the past, Israeli paralympic athletes have brought home many gold, silver and bronze medals.

The writer is a physiotherapist for the Israeli delegation to the paralympic games
The sports editor responds: The Paralympics definitely are an unbelievable exhibition of athletic achievement that are more than deserving of full attention and coverage.
We in The Jerusalem Post sports department anxiously await the games to begin. We will certainly be providing extensive reporting on both the Israeli delegation and the rest of the amazing feats and heartwarming stories.