January 5: Unraveling or not

An attitude that views Israeli officials as Nazi oppressors must never be condoned.

Unraveling or not
Sir, – In light of the recent behavior of certain elements in the lunatic fringe among the ultra-Orthodox, Caroline B. Glick’s positive assessment of Israeli society (“Is Israeli society unraveling?,” Our World, January 3) was a soothing balm over a very painful boil. Nevertheless, the infection is still festering and is causing considerable concern.
An attitude that views Israeli officials as Nazi oppressors must never be condoned. Misinformation and disinformation largely contributes to the ills of our society.
To this end, serious consideration must be given to internal hasbara to set the record straight.
We dare not overlook this issue!
HAIM M. LERNER Ganei Tikva
Sir, – Please provide evidence about the direct involvement of the New Israel Fund in the rally Caroline B. Glick refers to. Also, please provide evidence that the NIF raised 200,000 NIS for buses for the event.
This has been the very best of communally fought campaigns, with local people, local resources and local money. It is true that other groups from the outside have joined, but only months after the trouble started.
There is no reason for us to feel ashamed about their presence.
We did not look for this fight, nor do we form any part of Glick’s alleged conspiracy to show up the Right or the haredi population. Does everything have to be seen through her own very specific view of the world?
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick is on dangerous ground – intellectually – when she presents as fact the statement that “women make up the senior leadership echelons in both business and government....”
True, we have a woman as president of the Supreme Court and as leader of the opposition, and at the helm of Strauss, but that is a far cry indeed from her statement.
Also, the reference to “ultra- Orthodox misogynists” appears as a convenient – but incorrect – summary of an enormously complex issue with many subtleties.
Perhaps Glick should concentrate on issues where she has more expertise.
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick asserts that “In 2010, 50 percent of ultra-Orthodox male high school graduates were conscripted [by the IDF],” and that according to the army, the rate will rise to 65% by 2015.
The percentage of ultra-Orthodox males who graduate from a high school of any kind is appallingly low, certainly in the single digits.
Hence, 50% of 5% or less is hardly an indicator of real change.
J.J. GROSS Jerusalem
Riding the buses
Sir, – Ben Hartman’s article (“Activists: Men, you sit in the back!,” January 2) really shows the futility of attempts by antisegregation activists to enforce mixed seating on Egged buses.
As he wrote, once they got off, “the newly vacant seats of the 402 were quickly filled. Within moments, the passengers separated themselves absolutely along gender lines, and the bus continued on its way to Jerusalem.”
It would be better if the activists took the advice of the Orthodox gentleman who was quoted as saying, “I want to be able to sit next to my wife, but we need to respect everyone’s wishes.”
Sir, – Kol hakavod to Melanie Lidman for her article exposing the way secularist bully boys (and girls) have been terrorizing innocent haredim (“Haredi women resent intrusion into their sphere,” January 2). Lidman points out that even those who are not passionate about the idea of separated buses resent the violent intrusion of secular activists into their community.
If people want to have separate seating for men and women, why should these do-gooders interfere? At one time, there were women-only carriages on British trains and nobody objected. Next thing these busy-bodies will insist on is unisex public toilets.
I think the teenage school girl said it all by declaring, “Why do you care? You never go on these buses. Just go back to your homes.”
Sir, – Over 30 years ago, when traveling from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, an obviously secular woman boarded a bus and, without thinking, sat in the empty seat next to an obviously haredi man.
Softly, the man averted his eyes and spent the duration of the trip observing the beauty of the countryside.
I learned a lot from him that day. It is sad that his is not the lesson we have taught our children.
MOSHE R. MANHEIM Atlanta, Georgia
Incitement in kind
Sir, – As a national-religious woman who has two nieces studying at the Orot girls school in Beit Shemesh, I am very concerned about the harassment they have been subjected to since the start of the school year. However, Greer Fay Cashman’s solution (“Women of valor know how to retaliate,” Comment & Features, January 2) promotes violence and hatred, and has no place in a major newspaper.
Recommending that the blackclad bullies be “beaten to within an inch of their lives” sounds awfully like incitement to me and will only further inflame the situation.
SUSAN KLEID Ma’aleh Adumim
Something’s missing
Sir, – I had no trouble finding multiple stories, as well as a front page picture, regarding the haredim spitting on a youngster in Beit Shemesh. Disgusting, repugnant, and any other such descriptions apply.
However, I searched in vain for anything about calls for “death to haredim” found in graffiti on Ashdod walls. And far more frustrating, I found nothing regarding a Channel 10 interview quoting a raging madman as saying he would get an automatic weapon and mow down haredim.
There was no condemnation of such madness. Am I missing something here?
Chapter and verse
Sir, – Among the many insulting, ridiculous postures and comments made by haredim during their recent protest rally in Jerusalem, the most ridiculous by far was “Zionists are not Jews.”
I would like to point out to these hysterical misogynists that not only are Zionists the most perfect kind of Jews, whether religious or secular, but that the God these haredim purport to worship is also a Zionist. Indeed, He is the original and everlasting Zionist.
In order to verify this statement, let them open their bibles and see how many times Zion is mentioned and how many times God Himself declares that not only will He return the Jews to Zion, but He will fight for Zion/Israel against all who come against it. For a start, I recommend they go to Zecharia 1:12- 17, 2:6-12, 8:2-8, 9:7-17; Lamentations 1:17; and Isaiah 34:1-8.
Kiryat Ono
Small minority
Sir, – While some of your readership may now have a negative impression about the ultra-Orthodox, I am writing to set the record straight for anyone who really wants to know the truth rather than be prejudiced without knowing the facts.
Much of the ultra-Orthodox community has not only not been in agreement with the small faction that thinks throwing stones and spitting on Jewish children is justified because “I am holier than thou,” but has condemned such vile behavior.
As the Bible notes in Proverbs, a composition of King Solomon (who is called the “wisest of all mankind”): “Its ways [referring to the Torah] are the ways of pleasantness, and all its pathways are peace.”
Kiryat Arba
The writer is a rabbi