January 6: Memories of Arik

I, for one, have difficulty forgetting Ariel Sharon or his legacy. I also have difficulty forgetting the home I was forced out of for no good reason.

letters pink 88 (photo credit: )
letters pink 88
(photo credit: )
Memories of Arik
Sir, – Regarding Gil Hoffman’s January 4 report (“Five years after stroke, is Sharon’s legacy dying?”), no fears need be held on that score. Hoffman needs only to ask one of the many whose lives were ruined by Sharon when he expelled them from Gaza, for no identifiable benefit to anyone.
Sir, – I, for one, have difficulty forgetting Ariel Sharon or his legacy. I also have difficulty forgetting the home I was forced out of for no good reason five and a half years ago.
People think that a house is just four walls, but we were forced out of homes, lives and livelihoods.
That is hard to forget.
Sir, – Now that The Jerusalem Post has made Tzachi Hanegbi kosher once more and elevated him to the rank of political pundit, he feels he enjoys the legitimacy to share his views about “Missing Ariel Sharon” (Comment & Features, January 3).
Undoubtedly, Sharon accomplished much of great importance for Israel in both the military and civilian spheres. For this he is deserving of our deep appreciation and heartfelt gratitude.
However, in Hanegbi’s one-sided evaluation, he fails to deal with the former prime minister’s betrayal of his own values when he bullied and bulldozed his program of unilateral withdrawal from Gush Katif and succeeded in splitting the nation.
The withdrawal shattered many lives and continues to wreak havoc with the economic well-being of many families. Not only was there no display of Arik’s purported leadership qualities, the withdrawal was characterized by a lack of planning as to the relocation of the hundreds of families and provisions for their employment, and constituted a crime against these law-abiding citizens.
Leadership requires a lot of wisdom.
In the case of Gush Katif, we witnessed leadership dominated by ego that went completely awry and left terrible scars.
Petah Tikva
How tough an act?
Sir, – I read Saul Taylor’s interesting – but inaccurate – article about Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (“A tough act to follow,” Right of Reply, January 4). As an expat, I can verify that the viewpoint of Shmuley Boteach (“Fixing the failures of the UK Chief Rabbinate,” No Holds Barred, December 21) is nearer the mark.
Sacks is the chief rabbi of the United Synagogue only, and represents a minority of British Jews.
I would not expect the Masorti, Reform or Liberals to recognize him as chief rabbi, for neither does the more Orthodox fringe nor the very right wing.
Sacks has been a disaster for British Jewry. It has been a question of promising much but delivering little. He did not have the courage of his convictions when he was forced to rewrite part of his book because it displeased the ultra-Orthodox in Gateshead who don’t recognize him anyway.
He is indeed a worthy representative of Anglo Jewry if you only need a person who personifies what the English church would like Jews to look and sound like.
He promised to bring together the different factions of the Anglo Jewish scene, and instead alienated them even more. The United Synagogue only started its education and outreach programs when its saw how successful those of the Masorti and Reform were.
I respect Sacks as a great philosopher, pedagogue and humane man, but his singular failure regarding the problems of the aguna and mamzer has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.
Sir, – I must disagree with Saul Taylor’s contention that Jonathan Sacks is a good chief rabbi. He is a fine and wise rabbi. That is for sure. But he is no chief rabbi because he lacks the courage and honesty to give British Jews guidance.
Instead of standing tall against the satanic evil of Islam, he hobnobs with its leaders. Instead of proclaiming to the House of Lords Israel’s legal rights, he stays silent when one titled member after another denigrates the Jewish state. Even when Britain’s largest supermarket instituted an embargo on Israeli produce, all we heard from Rabbi Sacks was the sound of silence.
Rabbi, yes; chief rabbi, definitely no.
Sorrow of Lebanon
Sir, – Caroline Glick is one of the very few journalists documenting the destruction of Lebanon and its transmogrification into a tool of terrorists (“The Left’s loser message,” Our World, January 4). This horror is on our borders and yet we can do nothing to improve it. The UN is degenerate and the US blandly uninvolved.
What is playing out in Lebanese politics is also a personal horror and tragedy for Said Hariri. What sort of son could kiss and figuratively grovel at the feet of the man who ordered his father’s murder, as well as that of many other brave, freedom-loving Lebanese? What kind of man could watch his country being overtaken by a ruthless horde of savages, leaving him with a travesty of a leadership? And all this lying and failure to protest his and his country’s fate in order to to save himself for an unknown period from the death sentence hanging over his head!
Hariri’s chronicle of misery, fear and gradual loss of all dignity and self-respect, the story of his increasing despair and craven cowardice when facing the threats of Hizbullah on his home ground, Syria at his border, Iran looming in the near distance, while Obama and the UN look blandly and unconcernedly from a farther distance, surely deserves a Shakespeare or a Goethe or a Greek tragedian to write this disastrous life and country into a cautionary drama for the ages.
Sir, – Caroline B. Glick, in column after column, demonizes the president of the United States. She accuses Barack Obama of having a central goal of “weakening Israel.” She accuses the president and his predecessors of policies of “appeasement” toward Iran and North Korea.
Her comments are factually wrong and her language is nothing more than a vituperative rant. In addition, it is foolish for an Israeli who fancies herself an opinion-maker to constantly kick Israel’s most important ally in the shins. One day that ally might kick back.
Omaha, Nebraska
Not what he thinks
Sir, – I quite agree with Martin Stern (“Here’s my answer,” Letters, January 4) “that matters of halachic significance should not be taken away from the religious authorities.” Unfortunately, that is just what has happened. The present conversion controversy has arisen as a result of the hijacking of the chief rabbinate by extremist, haredi judges who have adopted minority, non-consensual halachic rulings.
The Israeli chief rabbinate was never recognized by the haredi world aligned with Agudat Yisrael, the rabbinate heretofore determined the validity of conversion halacha as reflected in responsa down the ages from the days of Alfasi and Maimonides, till Moshe Feinstein and Ovadia Yosef in our day.
Indeed, this extremist, non-consensual approach, which has hampered the present chief rabbis, prevailed on one of Rabbi Yosef’s disciples – MK Haim Amsalem – to produce two hefty volumes titled Zera Yisrael and Mekor Yisrael reproducing a generous cross-section of material and responsa indicating quite clearly the deviation from halachic norms that have ignited the present flurry of Knesset legislative activity.
I strongly advise Martin Stern to browse through these volumes before making any further adverse comments on the validity of Israeli conversion court procedures.