February 24: It’s academic...

All this talk of the Tal Law is rather academic.

It’s academic...
Sir, – All this talk of the Tal Law is rather academic (“High Court declares Tal Law unconstitutional, can’t be extended,” February 22). When the haredim are the majority here, perhaps in the second half of this century, they will have to do some sort of military service to defend themselves unless they give up on the state entirely.
You may have it okay, but your children and your grandchildren will have to decide if they want to stay and live in a halachic state with its Orthodox prime minister, Orthodox president and Orthodox-majority Knesset, or go elsewhere.
What is the solution? Well, maybe there is one.
The state should be, first and foremost, democratic and free. After that, if you want, it can have a Jewish character as the dominant religion, rather like Catholicism is in Italy and Spain.
There is no place for a religion-citizenship correlation in any Western state. Judaism was the foundation stone of Israel – it does not have to be its raison d’etre.
MIKE CARMEL Rishon Lezion
...and tiring Sir, – I am sick and tired of hearing how the “haredim do not work or contribute to the national economy” (“Straighter priorities,” Letters, February 21).
Don’t work? I see many haredim in the work force. They are in medical facilities, as doctors, physiotherapists and clerks. They are lawyers, hotel staff and teachers as well. Many are now in the army, too. I see big shopping centers staffed by – yes again – haredim.
I see haredi women in the work force using computers and employed as educators.
Haredim pay taxes, as can be confirmed by the municipalities.
As far as the economy is concerned, I bet the big food, furnishing and clothing companies would suffer greatly if there were no haredim to buy their wares.
We are law-abiding, taxpaying citizens. If one wants to find what to gripe about, how about starting with the violence in the school system? How about the educational level of students, which has gone way down. But please stop knocking people who, contrary to what is said, are contributing much to our society.
JUDY ABIR Jerusalem
View of Kosovo Sir, – Regarding “US Kosovo policy – bad for Israel” by Srdja Trifkovic (Comment & Features, February 14), the territory of Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire for just over 450 years, until it was conquered by Serb and Montenegrin forces in 1912. After the conquest it remained occupied territory; it was not legally incorporated into Serbia.
It was conquered again in the First World War, and finally absorbed into a Yugoslav kingdom in 1918. For the rest of the 20th Century, with one major interruption (the Second World War), it was always part of a Yugoslav state.
It was never part of a Serbian state until the summer of 2006, when it was treated, for the first time in modern history, as part of a sovereign Serbia. When it gained its independence in February of this year, it had been treated as part of Serbia for less than 20 months.
Kosovo was never a “Serbian Jerusalem,” as the scientist Noel Malcolm has argued: “Claims are still made today that Kosovo is the ‘Jerusalem’ of the Serbs, but this has always been something of an exaggeration. In no form of Christianity, including eastern Orthodoxy, does a ‘holy place’ play any sort of theological role equivalent to the role of Jerusalem in Judaism. The seat of the Serbian Orthodox church was not founded in Kosovo; it merely moved there after its original foundation (in central Serbia) was burnt down.”
NORA AHMETAJ Pristina, Kosovo