July 5: Tempest in a book

As an observant Jew, I know that acting disrespectfully to rabbis is forbidden.

Tempest in a book
Sir, – As an observant Jew, I know that acting disrespectfully to rabbis is forbidden. Therefore, I simply offer a layman’s opinion: Rabbis Lior and Yosef would not reduce their stature by presenting themselves for police questioning.
Rather, they would be obeying the secular powers, whom we are told to pray for in the Ethics of the Fathers.
Let them be questioned and even if necessary appear in court. There is a world of difference between analyzing Torah text or expounding on it, and incitement. Observant Jews will learn that the laws of the country are to be respected – and the police will learn that political objectives should not be pursued through the courts.
Ramat Bet Shemesh
Sir, – The police are upset about rabbis who endorse a book that interprets the Torah as giving Jews permission to preemptively kill gentiles if they feel threatened. Isn’t this what we did in the Six Day War? LOIS GREEN Kadima Sir, – I usually agree with Liat Collins. However, “Law and disorder” (My Word, July 3) is disappointing.
I consider the concept of freedom of speech as being of major importance. I never read Torat Hamelech and find the ideas (as expressed in the press) repugnant.
However, no less repugnant is the police investigation into the book and its endorsers, whom should be subject to the same consideration as leftist academics who call for violence against those they oppose. Collins mentions the seeming double standard, but just leaves the subject hanging.
Law and order is not the ultimate good, as evidenced by one of its great proponents, Richard Nixon.
2 Flotilla or not
Sir, – Regarding “Flotilla organizers vow to sail to Gaza despite setbacks” (July 3), perhaps I am naïve.
Despite the so-called blockade, there is massive building taking place. With the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza open, there is an increase in the numbers of people coming and going. From the Israeli side there is a constant inflow of food supplies and other necessities. Some of Israel’s finest hospitals treat Gazans in need of medical care – notwithstanding the Gazan propensity for lobbing rockets across the border.
If a flotilla of human rights activists is really interested in human rights, it would seem that their destination should be Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, where the leaders have plundered the wealth and betrayed their brethren. If the activists run out of Arab countries, they can take their pick of African nations where the most basic rights of women and children are trampled upon.
So, what is it about Gaza that galvanizes people – among them many Jews – to break through the blockade? I hate to say it, but it seems to me that it has more to do with being anti-Israel than being pro-Palestinian. Otherwise, it just doesn’t make any sense.
Sha’arei Tikva
Sir, – I am shocked and appalled by the actions of the Greek government in refusing to let Freedom Flotilla 2 set sail for Gaza.
What has the Israeli government got to fear from ships bringing humanitarian aid to the impoverished people of Gaza? The siege of Gaza is illegal under international law and is clearly undermining support for Israel throughout the world.
The siege is not only killing innocent men, women and children through lack of medicines, but undermines Israel’s claim to be a country committed to human rights.
If Israel were to let these ships sail to Gaza it would greatly increase its standing in the world.
Sir, – Will the activists sailing with the Gaza flotilla demand the release of Gilad Schalit, who is being denied basic humanitarian rights? Will the activists demonstrating and holding vigils in support of the flotilla carry banners telling Hamas to cease launching barrages of rockets indiscriminately into Israel? What I’ve seen and experienced first-hand on many visits to the West Bank leaves me no doubts about the Israeli government’s often extreme inhumanity and injustice against Palestinians.
But what I see and hear repeatedly from many of those who support justice for Palestinians ignores justice for Israelis.
How valid are our assertions that we are peace and human rights activists if we don’t advocate for all those affected? How can we deliver Red Cross supplies to Gazans without demanding at the very least Red Cross visits to Schalit? How can we deliver rice, milk and quilts without demanding a cessation of rockets and mortars? How can we cry out against Israel’s indiscriminate destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza without protesting Hamas’s indiscriminate destruction of life in southern Israel? Our claim of advocating justice for Palestinians is duplicitous while we ignore the injustices they impose on Israelis. Our cries of inhumane treatment by Israel are mocked by our silence about the inhumanities of Palestinians against Israelis.
O’Connor, Australia
Sir, – As an American citizen living in Israel, I have learned how inexperienced many Americans are about life abroad.
In my five years here I have made friends with a Palestinian from Hebron, a Christian from Jerusalem, a Druse from northern Israel, a Beduin from Beersheba, and Jews who were forced out of Arab countries.
Living in Israel is living in the real world. I say to the participants in the Gaza flotilla: If you really want peace, be peaceful with your actions. Go live in Gaza and tell us true stories about your life there. Then I will listen.
Super avarice
Sir, – Your July 3 editorial “Cottage cheese victory is only the first step” is spot on. Moreover, you have correctly targeted other consumer exploiters.
Not mentioned however, are the supermarkets. In my opinion they are probably the worst offenders. I offer Osem’s English fruitcake as an instance, since I buy it every week.
When the price started going up from NIS 11.59, I decided to check the price at a smaller supermarket. I was astounded to find I could buy the same cake there for NIS 9.59! The NIS 11.59 price at the first market proceeded to rise to NIS 14.59. The NIS 9.59 cake rose to 11.59. Now the price at both markets is NIS 11.59, which indicates that Osem did not increase its price at all – it was clearly a case of an avaricious supermarket gouging ignorant customers.
Knows what he says
Sir, – Because of his background and years of experience as a top level adviser on the Middle East to President George W. Bush, Elliott Abrams is legitimately qualified to compare and provide insights as to the current behavior of President Barack Obama (“Abrams on Obama: He sees Israel as a problem that needs to be solved,” Diplomacy, July 1).
Abrams feels that Obama not only lacks sympathy for Israel’s plight, but “doesn’t get it fundamentally.”
Abrams explicitly indicates where Obama has favored Palestinian interests over those of Israel – the first being the president’s demand that negotiations be based on the untenable 1967 borders, the second leaving the Arab refugee issue open to negotiation.
Not only do I agree that both issues place Israel at a decided disadvantage, I think it important to point out that Obama’s callous disregard of widespread calls for the pardon of Jonathan Pollard reveals a lack of fundamental human sensitivity.
Petah Tikva