December 18: Terrorists or not...

It is necessary to keep in mind who the real enemies of Israel are and to put into proper use the ardor, the fervent patriotism of many of our young people.

Terrorists or not...
Sir, – There is no reason for an entire group of people who believe in Israel with all their hearts and souls to be labeled “terrorists” (“Rioting Jews in West Bank will now be tried in military court like any Palestinian,” December 15). What a shocking misuse of words! It is necessary to keep in mind who the real enemies of Israel are and to put into proper use the ardor, the fervent patriotism of many of our young people.
They are intelligent and simply feel in many ways alienated instead of embraced by the State of Israel.
No one is above the law, but instead of calling for insane measures against young people, we should be able to make them more law-abiding and use their energies to further the cause of Zionism.
Sir, – One should not lay the blame for these seemingly terrorist actions on the youngsters from the highlands – they have been breast-fed on hatred no less than have their Muslim counterparts.
They have been exploited, manipulated and given false promises by their rabbis, mentors and parents.
These youths are a sad bunch of disturbed, frustrated and disappointed teens. Instead of using drugs or alcohol to suppress their demons, they get their adrenaline from violence and the sense that they are doing God’s will, exactly like their counterparts among our enemies, who go willingly to blow up innocents.
It’s time that Prime Minister Netanyahu take off the blinders – the lesson of Rabin’s assassination has not been learned.
ZELDA HARRIS Tel Aviv’s bewildering
Sir, – Being a participant on a MASA program in Israel for five months has given me a fresh opportunity to look at the state I’ve always loved and cherished.
I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly in politics, culture and society. But something that I just can’t bear to witness or experience any longer is the utter hatred in this Jewish state.
I’m trying to understand my Jewish beliefs and identity, which I’ve never questioned before. I still love Judaism and the various Jewish communities I’ve been privileged to embrace and take part in, but I’m not quite sure if my Conservative day school or summer camp education simply forgot to mention how Judaism promotes antagonism toward others.
I studied history and Judaic studies at university – I know the importance of some Israeli political strategies and I of course understand the necessity of Israel as a Jewish state. I’m more than aware of the sacrifices and persecution that Jews endured for thousands of years – just to be the continuous scapegoat and the center of negative media attention. What I can’t seem to wrap my head around is how violence is the answer to this whole balagan.
If you think I’m some kind of tree-hugger, peacenik or hippie, I’m hardly the kind who would be making this argument in other circumstances. I’d like to believe I’m merely a 22-year-old American living in Israel, hoping to make some sense of everything in this region.
Being in Israel has given me more than a few reasons to know and understand the importance of having an independent Jewish state. However, it’s also made me question why hatred exists, and even more so, why some of my own people have chosen to uphold this vice.
Tel Aviv
Either way...
Sir, – In “Progress on divorce sanctions bill held up” (December 15), you report that “Currently, batei din [religious courts] may impose sanctions such as preventing the husband from traveling abroad, confiscating his driver’s license, and even imprisonment, but they are not obligated to do so, and are not even obligated to hold a hearing,” meaning that “efforts to ensure that a recalcitrant husband gives his wife a divorce can drag on for many years.”
The answer is to allow these courts to impose the sanctions mandated by Halacha as Maimonides put it: “He should be flogged until he agrees to release her or expires.” This would be far more effective than the minor inconveniences apparently available at present, and if the husband still refuses, the wife will be free to remarry by the end of the process.
Manchester, UK
...and both ways
Sir, – Article on spouses who refuse to agree to a get (religious divorce) always seem to address the plight of women.
But approximately an equal number of men suffer the same fate.
Personally, I have been waiting for a get for some eight years, and despite minimal sanctions and orders from the highest rabbinical court in Israel, none has been forthcoming.
A wife can refuse out of spite, and even though today there is an option to ask for financial recompense, what is the point if the wife has none to provide? The only option is a spell in jail, but unfortunately, courts today seem unwilling to impose this.
I would be interested to hear from other men in a similar position.
Eye on Newt
Sir, – Citing Newt Gingrich’s referral to Palestinians as an invented people, Ray Hanania (“Look who’s talking about ‘invented’ peoples!” Yalla Peace, December 14) accuses him of ignorance, using such eloquent descriptives as “completely stupid” and “idiot,” sophisticated prose not heard since my eightyear- old’s last tantrum.
Hanania confuses the difference between Palestinian people and a Palestinian people. Yes, Arabs did live in Palestine pre- 1948, but they were Arabs living in Palestine and were not a Palestinian “people.”
As far as Americans being an “invented people,” the big difference is that they don’t claim otherwise.
In fact, Americans are quite proud of their invention of a country based on Jeffersonian principles.
Here we have a classic example of someone who can’t state the facts accusing someone else of not stating the facts.
Karnei Shomron
Sir, – My compliments to Ray Hanania for writing a column with so much low-hanging fruit ripe for dissection.
First, it is a matter of historical record that before the founding of the State of Israel, Arabs living in the British-run territory of Palestine had no nationalistic aspirations.
Second, no one is disputing Hanania’s ancestral connection to this land. However, the same cannot be said of many other Palestinians on whom the UN conferred refugee status if they spent a mere two years here before Israel’s independence.
Finally, we come to Hanania’s disingenuous questions about Israeli national identity. Yes, the last sovereign nation of Israel before 1948 existed 2,000 years ago. And yes, it was a monarchy.
To which I reply: So what? Even by his own twisted logic, none of this should have any bearing on whether Israel’s identity is “invented.”
Newt Gingrich may be a liar, a hypocrite and a narcissist – in short, the perfect politician. But even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Beit Shemesh
Sir, – Regarding “Gingrich’s fresh hope” (Our World, December 13), at some point in history there was no French people, but there is now. Three centuries ago, there was no American people, but there is now. And a century ago there was no Palestinian people. But there is now.
A national identity is shaped over decades by common geography, common faith, common enemies or a common experience.
The fact remains that over the past century a Palestinian people did become defined and any successful policy must take that into account.
Denver, Colorado