December 24: Therapy needed

This convicted sexual offender is clearly in denial and in need of a punishment that fits his crime: a court-ordered program of therapy.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout )
Therapy needed
Sir, – With regard to “The Elon lesson” (Editorial, December 22), until recently, the Israel Prisons Service would provide therapy only for convicted sex offenders who admit to their crimes, on the grounds that if one fails to take responsibility for these crimes, he or she has no insight into their severity and thus would not benefit from therapy.
When Mordechai Elon received his suspended sentence for serial pederasty last week, he not only continued to proclaim his innocence, but also celebrated the fact that he will be able to continue his “years of community service.”
This convicted sexual offender is clearly in denial and in need of a punishment that fits his crime: a court-ordered program of therapy.
This might give the formerly esteemed rabbi an opportunity to perform teshuva (acts of repentance) and protect himself and the public from a likely relapse after his absurd suspended sentence is served.
ILAN CHAIM Jerusalem
Feting Wagner
Sir, – In regard to the classical review “Wagner non-concert” by Ury Eppstein (Arts & Entertainment, December 22), I found it repulsive that Mr. Eppstein defends Israel’s right to play the works of Richard Wagner.
Would Afro Americans fete a composer who inspired the Ku Klux Klan? Would Armenians give tribute to an artist who paved the cultural road to their genocide? Why must some Jews lack the self-respect to realize that they can live without a composer whose music was the favorite score of the movement that gassed six million of their brethren? (And this says nothing of the complete disregard for the tens of thousands of survivors and their children who live in this country and find it obscene that their tax money would go to support playing the works of such a virulent anti-Semite.)
Sir, – I was totally flabbergasted at Uri Eppstein’s lack of sensitivity.
I have always respected his classical reviews, but this time I must say I was very disappointed.
As a survivor of Petain’s anti-Semitic round-ups in Marseilles at the beginning of 1940, and as a musician, I do find that even a “Wagner non-concert” is an affront to those of us who are still around and protesting this outrageous celebration of the birth of a most anti-Semitic composer. I say to the person Eppstein described as a “violent rowdy” kol hakavod for having the guts to disturb the talk.
Shame on the organizers. If at least they celebrated Wagner’s music – but to celebrate the birthday of the man? Where is the respect for us, the survivors? Can’t they wait till our generation is gone? Let this “Wagner non-concert” take place in Austria or Germany.
Let the people there enjoy their favorite composer.ALBERTINE WEINTRAUB Modi’in Farewell to Mandela
Sir, – Having been a supporter of the cause of the ANC in South Africa prior to my aliya in 1975, I was disappointed in Nelson Mandela’s ambivalence toward the country’s relations with Israel after his accession to the presidency.
I was thus intrigued to read that he had spent time in Israel receiving training from the Mossad (“Report: Mandela received Mossad training in 1962,” December 21).
Mandela thus demonstrated his belief in Israel’s policies and methods to protect its citizens.
Regrettably, his successors took up his ambivalent attitudes and have gone much farther so that today South Africa is the most anti-Israel country in the Western world.
During his lifetime, Mandela had the opportunity to correct this situation but failed to do so.
I thus believe that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was justified in not attending the memorial ceremony, although the stated explanation for his decision was not appropriate.
Sir, – We are constantly reminded that Nelson Mandela believed in forgiveness and reconciliation (“South Africa buries ‘greatest son’ Mandela,” December 16). This clashes with King David’s deathbed order to his son, Solomon, to exact retribution against Joab and Shimei for the wrongs they perpetrated against David, and to reward the sons of Barzilai for the good he did to him (1 Kings 2:5-9).
Which message is superior? While the former sounds like the New Testament precept to love thine enemy – as Christians practice it – the latter conforms with the distinction between good and evil in the Hebrew Bible. Would Mandela have forgiven savages who dispatch suicide bombers to slaughter civilians? If he did, he would have made a mockery of the principle of justice.
There is a moral, however. It is unique to the Hebrew Bible and observed by Jews, including David. It lies in hakarat hatov, the duty to recognize the good someone does to you. It is the principle upon which Yad Vashem in Jerusalem honors the Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust.
It is important to comprehend the authenticity of the Torah’s message of good and evil because we live in a hypocritical, immoral world where, while the benevolence of Israel is denied, the country has become a scapegoat for the world’s evils.
Enormous benefits
Sir, – With regard to “American Studies Association votes to boycott Israel” (December 17), the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is determined to get rid of Israel itself.
There are far too few people in the world who have any idea of the enormous benefits that things invented in Israel have. It is imperative that those with the ability to do so continuously publicize them. It also doesn’t hurt to ask people who are anti-Israel why they do not totally stop using them.
The more people know what Israel provides to the world, the fewer will be anti-Israel.
GEOFF CASS Tewantin, Australia
Gifts and messages
Sir, – The lead item on the front page of your December 3 issue (“Netanyahu in Rome: Western sanctions already unraveling”) was accompanied by a picture of the prime minister and Pope Francis. I enjoyed the letter by Rabbi Nachman Kahana (“Gifts and loot,” December 4), who commented about switching around the picture by having Netanyahu with a kippa and the pope returning the Temple menorah stolen 2,000 years ago by Titus.
The prime minister was once again brilliant. The reasons are deep, but some are hidden in plain sight.
As part of its heritage, the Catholic Church has Greco-Roman culture. The silver menorah represents our victory over both.
Silver, from a biblical and scientific standpoint, needs to be refined from impurities to be useful. The message is that the world can be refined and fixed without anyone having to die.
The receptacle of light can shine without nations warring, but rather through self-refinement and an internal correctional process. The menorah says we can ultimately live in peace and bring much needed light.
Netanyahu also gave a copy, in Spanish, of his father’s classic treatise on the Spanish Inquisition. This magnificent work documents what can happen when the Church makes unwise choices.
Both gifts conveyed the message of Israel as a vibrant, living olive tree, still going strong and rooted on moral high ground.