Two versus one
Sir, – For all of you so concerned about having two chief rabbis to help represent both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities of our country (“Two chief rabbis is one too many,” Comment & Features, January 20), please consider having only one article written on this subject by one reporter, as opposed to the 25 articles of wasted ink written by 25 different people over the past several months.Or maybe you wouldn’t mind if they cut your work department down to one. Or maybe you wouldn’t mind cutting our Knesset down to one party. Or maybe you think we should only have one army division.
Sir, – I agree with the headline “Two chief rabbis is one too many” whole-heartedly! It seems to me that these days, to treat the Jewish population of Israel as requiring two chief rabbis, one for Ashkenazim and one for Sephardim, is completely unrealistic. Fifty years or so ago, two chief rabbis might have been realistic, but we certainly have no need for more than one today.The fact that one rabbi serves Netanya capably and with hardly any problems (there are undoubtedly other cities that get by just fine with only one rabbi) seems to prove the point that for any city one rabbi is enough. Thus, the idea that there should be two chief rabbis, one for Ashkenazim and one for Sephardim, is outdated and wrong. Let’s not do things the way they used to be done just because it was always that way.LEONARD ZURAKOV
Sir, – My Filipina care-giver, along with thousands of non-Israelis legally resident here, will no doubt breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that gas masks are no longer to be distributed (“Cabinet orders cessation of gas mask distribution,” January 20).Since they weren’t entitled to one in the first place, they must be happy to have achieved some kind of equality – even if it be a negative one.GEOFFREY PREGER
Just a first step
Sir, – What you reported in “Jewish groups praise pope for willingness to open Church’s wartime archives” (January 20) is a very important first step. But we must never forget that the Vatican is holding thousands of scrolls, books, documents and sacred Jewish items that were stolen from our people over the course of more than 1,500 years. That the return of such items might reveal issues of embarrassment to the Church is something that should not preclude the pope from doing the right thing.JACK DE LOWE
IDF and women
Sir, – That Yehuda Weinraub is a proud father and Zionist is evident in “The Chief Rabbinate’s sad statement on religious girls serving in the IDF” (Comment & Features, January 19). However, in contrast to his assertions, the Chief Rabbinate’s ruling is consistent.It has opposed IDF service for all Jewish young women, not only religious ones, since the establishment of the state, but was granted exemptions for religious girls only.The rabbinate accepts the word of those declaring themselves religious at face value because it believes that the army, where men are in positions of command, is not suitable for young women. There are many instances where its fear of harassment and challenges to modesty have been borne out.When women’s participation in the army was essential to save the country, it trumped the above ruling. However, today the IDF does not need women recruits to succeed. (That doesn’t mean that women who serve do not contribute or that they do not like wearing the uniform as much as their parents are proud to see them in it.) Young women in national service are less eye-catching in civilian garb but contribute immeasurably to all sectors of Israeli society under often difficult conditions. They are not “cocooned” from its problems, as the writer alleges. As a former head of a youth village I can attest to that personally. They do outstanding work in “education, integration of immigrants, humanitarian operations” etc., as well as showing “the true face of religious Judaism.”ROCHEL SYLVETSKY
Price tag attacks
Sir, – I was amazed at your coverage and accusations against “[f]ar-right activists” for minor damage to a mosque (“West Bank mosque vandalized in price-tag attack,” January 16) while you failed to report the desecration of two synagogues on January 9 in Ezer, where Torah scrolls were found thrown on the floor and the doors of the ark had been pulled off their hinges.Far too many times, when Jewish property and houses of worship have been desecrated by non-Jewish elements in Israel, a blind eye is turned to these events. While the desecration at Ezer was condemned by Deputy Religious Minister Eliahu Ben-Dahan, there was complete silence from the president, prime minister, government ministers and the chief rabbis, and from you. However, you treat anything that has any indication of nationalist Jewish action, without even being proved, as significant news.Doesn’t the Post have any moral compass? If similar actions were to take place in the Diaspora against Jewish buildings, coverage to your readers would ensue.COLIN L. LECI
Sir, – Yitzhak Klein (“Price-tag attacks: Indignation is not a policy,” Comment & Features, January 16) asserts that laws and procedures designed to fight terror should not be applied to “price tag offenders [who] are not by any stretch of the imagination terrorists.” One wonders how he reached that conclusion since he fails to provide his definition of terrorism.One classic definition of terrorism is “the deliberate threat or use of violence against civilian targets in order to promote/ achieve political ends.” Contrary to those who would minimize these attacks as “vandalism” and their perpetrators as “hooligans”, price tag attacks fit this definition no less than Palestinian bus bombings. The difference between the two is that price tag attacks have not – yet – been fatal.The lethal ramifications of a particular act should be considered when determining the ultimate punishment, but not when evaluating at the outset whether it is terrorism.We cannot credibly assert our opposition to terrorists if we ignore terrorism within our own society. Klein himself admits that the phenomenon is spreading.How will we possibly justify our unwillingness to confront this phenomenon honestly when the first innocent Palestinian dies?
EFRAIM A. COHEN
All that gas
Sir, – Almost every day I read in your paper how nice is that we have our own, large reserves of natural gas and how they will help the economy.Politicians talk and talk about how many billions we’ll save.Has anyone actually seen lower prices in electricity, something with which the Israeli citizen can be happy? No. I expect higher prices in electricity and in everything.The money will go, as always, to tycoons and corrupt politicians, not to the common people.Of course, maybe this will change... for the worse.DAVID WAINTRAUB