June 1: Influence in high places

Is being the son of the president's chief of staff enough to abrogate halacha?

Influence in high places
Sir, – Leaving politics out for a moment and looking at things from the perspective of Halacha, why did Rahm Emanuel’s son merit to read from the Torah on a Sunday morning (“Rahm Emanuel’s family follows boys’ bar mitzva with mitzva,” May 31)?
The established principle, as codified in the Shulchan Aruch, is public readings being made on Mondays and Thursdays. Is being the son of the president’s chief of staff enough to abrogate Halacha?
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV
Ma'ale Adumim
The writer is a rabbi.
Scrutinize those bills
 Sir, – Having read “PA officials consider replacing Israeli shekel with Palestinian pound” (May 31), I assume that if the Palestinian Authority re-issues the British Mandate-era Palestinian pound to replace the Israeli shekel in areas under their control, they will take care to remove any Hebrew inscriptions that appeared on the original notes – especially those that include an abbreviation of the term Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.
YONATAN SILVER
Jerusalem
Dwindling generation
Sir, – I would like to thank you for your piece on the passing of Lova Eliav (“Arie ‘Lova’ Eliav, one of the last living members of Israel’s greatest generation,’ dies at 88,” May 31).
There are very few left of that greatest generation. We need them badly in these turbulent times. Oh, if only they could show our “leaders" the way.”
LEONARD ZURAKOV
Netanya
How does he know?
Sir, – Visiting Gaza months months after the fact, it is remarkable that Dr. Peter Voss can come to any conclusion at all (“Nightmare of whose doing?” Letters, May 31). He mentions the “senseless destruction visible everywhere.” Do your homework, Dr. Voss, and maybe ask someone besides a Hamas representative about the actual sequence of events.
MARCELLA WACHTEL
Jerusalem
Get out the word...
Sir, – Regarding “Desperate housewives don’t count rockets, they count days” (May 30), the fundamental objective of both Hamas and Hizbullah is the total destruction of Israel, a sovereign country. Because of this, they are a threat to world peace and they force Israel to act in self defense.
Unfortunately, our politicians and diplomats have failed to keep this simple fact in the public eye. As a result, both organizations are gaining respectability while our enemies’ lies are being believed and the truth ignored.
We must now go on a hasbara offensive with this simple, clear message.  It cannot be repeated too often or stressed too much.
CLIVE LEIGH
Netanya
... in a positive way, please
Sir, – I am a housewife who went through all the wars, starting in 1948, when I was in the Givati Brigade. My husband, son and grandchildren served in the army.
Do you want to demoralize us? Why do you make us look as  if we have no answer to anything our enemies might prepare for us?
We were strong up to now. We were always proud of what we achieved and have every right to be. Does Amir Mizroch want to break our morale?
A.R. KATZ
Kfar Saba
How good we have it
Sir, – After reading columnists David Horovitz and Caroline Glick (“Only a drill?” and “Netanyahu, Obama’s newest prop,” May 28), wherein Mr. Horovitz’s assessments of the dire straights of Israeli lives and security, and then Ms. Glick’s take on Obama’s closing the door on Israel and leaving the Jews to the wolves, I am more alarmed than ever.

I sit here in the Diaspora – free of daily terror, free of angst frommissiles falling at any moment, free of nuclear threats from a crazyman who has the power and means to deliver on them, free of the fearfor my children and grandchildren from fanatical and hatefulneighboring anti-Semitic countries – and think of how each and everyIsraeli is not.
I implore all Jews throughout the Diaspora toprotect themselves by protecting and defending Israel at each and everyopportunity, with all means at their disposal. It’s a giant step inmoving Israel out of the bulls-eye and a small step in selfpreservation.
HOWARD WOLLE
Toronto
Sir,– David Horovitz’s analysis “Only a drill?” points out Israel’suntenable position if it allows its combined enemies first blood in thenext war. But Horovitz stops short of the obvious: Israel must strikefirst and strike hard, perhaps even using nuclear weapons.
Yes,the world will howl but Israel mustn’t care – your survival is atstake. Those missiles aren’t aligned against you for nothing – they arethere to be used whenever your enemies feel bold enough. Why allow themthe initiative?
ABE KRIEGER
Highland Park, New Jersey
Living it down
Sir,– It is hard for me to believe that Larry Derfner, a veteran writer andresident in Israel, is naive enough to believe that the supplies senton the “Freedom Flotilla” boats, even if they were allowed to landsafely in Gaza, would be distributed to those people for whom they wereintended (“Living it up in Gaza,” May 27).
Past experience hasshown that Hamas confiscates aid and either uses it for its troops,sells it to the population or uses it in a way to control thepopulation. The worse the situation is in Gaza, the better it is forHamas. Considering how generous Israel has been with an enemypopulation, Hamas must be working very hard to keep the Arab populationdepressed.
PAUL BERMAN
Shoham
Do it right
Sir,– Jeremy Last sums up a soccer fan’s feelings as we go into the WorldCup (“Riding the failures to reach greater heights,” May 28).
Wecan and will enjoy the atmosphere, camaraderie and, no doubt, amazingfootball, but if we are to expect our own national team to reach theseheights, we will need an Israeli “academy of excellence,” where socceris nurtured from an early age.
MARTIN LEWIS
Hod Hasharon
A beauty by any standards
Sir, – Ray Hanania claims that this year’s Miss USA, Lebanese-AmericanRima Fakih, overcame the “de facto essence of American beauty” andthereby “reset the definition of American beauty” (“Bikinis versusburkas,” May 26).
Hanania assumes that any absence of success byArab-Americans is due to racism. This offers Arab-Americans an excusethat removes personal responsibility. It also allows them to not eventry since they can assume from the outset that they have no chance ofsucceeding.
This is offensive to both Arab-Americans andAmerican society as a whole. Why not simply congratulate Ms. Fakih forher achievement? She deserved to win – not because or in spite of herLebanese heritage, but because she is stunningly beautiful by anyone’sstandards.
EFRAIM A. COHEN
Netanya
Rationalizations of the Left
Sir,– There is something about the Left that smacks of neurosis, a symptomof which is the following:  Having failed to bring about the success ofhis efforts, using the same methods over and again, the neurotic personinsists that this time it will work. Undeviating in his approach, hestubbornly presses on. When it fails again, as it must, he is certainit will work next time.
I end my description of Gershon Baskinand his ilk (“Bring in the third parties,” May 25). Having livedthrough or known of the uselessness of national and internationalguarantees for Israel’s security, what does Baskin propose to insurePalestinian adherence to a peace agreement? Of course: internationalpromises to use military and political means for Israel's viability.
Ifonly Baskin would read history, he would understand the folly of....Whom am I kidding? He would find rationalizations to brush aside 2,000years of historical fact as well.
BERNARD SMITH
Jerusalem