July 8: A zero chance

In Israel it seems the chances of an acquittal after having been found guilty by the media are the same as they were in the Soviet Union.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
A zero chance
Sir, – Regarding the brouhaha over Torat Hamelech (“‘The King’s Torah’ – a clash of values,” Comment & Features, July 6), Gordon Hewart said “Not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done.”
As a layman I am not in a position to say whether justice in Israel is done or not done, but it is quite clear that in many cases it is not seen to be done.
One gets the impression that someone’s political or religious orientation plays a much greater role than the facts of the case in determining whether he is brought to trial and even found guilty.
In Israel, it seems the chances of an acquittal after having been found guilty by the media are about the same as they were for a defendant in the Soviet Union who had been accused of crimes against the state.
Petah Tikva
Computers compute
Sir, – In reporting the results of Prof. Moshe Koppel’s paper that computer software has confirmed the documentary hypothesis of biblical criticism, David Shamah (“Do computers confirm – or deny – the Torah’s divinity?,” Business & Finance, July 5) is only partially right in pointing out that essentially there is nothing new here, since “biblical criticism has been around for centuries.”
It is not quite accurate to say that “those who choose to believe have ignored it until now.” There are some who choose to continue to believe because they find reasonable ways to reconcile their belief in the divinity of the Torah with a form of the documentary approach.
I believe that the Torah text in our possession today was composed by Moses toward the end of his life (Deut. 31:24) while under unique prophetic inspiration (Num. 12:8).
God caused him to include descriptions of events, laws, epic songs, census figures, details of Tabernacle construction, lists of stations in the wilderness, stories of the patriarchs and prehistory – much of which already existed in documents or in Moses’s memory, often in the original language. This accounts for the vast variety of styles, vocabulary and format.
This is the significance of calling the Pentateuch Torah sheh b’ktav, i.e., its authority as Torah derives from its being written by Moses under divine inspiration.
So, do computers confirm or deny? Neither!
It does happen!
Sir, – I would like to publicly thank Dora Schwartz and her staff (especially Sarah Yaazdi) at the Herzliya branch of the Ministry of the Interior.
My 26-year-old granddaughter had arrived the day before for a six-day family simcha. At the airport, the clerk informed her that there was an Israeli ID number on her US passport, meaning she was an Israeli citizen and must immediately get an Israeli passport. Otherwise, she would not be allowed to leave the country.
After listening to us at the ministry branch, Ms.
Schwartz checked the ID number and explained very sympathetically that there had been no mistake: My granddaughter was indeed registered as a citizen and therefore was obliged to obtain a passport in order to leave the country. She emphasized, however, that once home, my granddaughter could go to the nearest Israeli consular office, where it would be a very simple procedure to cancel her citizenship.
We were worried about the time factor because we were all soon leaving for the Galilee and returning just in time for my granddaughter to fly home. So Ms. Schwartz personally took us to a special clerk named Sarah, who was also warm and caring.
Within minutes she had arranged all the paperwork and promised I could pick up the passport within 48 hours, in time for our trip to the North, which is what happened.
Kol hakavod. I actually have a distinct feeling of pride that this is the way a very important Israeli government department is functioning.