June 1: Hutzpa sans limit...

Once again the Yesha rabbis attempt to take the law into their own hands.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Hutzpa sans limit... Sir, - Once again the Yesha rabbis attempt to take the law into their own hands ("Rabbis order soldiers and police to refuse to dismantle outposts," May 28). It seems their hutzpa has no limit. For, after all, what is a law written by modern men as against the "holy writ"? One can only hope that not too many young men in uniform will pay attention to these "holy men" who urge them to defy the law. It would be appropriate for a group of outstanding rabbis who do not want to be involved in this political act to come out and say so publicly. LEONARD ZURAKOV Netanya ...but the damage can be limited Sir, - I would like to suggest a way to avoid a confrontation between religious soldiers and the IDF over the delicate issue of orders to remove these outposts. The army has a pretty good idea of which units will be called upon to perform this task. The written opinion of those rabbis who do not oppose the orders could therefore be circulated and discussed within the unit prior to an order to remove settlers actually being issued. Any soldier who felt he or she could not follow these orders for religious reasons would be removed from the unit and reassigned elsewhere. Hopefully, this would involve just a small minority of army personnel. A crisis would thus have been averted, and army morale remain unharmed. P. YONAH Shoham Maybe look in the mirror Sir, - For years now, I have suffered the pomposity, conceit and condescension of Gershon Baskin's ruminations as he keeps "Encountering Peace" where none exists. The old adage cautions: "Know thine enemy!" Baskin's latest pontification, "Partner or Pariah?" (May 26), for a change evenhandedly castigated both Right and Left for not realizing the beautiful truth of peace via total capitulation. Apparently, since all the world agrees that it's the 1967 lines or bust, we would be "dreamers and fools" to believe anything else is possible. And, naturally, we will want to follow the wishes of the world community since it has always had our best interests at heart. (Writer's note to Baskin: That last sentence was meant sarcastically.) His conclusion is sheer projection. If he wants to see dreamers and fools, perhaps his first stop should be the mirror. YISRAEL GUTTMAN Jerusalem Sir, - I thought peace meant acceptance. So why is it, rightly, reasonable for Arabs to live in a Jewish state, while Jews cannot live in a Palestinian state? Small Jewish settlements should be able to exist in and vote in a Palestinian state. If the Palestinians will not accept this principle, I believe they will not accept peace. DAVID RUBIN Rochester, New York MIAs: The expected... Sir, - Re "Yona Baumel dies without knowing MIA son's fate" (May 31): It is an outrage that we have soldiers missing in action for over 20 years. The government will, hopefully, make a major effort to secure the release of all our MIAs. What has prolonged this situation is the despicable, inhumane approach of the Arab nations as a whole to the MIA issue. When there is talk about confidence-building measures, the release of our MIAs should be at the top of our list. It is expected of us. We should expect it from them. VEL WERBLOWSKY Jerusalem ...and the inflicted Sir, - Since the battle of Sultan Yakoub 27 years ago, the Arabs have not allowed one word to reach the Baumel family regarding their missing son's fate. Cruelty of this magnitude cannot be washed away. These masters of a master religion have decreed that their faith permits such horrors to be visited upon Jews. Yasser Arafat sent half of Zachary Baumel's dog tag tohis parents, and never disclosed anything further. The Red Cross never gets to do anything about Jewish hostages. And the so-called civilized world allows this Arab torture to continue. TOBY WILLIG Jerusalem Schalit and the IRC Sir, - It's good to hear that people in New York were protesting outside the International Red Cross offices on May 27 ("1,000 New York students call for Red Cross to visit Schalit," May 28). On June 25, Gilad Schalit will have been three years in captivity. On that day, it would be good to see people around the world keeping a 24-hour vigil at the IRC offices. The IRC can no longer abrogate its responsibility to the captured POW and his family. If a miracle happens and we find Schalit, then the same people can celebrate his release. We need to be seen to be united around Gilad, who could be the son of any one of us. ZELDA HARRIS Tel Aviv Same old, same old Sir, - President Obama is quoted as demanding that Israel "cease" all settlement activity ("Obama meets with Abbas, restates demands of Israel," May 31). At the same time, he has asked Mahmoud Abbas only to "reduce" anti-Israeli sentiments that can be easily stoked in schools, mosques, etc. Another example of the operation of a double standard? STANLEY LAWSON Jerusalem Sir, - Israel accepted a two-state solution back in 1947. The result was war, the habitual Arab response to peace solutions. Now Mahmoud Abbas is being embraced by Obama as the latest drug on the hope dope market. Why do the masses always fall for it? MIRIAM ADAHAN Jerusalem Sir, - In "Hatikva," our national anthem, we sing about being a free people living in our own land and Jerusalem. We don't sing about being a vassal of the US, the EU or the Vatican, about living in part of a land and in an International Jerusalem. President Obama was elected to do what is best for the US. Prime Minister Netanyahu was elected to do what is best for Israel. The US is supposed to be a good friend of Israel's. So let it do what good friends do - advise, not dictate. YEHUDIT COLLINS Jerusalem Sir, - There are many, many of us Americans who think Israel should do what it feels is right for the country and that you shouldn't let anyone tell you what to do. Your very existence may depend on it. I truly think the majority of Americans love and support Israel - at least everyone I know! GAYLE GREGORY Tulsa, Oklahoma Photo-flop Sir, - "By tradition," said your Thursday editorial "A moral vacuum," (May 28), "the [Shavuot] holiday marks the giving of the Torah - the basis of law and morality in Judaism - at Mt. Sinai." I therefore beg to understand why you felt the most appropriate picture for the front page of your holiday-weekend edition was of a group of undressed adults parading in the streets of Tel Aviv. This exhibition of poor taste and judgment was echoed in the editorial's closing lines: "Heaven knows, we too often fall short of what is demanded of us." DEBBY SPERO Karnei Shomron Sir, - I'm not haredi, but I think you could have found a better picture showing Tel Avivians enjoying the city's White Night celebrations than a bunch of people in their underwear. Next time, a little more discretion on your front page, please. HANNAH SONDHELM Jerusalem