December 9: Greek to them...

I find it ironic that haredi extremists who advocate Torah study should be found in the streets throwing stones at Jews.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Tall tale
Sir, – “A tale of two Kerrys” (Analysis, December 6) too easily entices irrational conclusions. The idea that recent events caused a conversion experience from which US Secretary of State John Kerry emerged with a more thoughtful, unprejudiced and realistic mind is fantasy. He remains insubstantive, overbearing, narcissistic and intellectually challenged.
Hopefully, Jerusalem Post readers left the front page and studied Martin Sherman (“Empowering Islam: ‘Taqiyya’ in the White House?” Into the Fray) and Caroline B. Glick (“The politics of subversion,” Column One) in the second section.
Sherman quotes Mark Steyn for a succinct definition: “Certainly, John Kerry has been unerringly wrong on every foreign policy issue for four decades, so sheer bungling stupidity cannot be ruled out.”


Kiryat Ye’arim

Greek to them...
Sir, – I find it ironic that haredi extremists who advocate Torah study – the voice of Jacob – should be found in the streets throwing stones at Jews – the hands of Esau (“IDF arrest of yeshiva student prompts violent protest by extremist haredim in Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim,” December 6).
It is even more ironic because this took place during Hanukka, when we celebrate the military prowess of Judah the Maccabee and his followers, who overcame the mighty Greeks. On that occasion, as we recall in the prayer Al Hanissim, God performed miracles to ensure their military victory.
I am positive that back then there were no haredim carrying banners, shouting slogans or throwing rocks at the Maccabees – or even preventing women from praying. The genuine haredim of those days were learning Torah and praying for the success of Judah.
Today, it appears that this well-tested approach is, to many at least, Greek.


The writer is a rabbi ...

illegal to others
Sir, – For several years on Hanukka, youngsters have been creating a symbolic menorah composed of small lights arranged on the side of a steep hill beside the highway leading to Jericho and the Dead Sea. The site was chosen because it is visible from some residential areas of Ma’aleh Adumim and is on open, unused land.
This innocent project had no political or nationalistic significance; it was merely a fun way for the youngsters to add an extra dimension to their celebration of the holiday.
It happens that the location, just below the new police station, is part of E1, and this year, shortly after my grandson and his friends set out the string of candles, the police arrived and not only ordered them to leave, but extinguished the lights. They didn’t even allow the youngsters to remove the hundreds of tea candles they had used.
This might well be described as preemptive capitulation to Arab violence that has flared up recently in E1. I do not think the Maccabees would have approved.


Ma’aleh Adumim
Unwelcome mat
Sir, – Reading “When friends disagree” by Alan Dershowitz (Observations, December 6), I couldn’t believe what this supposedly well-informed and erudite person wrote regarding the US policy of ending sanctions against Iran.
Does Dershowitz honestly believe in “welcoming Iran back into the community of nations?” These very same words were expressed about another country by then-president George W. Bush at the end of the Iraq war, and were addressed to Saddam Hussein.
Which begs the (rhetorical) question: Do the Americans never learn from history? One need only observe what is happening in Iraq now. If the situation were not so serious and worrisome, it could be confused with being funny.


Tel Aviv
Sir, – I was saddened and deeply disappointed by “When friends disagree.”
Alan Dershowitz has bought into US President Barack Obama’s doctrine, which is like waiting until a gun is pointed at you before firing back. Contrary to that doctrine, not all conflicts can be negotiated to a peaceful conclusion.
Why were the Iranian facilities hidden, built into a mountain or underground, and protected with millions of tons of concrete and earth? What is the purpose of the heavy-water reactor in Arak? Why was not a single centrifuge required to be disassembled? Why was Iran not required to hand over all enriched uranium? Why is Iran buying and building neutron initiators, the sole purpose of which is to set off a nuclear bomb? These are crucial questions the Iranians have failed to explain.
Only days before his appearance before the United Nations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying that Israel must be exterminated from the earth. Only a week before that, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini was similarly quoted as saying the US must be destroyed.
Dershowitz’s ridiculous conclusion – that this has brought America and Israel closer – is the product of a mindset that all disputes can be resolved by negotiation.
That is either naive or cowardly.
Khameini and Rouhani relinquished nothing in Geneva. America has made Israel the canary in the mine shaft.
Melville, New York
Sir, – With all due respect to Alan Dershowitz’s sagacious aptitude in judicial matters, he does not understand Iran’s intentions, nor does he understand the depth of the differences on this between Israel and the US.
The US is concerned most with avoiding war at any cost. Therefore, it will never threaten military action against Iran (and mean it). On the other hand, Israel, seeing its very existence at stake, will threaten military action and, hopefully, mean it.
As Hirsh Goodman pointed out on the same page, achieving the bomb is Iran’s single-minded goal.
It is not, nor will it ever be, negotiable.
Considering Israel’s goal of self-preservation, it should ignore all chatter coming out of Washington and prepare for the worst.
Stain of Geneva
Sir, – The headline on Hirsh Goodman’s “On being taken to the cleaners” (Observations, December 6) was most appropriate, as toward the end of the piece it stated: “America and the rest of the free world had waited for years for the yolk [sic] of the Ayatollahs to be lifted from the Iranian people.”
Betar Illit
The Editor responds: This was due to a lack of editing oversight. The word should have been “yoke.”

For their sake
Sir, – I can’t understand how the world can remain silent. If Iran drops a nuclear device on the Jewish state, it might kill many who define themselves as Palestinian.
They lecture and study in Israeli universities and schools, work at Israeli construction sites, serve as ministers in the Knesset, and provide medical expertise or receive treatment in Israeli hospitals.
I assume that if Iran does go nuclear, the UN and pro-Palestinian organizations will condemn Israel and America for not having done enough to prevent it.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama should redouble their efforts to stop Iran, for the sake of the Palestinians.
Proud of him
Sir, – Regarding Robert Fattal’s “My Iraqi Jewish heritage: What’s left?” (Comment & Features, December 5), the elite of the Sephardi Jews are the Iraqi Jews. I was told this more than 30 years ago by the late Prof. Isaac (Ishu) Halbrecht, a gynecologist and philosopher who founded the Project of the Jewish Family Heritage.
We are proud to say that our son-in-law, born in the State of Israel, is one of those elite Jews.