June 15: New York, New York!

I'm thrilled that the residents of an important American city like New York will be treated to the high level of journalism offered by The Jerusalem Post.

letters 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
New York, New York! Sir, - I'm thrilled that the residents of an important American city like New York will be treated to the high level of journalism offered by The Jerusalem Post ("Bloomberg, other leading New Yorkers welcome 'Jerusalem Post New York Edition,' which launches today," June 14). As I read The Jerusalem Post I often think, "If only the Americans could read this." Now some of them can. I wish you much success with this endeavor and hope the venture grows and extends to other American cities, where an honest assessment of the Israeli political scene may sway public opinion away from the ugly campaign of lies and toward a truer picture of Israel. VARDA EPSTEIN Efrat Who's a bigot? Sir, - Neve Gordon's "Can Obama save Israel from itself?" (July 12) was full of unproven and unprovable statements presented as facts. Cases in point: "Legally the outposts are just like the 121 settlements" - read: They are all illegal, including Jerusalem. "…Palestinian fields that had been set on fire" - in many cases by Arabs and leftists, as found by police. And "If Obama hesitates, Israel will become a full-blown apartheid regime." Are we now a half-blown apartheid regime? Prof. Gordon should take an honest look, for example, at the treatment accorded to Arabs in Israeli hospitals; at our universities, of which he is part; at the polls; and on the buses, where women are sometimes relegated to the back, but never Arabs. The true bigot may be the professor himself, with his reference to the "pathetic, racist settler." To paraphrase our sages, the hatred of many non-religious Jews for religious Jews is greater than that of the nations of the world for the Jews. The settlers, despite being discriminated against by much of the media and academia, and sometimes government agencies, are dedicated heart and soul to preserving our right going back thousands of years to the land of Israel, after almost 2,000 years of occupation by others; unlike Prof. Gordon, who actively supported Yasser Arafat. PROF. NATAN KOPEIKA Ben-Gurion University Beersheba Sir, - Surely Neve Gordon was kidding with that sentence about Israel becoming a full-blown apartheid regime? Isn't the Hamas-Palestinian (Jew-free) Gaza Strip an apartheid state? Isn't every Arab country around Israel virtually Jew-free - and now almost Christian-free? Wouldn't these countries be defined as apartheid? Every day I see Arabs here in Israel enjoying the same opportunities and benefits as any other Israeli. I see Arab doctors, nurses, truck drivers, construction workers, cashiers, waiters, shopkeepers and Arab MKs living the same life as your everyday Israeli citizen. The focus of our negotiations on the "two-state solution" with the Palestinians and President Obama should be on the status of Jewish people living in the "Palestinian state, created to live alongside the Jewish state in peace and security." DAVID RACKNER Hod Hasharon Sir, - Neve Gordon is wrong in his unequivocal assertion that the settlements are all illegal; renowned international law experts have long maintained the contrary. As for his assertion that government actions and protest demonstrations are simply for "show," this is as malicious as it is offensive, unproven and unwarranted. He is wrong, too, in his insinuation that the government and the media are somehow working in tandem. When has Israel's left-leaning media aided right-wing policy or promoted right-wing agendas? The settlers have a right to their opinions no less than Gordon does - including the right to express those opinions, and to promote them. There is nothing "racist" (or pathetic) about not wanting to give up one's home and patrimony to an enemy. Gordon doesn't miss a trick, even daring to take the "civil war" genie out of the bottle in which wiser, more decent people work hard to keep it. He also plays the apartheid card; it appears no cliche is beneath him. I am surprised you saw fit to print this malicious, puerile piece. NETTA KOHN Jerusalem All-round loser Sir, - James von Brunn deplored that the "empty slander of the Holocaust" had turned the "supreme German race" into the world's pariah. But, ironically, all he did with his abominable attack was prove the Holocaust plausible. If one man can, point-blank and in cold blood, out of sheer racial enmity, murder someone who only opened the door for him - having further bullets apparently ready to kill a dozen more innocent people - it becomes clear that a nation of 30 million can kill six million out of pure hatred. Meanwhile, the Germans have become our best friends in Europe. Von Brunn lost every battle ("A history of anger," June 12). M.M. VAN ZUIDEN Jerusalem Educational tours Sir, - In "'Outpost tourism' draws hundreds of Israelis on day trips to West Bank" (June 12), Tomer Tzanani mentioned that "no visitors from outside of Israel have been on the tour." From personal experience, I know that the One Israel Fund has also been conducting one-day educational tours and missions. Led by outstanding English-speaking licensed tour guides, these educational experiences are directed toward foreign tourists and visit thriving communities as well as new outposts in Judea, Samaria and (until the disengagement) Gaza. Over the past 14 years, thousands of Anglo tourists have availed themselves of this opportunity. More information is available at www.oneisraelfund.org HAROLD NEUSTADTER Jerusalem Torah... on condition Sir, - On the issue of change in Halacha, Michael Hirsch turned the tables very nicely on Rabbi Avi Shafran by citing the many rulings that Jews should live in Eretz Yisrael ("Is Torah malleable?" Letters, June 14). A prominent Orthodox authority, Eliezer Berkovits, in a book called Lo bashamayim hi (It is not in Heaven), has a chapter called Akirat mitzvot min hatorah (The uprooting of commandments of the Torah), in which he cites many examples where the Sages not only changed laws of the Torah in terms of addition, but also in total abrogation or, if you will, amendment. One example: According to Torah law, a man may give a ring to a married woman and betroth her on condition that her husband die. The sages thought this would not make for family peace (shalom bayit), and ruled such betrothal illegal. They also accepted the testimony of a widow to the death of her first husband and permitted her to marry a second husband, even though the Torah demands the testimony of two witnesses in marital matters. RABBI JACOB CHINITZ Jerusalem On second thought Sir, - Hannah Koenigsberg ("Second time around," Letters, June 7) reminded me of a joke told by one of our dayanim when I suggested that writing a get, or bill of divorce, was a hechsher mitzva, making it possible to allow one to remarry one's divorcee. He said that on one such occasion, he asked a man why he was remarrying his ex-wife after having complained at the time of the divorce that they were incompatible. His reply: "For a second marriage, we are compatible!" MARTIN D. STERN Salford, UK